Apple has announced the first in its series of ARM-powered Mac computers with the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, as it begins the transition from traditional Intel processors to those that run in the iPhone.
The new machines mark the first stage of Apple’s huge effort to change the underlying technologies of its Mac computers, replicating the switch it made from PowerPC to Intel processors in 2006, but this time to chips of its own design as used to great effect in the firm’s iPhones and iPads.
At the heart of the three new Macs is Apple’s first desktop chip called the M1. It resembles the firm’s A14 used in the latest iPhone 12 and iPad Air. The octa-core chip is the first desktop processor to be built on the 5nm scale and has four high-performance cores, which Apple said are the fastest in the industry, alongside four high-efficiency cores for more mundane tasks.
The first new Apple Silicon machine is the MacBook Air, which starts at the same figure of £999 in the UK or $999 in the US. The new laptop has a similar design to the previous version, except for the lack of a fan making it silent in operation. It has a better webcam, an improved 13in screen and can now wake instantly just like an iPhone.
The M1 in the MacBook Air gives it 3.5 times faster processor performance, five times faster graphics performance, and significantly longer battery life of up to 15 hours of web browsing or 18 hours of video playback, which is six hours longer than before. Apple also said the MacBook Air will last twice as long while video conferencing.
13in MacBook Pro
Apple also launched an M1 version of its 13in MacBook Pro, which starts at £1,299 in the UK or $1,299 in the US. The new more powerful 13in laptop has a fan for longer sustained performance. It has up to 2.8 times the processor performance, five times faster graphics performance, and longer battery life, lasting up to 17 hours while web browsing or 20 hours for watching the video, which is twice as long as the previous version.
The MacBook Pro also has an improved webcam, better mics but only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, as compared with four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports on the previous version. Apple did not update the larger 16in MacBook Pro.
Finally, Apple also announced a new M1 version of the Mac mini compact desktop computer. The Mac mini starts at £699 in the UK or $699 in the US, which is cheaper than the previous version. It too has a fan and produces three times the processor performance and up to six times the graphics performance of the previous version.
All three new Mac computers will be shipping on 17 November.
MacOS 11 Big Sur
Raw performance numbers aside, the new Macs will run macOS 11 Big Sur and with it the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac for the first time. The new machines will support Apple’s new Universal Apps format, which allows developers to ship one version of their programs that run on both the older Intel Macs and the new M1 Macs.
New MacBook Pro 13-inch, MacBook Air, Mac Mini Prices in India
The new refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro will be priced starting at Rs. 1,22,900 with 256GB of storage, and Rs. 1,42,900 for 512GB of storage. These are the same prices as the previous MacBook Pro models. The prices in the US are $1,299 and $1,499 respectively. Both feature 8GB of unified memory. Intel-based MacBook Pro 13-inch models are also still listed, with 512GB and 1TB of storage priced at Rs. 1,74,900 and Rs. 1,94,900 respectively. All variants are sold in Silver and Space Grey.
The MacBook Air with Apple M1 SoC will also keep the same prices as before, with a 256GB variant priced at Rs. 92,900 in India and a 512GB model priced at Rs. 1,17,900. The prices in the US are $999 and $1,249 respectively. Intel-powered MacBook Air models are no longer listed. Colour options are Silver, Space Grey, and Gold.
The Mac Mini gets a $100 price reduction and the corresponding decrease in India as well, with the 256GB version now priced at Rs. 64,900 and 512GB version at Rs. 84,900. Prices in the US are $699 and $899 respectively, and Silver is the only option. A single Intel-powered variant is still listed.