Apple has become the only computer company in the world to design and manufactures its own processors. This is the equivalent of Intel creating its own computers, or Microsoft manufacturing processors as well as computers powered by them.
Now, what is the big deal you might ask?
Well, it is simple. Apple now controls everything about its Macs, like it does with its iPads and iPhones. That means it owns the hardware, what is inside the hardware, the software that runs the hardware and the entire supply, distribution and after-sales network too. While this means more revenue that does not need to be shared with anyone else, it also means no compromises on performance or efficiency in any way.
Apple can do what it wants with its software and there will be no one, or no tech challenges, that can stop it from doing so.
There is more. With its own M1 processors powering the new range of Macs, Apple will be able to have universal apps as the core of its new operating system macOS Big Sur. This means Macs are now more like mobile devices and will run apps as it does on the iPhone or iPad.
In fact, some of the apps from these smaller mobile screens will now run seamlessly on Macs. With Apple facilitating easy transition of legacy apps to the new universal apps format, it will soon have a better grip on what developers doing, while making it easier to create apps that work across different types of Apple devices.
With the integrated graphics, the new M1 processor will offer better power efficiency while being much faster than earlier Macs. Also, since this is similar to mobile, it won’t be long before Apple could think of a Mac that has its own connecticty, most probably 5G.
So what does it mean for the user?
Well, with the new MacBook Air users should be able to do what they were doing with the MacBook Pro before. Not such a big deal for Apple which is already running Adobe Photoshop on the iPad Air. But for those on the go, there is a more powerful device, as light as the air, with many more hours of battery life than before.
Even the MacBook Pro, which can now playback 8K videos, the battery life doubles to over 20 hours for video playback and 16 hours for wireless connectivity. And the workflows, especially around high resolution video and graphics, will be faster.
The M1 could also be the start of more processors that are based on the ARM-based architecture and more in sync with the mobile era that we are in. Intel, which has just revamped its processor line up, will be under pressure to start rethinking its strategy too, especially since one of its larger customers is going to move out completely in a couple of years. It is maybe time for Intel to think out of the box and come up with a new processor architecture for the next decade.