With Apple Silicon, Apple is launching their own Mac processors that should provide the Mac with even more processing power and speed. The first in this list is the M1 chip.
For the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been making its own processors for years, but on the Mac, they still depended on Intel. Now that Apple is going to produce its own chips, this offers many advantages for the consumer. We list all the pros and cons and explain exactly what Apple Silicon is.
- What is Apple Silicon?
- Systems on a Chip (SoC)
- In control yourself
- Benefits of Apple Silicon
- Apple M1 chip for Mac
- Extra work for developers
- Disadvantages of Apple Silicon
- Virtualization software and Boot Camp
- Buying advice: Intel or Apple Silicon?
What is Apple Silicon?
The processor is the basis of every Mac, thanks to this chip the Mac is able to perform tasks. Apple Silicon is a chip for the Mac, designed by the tech giant itself. Apple’s own processor for the Mac is based on the well – known ARM architecture that is also used for the iPhone and iPad chips. This immediately means that soon all Apple products will work with the same processor technology.
Systems on a Chip (SoC)
Apple Silicon is a Systems on a Chip, also called SoC. Like Apple’s M1 chip for Mac and A14 for iPhone and iPad, it consists of a processor (CPU), graphics processor (GPU), Neural Engine (machine learning), a secure enclave for sensitive data and central memory (RAM ).
Unlike traditional chips, an SoC combines all these components into a single chip. The other parts of a device such as the radios (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, mobile) are located outside the SoC. By combining the CPU, GPU and memory in one chip, speed gains and efficiency are achieved because the different components of an SoC can communicate with each other, without the intervention of a bus controller.
In control yourself
For the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been making their own processors for years, but with the Mac, they still depended on Intel. This had a lot of drawbacks because Apple had to wait for Intel to introduce new Macs. With the arrival of their own Mac chips, this is a thing of the past and that has a lot of advantages for the consumer.
Benefits of Apple Silicon
Thanks to the new processors, the Macs offer better CPU and graphics performance, and support for machine learning has also been greatly improved thanks to the present Neural Engine. Not only will the performance be better matched to the Mac, but it will also perform more energy-efficiently, which means that the battery of the MacBooks will last significantly longer. For example, you can use wireless internet for up to 17 hours on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, under Intel this was only 10 hours.
For Apple Silicon, Apple uses the same structure as that for the iPad, this ensures that iOS and iPadOS apps can be used on the Mac without having to adapt them to the Mac.
Apple M1 chip for Mac
The new M1 chip has a whopping 16 billion transistors and contains the 8-core CPU, 7 or 8-core GPU, Neural Engine, I / O and much more. In combination with macOS Big Sur, the M1 guarantees out-of-the-box speeds, unprecedented graphics performance and extremely modest power consumption, ensuring an extremely long battery life. Overall, the M1 chip makes the Mac perform 3x faster than the previous generation of Macs.
All information about Apple’s latest M1 processor for Mac can be found in detail in the article below.
Extra work for developers
In 2005, Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel processors, all apps had to be rewritten for the Intel processors. Developers will now also have to do this for Apple’s own Mac chips. The first Macs with an Apple silicon will be available at the end of 2020 and the two-year transition will begin.
Through the Developer website, developers can request additional information about the move to Apple’s proprietary processors for Mac. If they don’t optimize their apps, the application may suddenly stop functioning properly.
New apps developed with the latest Xcode will support both Intel and Apple Silicon, these are called Universal apps. If an Apple Silicon version of an app is not yet available, Rosetta 2 will make sure that the app works normally on an Apple Silicon Mac.
In 2005, Apple designated the Rosetta software as ‘The most amazing software you’ll never see’. That was because the app ran completely in the background and made sure that your non-optimized PowerPC apps could still be used on an Intel Mac. This will also be the case for the switch from Intel to Apple’s own processor.
Disadvantages of Apple Silicon
Because developers need to optimize their apps for the new processor, some applications may no longer work properly on ARM-based Macs. Although Rosetta 2 ensures that you can also run Intel apps on a Silicon Mac, they may still function less well. So it is important that developers optimize their applications for Apple’s own Mac processors, which is the responsibility of the developer and not Apple.
Virtualization software and Boot Camp
Parallels of VMware are mainly used to run Windows virtually on the Mac, this may cause problems for Macs with Apple Silicon processors in the future. Virtualization software under Apple Silicon is no problem at all, as long as the installed virtual software is ARM-based. Rosetta 2 unfortunately does not work with x86-based virtualization software. The ARM version of Windows is currently only available pre-installed on Microsoft devices, there are no plans to offer it as separate software yet. Perhaps this will change in the future.
Finally, Apple has confirmed that Macs with Apple Silicon will no longer have Boot Camp capability, even in the future. If you want to run Windows on the Mac you have to use virtualization software. Because Windows currently only supplies x86-based software, it is not possible to install it on an ARM Mac. Rosetta 2 cannot make Boot Camp possible either.
Buying advice: Intel or Apple Silicon?
Apple does not market anything that has not been thoroughly tested. It can of course occur with new techniques that so-called teething problems arise. Obviously, in order to maintain their reputation, Apple will remedy these as soon as they arise. The transition from PowerPC to Intel in 2005 went smoothly and almost seamlessly.
If you need a new Mac now, you can opt for a Silicon Mac, but an Intel-based Mac, for example, an iMac, is still an option. Apple has promised to continue providing these Macs with updates and support. All Macs will not be equipped with Apple Silicon until the end of 2022. It will probably take another 5 years before Intel Macs are no longer provided with updates.
If you want the latest of the latest, you can purchase a Mac with Apple Silicon and you are immediately prepared for the future and immediately enjoy all the advantages such as the gigantic speed gains, longer battery life and built-in 8-core CPU, GPU and super fast central memory.
Buy a MacBook with M1 chip
MacBook Air M1 ▸ Online Apple Store: From € 1129
MacBook Air M1 ▸ YourMacStore: From € 1095 (€ 34 discount)
Buy MacBook Air with Intel processor (now with mega discounts)
13-inch MacBook Pro M1 ▸ Online Apple Store: From € 1449
13-inch MacBook Pro M1 ▸ YourMacStore: From € 1406 (€ 43 discount)
Buy 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel processor (now with mega discounts)