With Apple Silicon, the Mac Is Now Capable of Market Dominance

But will Tim Cook be bold enough to go for it?

⭐ Robert Jameson
Debugger
Published in
5 min readDec 2, 2020

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple makes some bold claims about the capabilities of its M1 processor — the new “Apple Silicon” system on a chip that powers its latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.

World’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon

World’s best CPU performance per watt

World’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer

…a quantum leap in performance at a fraction of the power.

Apple claims the MacBook Air, for example, has an “up to 3.5x faster CPU” and “up to 5x faster graphics” than its Intel-powered predecessor, despite no longer requiring a fan.

Obviously the use of the phrase, “up to,” gives Apple some wiggle room for making the performance leap sound bigger than it actually is.

Nevertheless, early benchmark results suggest the performance improvements are substantial and real, if slightly less dramatic than Apple’s marketing might imply.

Less haste, more speed

We see now why Apple took so long to ditch Intel and put its own ARM-based chips in its Macs.

Apple could have put its own silicon in its laptops years ago. The A-series chips it uses in its iPhones and iPads have long been capable of powering a Mac to browse the web, watch videos, and perform basic productivity tasks.

Such a move, however, would have required a trade-off. It would, most likely, have involved sacrificing some performance in exchange for better battery life and improved portability. And Apple did not want to give the impression that buying an Apple product is, in any way, a compromise.

So Apple waited until such trade-offs were no longer required. They waited until they could confidently claim that Apple Silicon would provide both improved efficiency and improved performance.

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⭐ Robert Jameson
Debugger

Tech Writer. Philosopher. Economist. Basic Income Advocate.