Apple Bids Farewell to Intel, Introduces M1 ChipBy MBN Staff | Tue, 11/10/2020 - 15:00
After using Intel chips since 2006, the company introduced its Mac computers with its own processor chips. This is the first Mac system on a chip (SoC), meaning the first equipment that integrates all processes on a single chip: CPU, GPU, Neural Engine and its security module. “As a system on a chip (SoC), M1 combines numerous powerful technologies into a single chip and features a unified memory architecture for dramatically improved performance and efficiency,” said the company in a statement released after its virtual event on Tuesday.
Since 2018, the company led by Tim Cook has been working on its transition away from Intel. The main features of the Apple M1 chip are a 5nm process with 16 billion transistors, an 8-core CPU and GPU, Apple Neural Engine. “M1 delivers up to 3.5 times faster CPU performance, up to six times faster GPU performance, and up to 15 times faster machine learning, all while enabling battery life up to two times longer than previous-generation Macs,” the company noted.
The first computers to debut these new chips are a 13-inch retina screen MacBook Air, a new Mac Mini and a 13in MacBook Pro, which starting prices are, respectively, US$999, US$699 and US$1,299, charger included. “This is the beginning of a transition to a new family of chips designed specifically for the Mac. The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years to complete and these three systems (MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini) are an amazing first step,” adds the statement.
Apple has seen a boom in Mac sales due to the pandemic. In the 4Q20, Mac sales reached US$9 billion. However, only 13.9 percent of revenue was generated by the Mac division during this period. The iPhone was in first place with 40.8 percent, followed by services with 22.4 percent.
Currently, iPhone chips draw on computing architecture technology from Arm and manufactured by outside partners. Later this year, Foxconn, Apple’s biggest supplier, is likely to make a final decision on whether to open a factory in Mexico to make Apple iPhones. However, there had been no sign of Apple’s direct involvement in the plan yet, reported MBN in a previous article. Pegatron, a contractor for several phone manufacturers, including Apple, is also considering a facility in Mexico mainly to assemble chips and other electronic components.