Apple Reveals First Mac Models Powered by the M1 CPU

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Apple announced a major refresh for its Mac lineup with the addition of its long-rumored custom chip, the M1 processor, at its November 10 event.

New models of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini will all feature the custom Apple silicon under the hood. All models are available for pre-order now, with a launch set for next week for sale alongside existing Macs with Intel’s processors.

Available for pre-order at $999, Apple says the new MacBook Air performs up to 98% faster than most Windows laptops in the same class. It also is 3x faster than the bestselling Windows laptops.

The new MacBook Air is able to run faster, all without a fan. According to Apple, it is able to export a project for the web in iMovie up to 3x faster than before, and integrate 3D effects into Final Cut Pro up to 5x faster.

With storage, its SSD is also 2x faster than the ones found in an Intel-based MacBook Air, and the overall performance of the system should feel 3.5x faster. The laptop can also take advantage of features like instant wake, where the laptop wakes right as you raise the lid.

The new MacBook Air features up to 15 hours of battery life for web browsing, 18 hours for video playback, and six hours when web conferencing. It keeps the wedge-shaped design that is is known for, and also features Touch ID for logins, as well as the Magic Keyboard and Force Touch Trackpad.

Other features on the MacBook Air 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 better auto white balance. Connectivity onboard includes two Thunderbolt 3 USB 4 ports.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Apple also announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro at the event. Starting at $1,300, this new MacBook Pro is able to take full advantage of Apple’s new M1 CPU.

Apple says it can perform up to 2.8x faster than the previous generation, and up to 3x faster than the bestselling Windows laptop in its class. When it comes to real-world tasks, Apple says this new 13-inch MacBook can build code in Xcode up to 2.8x faster. It’s also able to render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9x faster.

In terms of power efficiency, Apple says the MacBook Pro is able to last up to 17 hours for web browsing and 20 hours for video playback, which is twice a long as an Intel MacBook Pro. Much like MacBook Air, the laptop also has Apple’s latest ISP, which allows for sharper images and more detail in shadows and highlights on video calls.

Connectivity is relatively the same, with two Thunderbolt ports with USB 4 support. Design-wise, the Pro remains unchanged, retaining its signature screen, as well as its 3-pound weight. The base model MacBook Pro comes with 8GB of unified memory that can be configured up to 16GB.

Finally, there’s the Mac Mini, which starts at $700 — $100 cheaper than previous models.  Regarded as Apple’s most versatile computer yet, it features massive generational changes. Apple says its graphical performance is 6x faster than the previous generation, especially in complex 3D rendering takes. And, when gaming, it is able to play a graphics-intensive game like Shadow of the Tomb Raider with up to 4x higher frame rates.

Other changes in the Mac Mini include a new advanced thermal design. There’s even Wi-Fi 6 for faster wireless performance and the Secure Enclave in M1 for best-in-class security. All models support Thunderbolt and USB 4 support. Configurations are available with either 8GB of unified memory, or 256 GB or 512 GB of SSD storage.

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