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Apple Silicon release date, specs, performance and features

Apple has finally introduced its first Apple Silicon chip, the M1, and the first three Macs that would be powered by it.

Apple took to the stage at its “One More Thing” event today to tell us all about the new chip, including specs and what it means for the Mac line.

The SoC has been built using 5-nanometre process technology and includes 16 billion transistors. Apple claims it features the world’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon, the world’s best CPU performance per watt and the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

Breaking that down, the M1 can deliver up to three and a half times faster CPU performance thanks to its eight-core processor, up to six times faster GPU performance and up to 15 times faster machine learning, all while offering two times the battery life of previous Macs.

The chip also packs Apple’s latest image signal processor (ISP) for higher quality video with better noise reduction, dynamic range and auto white balance, as well as the latest Secure Enclave for best-in-class security.

Apple has confirmed its entire Mac range will transition over to the new Apple Silicon, but it will be a gradual process that will take approximately two years to complete. Today, Apple announced the first three Macs to sport the M1 processor, the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini.

Apple introduced the M1 as the first chip designed specifically for the Mac, and many predict it won’t be the only Arm-based processor coming to Apple’s line-up. Reports claim (via MacRumours) Apple is developing at least three Mac processors, with more powerful versions likely introduced for the likes of the 16-inch MacBook Pro and iMac Pro.

If you’ve still got an Intel Mac, there’s no need for concern, as Apple has confirmed it will continue to support such devices for the foreseeable future. But there’s still no doubt that Apple Silicon is the future for Macs.

We’ve compiled all there is to know about the Apple Silicon in this handy guide. Keep reading to learn more about Apple Silicon.

Related: MacBook Arm

What is Apple Silicon?

Apple Silicon is the new processor series that will be coming to Macs. MacBook and iMac devices previously used Intel’s x86 processor architecture, but Apple is now switching over to Arm architecture as it wants greater control over its hardware.

Apple already uses Arm-based A-Series chips for its iPhone and iPad devices, so the transition will allow Apple to streamline its technology and make it easier to provide cross-platform support for apps across both iOS and macOS.

But Apple Silicon isn’t just about the CPU. The company is bringing a custom-built GPU into play too, which it says will support high-end gaming experiences, as well as using high-performance DRAM. Within Apple Silicon is also tech to support image processing from the cameras, machine learning through a new neural engine, audio processing and much more. The system-on-a-chip is the future of the Mac.

Related: Best MacBook 2020

Apple Silicon release date – When will new MacBooks and iMacs arrive?

Apple unveiled the first three Macs to be powered by the M1 chip at its “One More Thing” event today.

The line up includes the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini, all of which are available to order now. If your favourite Mac isn’t on the list, don’t worry. Apple plans to gradually transition its line up over the next few years, so expect more announcements in the future.

Apple Silicon specs and performance– How does it compare to Intel?

Apple Silicon is confirmed to use Arm architecture, which means it offers excellent power and thermal efficiency compared to Intel processors. This is shown by the fact that the new MacBook Air can operate without a fan.

Apple has custom built its Apple Silicon processors, with the first using a 5nm process and featuring a staggering 16 billion transistors. The new M1 processor is an 8-core CPU, while sporting an 8-core GPU which is apparently the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

For comparison, Apple suggests the M1 boasts up to 3.5x faster CPU performance than previous Intel chips, and a 6x faster GPU. This all results in a very powerful processor capable of heavy workloads such as gaming and video editing.

Of course, we’ll have to test Apple Silicon for ourselves to see how it really compares to Intel chips, especially since the new Tiger Lake mobile CPUs recently arrived on modern laptops.

One thing we’re very excited about is battery life. Arm-based devices typically have see superb battery stamina, so you can expect the future Macs improve dramatically in this area. Apple suggests the M1 chip has enabled the 13-inch MacBook Pro to last for around 20 hours when browsing the web, which is a massive improvement on the Intel configuration.