One more thing. That was the name of Apple’s latest event. And, following the recent releases of the iPhone 12 and a new batch of iPads, there was only one product line it was going to be all about: the 2020 MacBook.
In case you missed it, in early November Apple announced a new range of Mac computers with a big difference: the latest machines are the first to move away from a reliance on Intel’s processors. Instead, the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini all come with Apple’s first desktop ARM chip: the M1.
M1: A Breakthrough, Not an Upgrade?
Apple’s new M1 processor is similar to the A14 chip at the center of the latest iPhone 12 and iPad Air. The main difference is that it has two extra cores in the CPU and double the core count in the GPU. The eight CPU cores are smartly split between high performance and simple tasks, which should mean the M1 chip offers better performance per watt than similar devices on the market.
In fact, Apple has said the M1 can deliver the peak performance of a PC laptop while using just a quarter of the power!
That’s a big deal. So much so that Apple is calling the M1 a breakthrough, not an upgrade.
But what does this new chip mean for Apple fans?
Previously, Macs relied upon multiple chips to deliver features ranging from security to processing to memory. The M1 combines everything into a single chip – with significant benefits for efficiency and performance.
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The M1 is also the first personal computer chip built using 5‑nanometer process technology, boosting performance by integrating 11.8 billion transistors on the silicon die – an increase of around 40% compared to the previous A13 processor in the old MacBook Air.
In other words, if you’re looking for a computer to handle media-intensive tasks without overheating and/or needing to be constantly plugged in, the M1-powered MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini might be exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
The M1 offers a huge increase in graphics performance alongside its low power consumption. Apple has gone as far as to say the GPU in the M1 is the most advanced graphics processor they’ve ever built, with the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer. That’s a big claim but early signs are that it’s an accurate one!
macOS 11 Big Sur
Before we get into the details of the new MacBook models, let’s look at what they have in common.
Aside from the new M1 chip, the biggest thing to note is that all the new Macs will run macOS 11 Big Sur. That means you’ll be able to install and use iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac for the first time. A welcome addition and perhaps a sign that the boundaries between phone and computer are beginning to blur.
All of Apple’s preloaded apps and professional programs, including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, have been optimised to work with the new M1 chip.
The big question is what this means moving forward. Now that Apple is making its own processors and launching macOS 11 Big Sur, you can expect an even more seamless experience across your Macbook, iPhone and Apple Watch.
A Closer Look at the New MacBook Models
The new MacBook Air doesn’t look that different from the previous model. But that’s because most of the action is going on under the surface. With the new M1 chip, the Air is apparently 3.5x faster in terms of CPU performance and offers 5x the graphics performance when compared to the previous generation.
Let’s put that into perspective for a second. According to Apple’s launch event, the MacBook Air is faster than 98% of the PC laptops sold last year.
And, believe it or not, it doesn’t have a fan. Apple says the M1 chip takes care of that.
As you’d expect with a device that runs cool and performs more efficiently, the battery life has improved too. Apple says the MacBook Air offers 15 hours of web browsing and 18 hours of video. Its built-in 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery charges with a 30W USB-C power adapter.
Price: The MacBook Air is available from $999.
Just like the new MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is very similar to the previous generation in terms of looks. But looks can be deceiving. Again, it’s all about what’s under the hood.
Thanks to the M1 the Pro is 2.8x faster than the previous model and offers (yes, this is true) 20 hours of video playback – the longest battery life ever on a Mac.
The MacBook Pro also features better internal microphones and an improved webcam – perfect for all your video calls and business meetings. However, there are only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, which is half what you got with the previous version.
And, just in case you were wondering, the new 13-inch Pro does have a fan. Apple says it’s to ensure peak performance over time. The Pro comes with a 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, about 17% larger than the Macbook Air battery, and requires a higher 61W charging power.
The Mac mini is pretty much the same again, except for the M1, which provides 3x faster performance and up to 6x faster graphics. With these big performance improvements, it looks like Apple is set to do well in the BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse) market.
Price: Starting at $699.
The Perfect Tool for Creatives?
