Little T in the Cog apple

Archive for December 2020

New M1 Apple Silicon


The new M1 powered Apple Macs have arrived, at least the first models, and they are genuinely amazing. All the reviews have nothing but good things to say about them - the laptops have great battery life and blazing performance and the new Mac Mini runs cool and quiet while packing more punch than any Intel based Mac (so long as you only need 16GB RAM for your workload!). Not only do native arm64 apps run crazy fast but the Rosetta 2 translation environment runs x86 apps so well that most people wouldn't even notice they're not native.

I can definitely see one of these in my future, but I'm holding off just a bit while the world catches up. Not all my environments are set up for arm64 and it will take a bit of time for everything to come across and work. I don't really need more than 16GB RAM but as the later laptops and Minis are released I'm sure they'll support more so I may just end up buying a Mac with more anyway. It has got me keen to install the aarch64 (which is just a different name for the arm64 instruction set that Apple now uses) version of Linux on one of my Raspberry Pi 4's (probably Raspberry Pi OS or Ubuntu) and have a play - I'm currently compiling packages for a few apps for armhf to run on the 32 bit version of Raspbian and it would be good to play with some 64 bit arm code.

One thing that has got me excited about the new Macs are what they will do to the overall ecosystem outside of macOS - this will probably be a big kick to the Windows ARM efforts, and once Dell and HP see sales going to other OEMs who will be making faster and longer lasting laptops they'll also jump on the bandwagon. Intel will have to adapt to survive (and don't forget they're getting squeezed from the bottom by consumer ARM chips and at the top end by beastly 80 core (soon to be 128 core!!) ARM server chips) so it will be interesting to see what they manage to come up with. They've had it too good for too long so this new Apple Silicon is just the shot in the arm the industry needs to really start innovating.

The future is bright and ARM powered!