Apple today unveiled its first Apple Silicon-powered Macs. The new Macs, powered by Apple’s M1 chip, include the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.
When teamed with macOS Big Sur, the M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU, up to 6x faster GPU, up to 15x faster machine learning (ML) capabilities, and battery life up to 2x longer than before. And with M1 and Big Sur, users get access to the biggest collection of apps ever for Mac, providing access to iOS apps.
Apple has updated its most popular Mac model to use the M1 chip. The 8-core CPU performs up to 3.5x faster than the previous generation. With up to an 8-core GPU, graphics are up to 5x faster, allowing graphics-intensive games to run at significantly higher frame rates.
ML workloads are up to 9x faster, so apps that use ML-based features like face recognition or object detection can do so in a fraction of the time. The M1 chip’s storage controller and latest flash technology deliver up to 2x faster SSD performance. Apple says the M1 in the MacBook Air is faster than the chips in 98% of PC laptops sold in the past year.
MacBook Air includes a fanless design, which means no matter the computing load, it remains completely silent. The new MacBook Air offers greatly improved battery life, with up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback — the longest battery life ever on a MacBook Air.
During the live-streamed video presentation today, Apple mentioned the following about the new M1-powered MacBook Air:
When compared to the previous generation, the M1-powered MacBook Air can:
- Export a project for the web with iMovie up to 3x faster.
- Integrate 3D effects into video in Final Cut Pro up to 5x faster.
- For the first time, playback and edit multiple streams of full-quality, 4K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro without dropping a frame.
- Export photos from Lightroom up to twice as fast.
- Use ML-based features like Smart Conform in Final Cut Pro to intelligently frame a clip up to 4.3x faster.
- Watch more movies and TV shows with up to 18 hours of battery life, the longest ever on MacBook Air.
- Extend FaceTime and other video calls for up to twice as long on a single charge.
Other new MacBook Air features include Apple’s latest image signal processor (ISP) in the M1 chip, which improves camera image quality with better noise reduction, greater dynamic range, and improved auto white balance and ML-enhanced face detection so users look their best during video calls.
Support for P3 wide color results in an even more vibrant, true-to-life Retina display. The Secure Enclave in M1, combined with Big Sur, delivers best-in-class security with features like Touch ID, which makes it easy to unlock MacBook Air and make secure online purchases using Apple Pay with the touch of a finger. And Wi-Fi 6 delivers faster wireless performance, while two Thunderbolt ports with USB 4 support allow for connectivity to a wide range of peripherals.
The new MacBook Air starts at the same base price as the previous Intel-powered model, $999 ($899 for education).
13-inch MacBook Pro
The first Apple Silicon 13-inch MacBook Pro replaces the low-end 13-inch Intel-powered model, boasting a powerful M1 chip with an 8-Core CPU and an 8-Core GPU featuring a 16-core Neural Engine. The 8-core CPU, when paired with the MacBook Pro’s active cooling system, is up to 2.8x faster than the previous generation. Apple says the new MacBook Pro is up to 3x faster than the best-selling Windows laptop in its class.
Apple also says ML is up to 11x faster, and for on-device ML tasks that use the Neural Engine, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is now said to be the world’s fastest compact pro notebook.
With up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing and up to a staggering 20 hours of video playback, MacBook Pro delivers up to twice the battery life of the previous generation and the longest battery life ever on a Mac.
When compared to the previous generation, the M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro can:
- Build code in Xcode up to 2.8x faster.
- Render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9x faster.
- Fluidly design intricate game scenes in Unity Editor up to 3.5x faster.
- Perform ML tasks in Create ML up to 11x faster.
- Separate out beats, instrumentals, and vocal tracks from a recording in real-time in djay Pro AI, thanks to the amazing performance of the Neural Engine.
- Playback full-quality, 8K ProRes video in DaVinci Resolve without dropping a single frame.
- Compile four times as much code on a single charge, thanks to the game-changing performance per watt of the M1 chip.
Other new features include studio-quality mics for clearer recordings and calls, and Apple’s latest camera ISP in the M1 chip enables sharper images and more detail in shadows and highlights on video calls.
The new MacBook Pro also delivers improved security with the Secure Enclave in M1 and Touch ID. The new laptop features two Thunderbolt ports with USB 4 and supports Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution.
The new M1 MacBook Pro is available for the same starting price as its predecessor, at $1,299, and $1,199 for education.
Apple’s Mac mini also benefits from an upgrade to the M1 processor, which brings an 8-core CPU with up to 3x faster performance than the previous generation mini. The 8-core GPU delivers up to a 6x increase in graphics performance.
ML workloads also take a quantum leap forward with up to 15x faster performance over the previous generation. And when compared to the best-selling Windows desktop in its price range, the Mac mini is just one-tenth the size, yet delivers up to 5x faster performance.
When compared to the previous generation, the M1-powered Mac mini can:
- Compile code in Xcode up to 3x faster.
- Play a graphics-intensive game like “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” with up to 4x higher frame rates.
- Render a complex timeline in Final Cut Pro up to 6x faster.
- Take music production to new levels by using up to 3x as many real-time plug-ins in Logic Pro.
- Magically increase the resolution of a photo in Pixelmator Pro up to 15x faster.
- Utilize ML frameworks like TensorFlow or Create ML, now accelerated by the M1 chip.
The new Mac mini offers support for up to two displays including Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution, and Wi-Fi 6 for faster wireless performance and the Secure Enclave in M1.
Mac mini is now available for $699, $100 less than the previous-generation quad-core model.
Pricing and Availability
- The new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with M1 are available to order today on apple.com and in the Apple Store app. They will begin arriving to customers and will be in select Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers starting next week. The new MacBook Air starts at $999 (US), and $899 (US) for education; the new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (US), and $1,199 (US) for education; and the new Mac mini starts at $699 (US), and $679 (US) for education.