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What is Apple Silicon? Everything you need to know

The computing world was turned upside down when Apple revealed back in 2020 that it will be transitioning from Intel processors to Apple Silicon for its Mac range. But what is Apple Silicon and why should you care?

We’ve assembled this extensive guide of Apple Silicon, including a basic explanation as well as specs and benchmark figures. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s new technology.

What is Apple Silicon?

Apple Silicon is an Arm-based processor technology developed by Apple for its computing products. While Apple used to outsource its MacBook processor production to the likes of Intel, the company has now decided produce its own chips to retain full control of the production line.

The Apple M1 chip was the first Apple Silicon chip to launch, and has been installed into the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and iMac 2021.

The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips launched in October 2021 as more powerful alternatives to the M1. These processors are currently only available in the MacBook Pro 2021.

An M2 chip is expected to launch in 2022, which will kickstart the second-generation of Apple’s Mac CPUs. Reports suggest it will power the MacBook Air 2022.

Apple has confirmed its entire Mac range will transition over to the new Apple Silicon by the end of 2022. Right now, only the 27-inch iMac and Mac Pro are the only remaining Apple devices to feature Intel processors.

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.

Does Apple Silicon use Arm architecture?

Yes. MacBook and iMac devices previously used Intel’s x86 processor architecture, but Apple is now switching over to Arm architecture.

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.

Arm technology is renowned for offering 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, while also seeing its battery life extended significantly.

M1 using Apple Silicon

Should you wait for Apple Silicon?

Early signs suggest Apple Silicon will be superior to Intel chips for both performance and battery life, making M1 models a far more tantalising option than the older Intel units.

The new Apple Mac processors will also feature a similar architecture to the chips found inside the iPhone and iPad, allowing for smoother software transitions between ecosystems. This could potentially increase the number of apps made available to Macs in the future.

There are so many benefits here that you should definitely wait for Apple Silicon Macs where possible. That said, Apple has confirmed it will continue to support Intel Macs for the foreseeable future, so if you see an Intel Mac that’s had a significant price reduction, it may still be a worthwhile buy.

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