In theory, the Mac processor upgrade is great news for designers, photographers, cinematographers, and other creative professionals who prioritize image processing capabilities and the ability to work with media above all else.
These look like breakthrough steps for power users that are tired of juggling battery life and performance limitations.
And better still, beyond the power and performance is the ease of use you’d expect from Apple. Like with iPads and iPhones, the new Macs will be able to instantly wake from sleep mode and get straight into high-performance tasks, whether you want to do some 3D design work or 4K video editing!
But power and performance is only half of the story. For a truly integrated office setup, you need to be able to seamlessly move media from one device to another.
On the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, the port selection includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, supporting USB-4, and a headphone jack. You’re going to need some accessories if you want to make the most of your new tech.
And as a laptop stand, there are 4 adjustable angles(15°/20°/30°/33°) for connecting freely with peripherals, reading on laptop and easy typing. The X-Kit is also a solid bet if you’re concerned about the lack of a fan on your new MacBook. Sure, Apple says the new models are thermally efficient, but heat dissipation is still a factor. With the X-Kit you get better heat dissipation and enhanced productivity at the same time.
The X-Kit is being crowdfunded on indiegogo. Sign up to the pre-launch exclusives here and embrace a more universal way of working. The first 300 backers can get a huge 55% off and get the X-Kit at only $44!
Register today for our limited holiday offer!
For alternative connectivity options, why not consider our USB-C hub for Mac?
Related article: What Is a USB-C Hub and How Can It Declutter Your Desk?
The Blessing of Better Battery Life
Plenty of Apple fans use their MacBooks for work, play, and everything in between. This means power efficiency and battery life are one of the first metrics buyers look at.
The advances in the new MacBooks’ battery life are impressive. But it’s not actually the case that the new batteries are loads better. In fact, the capacity hasn’t changed from the previous generation. It’s just that the new M1 processor is handling all of your tasks with ease and barely breaking a sweat.
Having said that, you will still need to plug in and charge up at some point! If you want a fast charger that’ll work with your Mac and the rest of your devices, look no further than the UGREEN 65w GaN charger — With 3C1A fast charging ports and the most advanced GaN semiconductor technology, can provide you with the best charging experience. Just make sure you’ve got the cables you need!
Unified Memory for Smooth Video and Gaming
Another knock-on effect of the new M1 chip is that the latest MacBooks come with up to 16GB of unified memory. That means apps can share data between the CPU, GPU and Neural Engine with ease, cutting loading times and making working with video and gaming more responsive.
But let’s be honest, gaming and intensive video editing are best done on an external monitor. We recommend connecting your new MacBook to a high-performance screen for a more immersive experience. For that, you’ll need a compatible HDMI cable capable of bringing your media and games to life – preferably in glorious 8K!
New MacBook Features You Might Have Missed
Truth be told, the 2020 MacBooks are pretty much identical to last year’s models in terms of design. Despite the huge development in power and performance, there’s still no cellular option, no touchscreen features (even though it would make sense with the new macOS 11 Big Sur), and no Face ID.
Apple is taking a cautious approach, focusing efforts on the huge change in chip architecture before launching shiny new features on future models. If you do want to make your new MacBook stand out from the crowd, why not invest in a stylish MacBook case to keep it secure and scratch-free while you’re on the go?
A Glimpse at the Future of Computing
The new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini offer a glimpse at the future of computing. Apple’s adventure into new chip architecture is only just beginning – but already this launch has achieved staggering upgrades in battery life and performance.
The latest MacBooks are powerful enough to be hubs for whatever computing tasks you want to take on, from video editing and design to conference calls and machine learning. Apple is leading the trend of integrated computing, where one device ties together all of your other ones. But you’ll need a bit of help to turn your new MacBook into the perfect portable office tool.
If you’re considering accessories for your new MacBook, check out the UGREEN X-Kit, our 5-in-1 USB-C hub and foldable laptop stand. Speaking of integrated, a great 5-in-1 Hub-Stand might be your best choice. It’s the integrated laptop stand you need.
Are you tempted by any of the new MacBooks or will you wait until Apple’s next iterations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!