Apple unveils new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with its M1 chip
- 11 November, 2020 07:49
The switch from Intel processors to Apple Silicon is now underway, and Apple on Tuesday during its “One more thing” event unveiled three Macs with Apple’s new M1 processor.
The three new Apple Silicon Macs—MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini—are available for purchase now, and will start shipping next week. Here are the details on these new Macs.
Apple has replaced all the Intel-based models with M1-based laptops. According to Apple, the new MacBook Air offers 3.5 times faster CPU performance than its predecessor, as well as 5 times faster graphics performance, nine times faster machine learning speed, and two times the SSD speed.
Apple also touts extended battery life, with 15 hours web browsing (up from 11 hours), 18 hours video playback (up from 12 hours), and twice the life while video conferencing than before.
Apple offers two standard configurations of the MacBook Air, priced at $999 and $1,249. Both models have a M1 chip, which has 8 total processing cores (four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and integrated graphics. Both also have 8GB of RAM (upgradeable to 16GB at time of purchase), a 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with support for the Wide Color, two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, a backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, and built-in Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6.
The $999 and $1,249 MacBook Air models are differentiated by the number of graphics cores implemented and the SSD size. The $999 model uses a seven-core GPU and comes with a 256GB SSD, while the $1,249 model has an eight-core GPU and a 512GB SSD.
The M1-equipped 13-inch MacBook Pro models that Apple announced are priced at $1,299 and $1,499. They replace the previous MacBook Pro models that came with 1.4GHz 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processors.
According to Apple, the eight-core M1 MacBook Pro is 2.8 times faster than the Intel-based models they replace. Apple also touts up to five times faster graphics performance, and 11 times faster machine learning speed.
As for battery life, the M1 MacBook Pro is rated at 17 hours for wireless web, an eight-hour improvement. Video playback is rated at 20 hours, which is double that of the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The $1,299 and $1,499 13-inch MacBook Pro both have an eight-core M1 processor (four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and eight-core integrated graphics. Both also include 8GB of RAM (upgradeable to 16GB at time of purchase), two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, a 13.3-inch backlit display, a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar, and built-in Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Apple does still offer Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pros. The $1,799 and $1,999 models have a 2.0GHz quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics. These models were introduced in May of 2020. (We have a review of the $1,799 model.)
Apple has not officially commented on why the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro is still being offered. Our guess is that it has to do with offering native Intel CPUs for those who use mission-critical software that has not yet been updated to support the M1 chip's ARM instruction set and may not run well with Rosetta translation.
Apple’s entry-level desktop Mac mini gets the M1 treatment, which isn’t that surprising. The company issued Apple Silicon-equipped Mac minis to developers at WWDC this past summer, equipped with an A12Z processor. It also fits the profile of introducing Apple Silicon through the Macs that are popular with the general public.
The same eight-core M1 processor that’s in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro is in the Mac mini. Apple touts a 3x CPU performance improvement over the Intel-based model, as well as 6x graphics performance and 5x machine learning speed.
Two standard configurations of the Mac mini are available at $699 and $899. In addition to the M1, both models have 8GB of RAM, two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 connector, and gigabit ethernet. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are built in.
The $699 Mac mini has a 256GB SSD, while the $899 model has a 512GB SSD. Both models can be configured to up to 2TBs of storage.
Apple does still sell an Intel-based Mac mini, a $1,099 model with a 3.0 GHz six-core Core i5 CPU and integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630.