Sci-Tech

Apple announces a change in strategy: Macs get their own processor – economical

Apple is bringing its Macs into a new era: The iPhone Group has introduced the first three models with in-house chips instead of Intel processors. Apple promises that this will make computers run much faster and more energy efficiently.

With this switch, the group can also run their Macs on the same software platform as iPhones and iPads for the first time. The M1 chip itself combines an eight-core main processor and a graphics chip in one system.

Applications would run much faster than before and even demanding programs would run smoother, said software chief Craig Federighi. As with the iPhone, a special area is intended to improve, for example, machine learning image processing.

With the M1 chip, Apple equips, among other things, Mac’s most popular model, the Macbook Air. It now works without a fan. Thanks to the more economical chip, the battery lasts 15 hours of surfing the web and 18 hours of video playback. The Macbook Air is Apple’s most popular computer.

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The more powerful Macbook Pro with a 13-inch display and the Mac Mini desktop calculator also have a new Apple processor. For the MacBook Pro, Apple talks about 17 hours of surfing and 20 hours of video playback.

For the Mac Mini and Macbook Pro, Apple initially also offers models with Intel chips – the Macbook Air is only available in the M1 group. Externally, the devices look the same as before.

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With the switch, Apple has broken out of the long-standing path of the PC industry, previously dominated by Intel processors. M1 chips are based on the architecture of the ARM chip designer, with which both iPhones and iPads run. This also allows developers to transfer iPhone applications to Macs.

Mac programs that were originally adapted for Intel processors and have not yet been adapted for Apple chips are now to be “translated” in real time. There are no performance restrictions, Apple promises.

The switch has been announced for some time. On the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been able to package a lot of energy into a small format by developing its own chips. But for Macs, the company has repeatedly had to wait for new processors from Intel.

When the transition was announced in June, it was said that it should cover all models within two years. For Macs, this is the third change in the chip platform since the transition from Motorola to PowerPC from IBM in the early 1990s and from 2005 to Intel.

The question now is whether the example of Apple could set a precedent in the industry if Mac M1 computers can offer their users a significant advantage over third-party computers with Intel chips. Among other things, Microsoft and Samsung already offer laptops with chips based on the ARM architecture, but so far they have remained more of a niche model. (DPA)

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