Meet the M1, the First Apple-Designed Chip for Macs

Meet the M1, the First Apple-Designed Chip for Macs
Image: Apple

Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June that it planned to transition Macs away from Intel to an Apple-designed chip based on ARM, but we had few details on what that chip would entail — until now. The M1 chip for Macs is here, and now we know exactly what Apple has in store for its desktop lineup.

Apple’s m1 chip

The M1 is Apple’s first system-on-chip for the Mac, which means the 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine are packed into one chip based on 5-nanometre technology — a first for personal computers. Apple says it sports the world’s fastest CPU core, with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores.

Screenshot: Apple Screenshot: Apple

Apple threw out a ton of numbers for the M1: It claims it uses a third of the power of a traditional GPU, three times the improvement in performance power when compared to a PC CPU, and has the best CPU performance per watt — up to two times more powerful than a PC chip. Apple claims it’s capable of performing 11 trillion operations per second.

The M1 also integrates the latest Secure Enclave, similar to Apple’s chips for iPhones and iPads, and includes Thunderbolt and USB 4 controller.

Of course, what matters most is what the M1 means for devices, the first of which will be a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. Apple’s macOS Big Sur upgrade has been optimised for the M1, which allows Macs to wake instantly, and for apps to launch instantaneously. Every Apple app has been optimised for M1, and developers are working to make their own apps run on M1.

We’ll update this story with more information from Apple’s event as it unfolds.