12:55PM EST - Today Apple is expected to pull the trigger on new ‘Apple Silicon’ Macbooks. Years in the making, today we should be hearing about a lew of new devices from the Cupertino company which ditch x86 processors in favour of their own in-house designs.

12:55PM EST - We don’t know exactly what Apple has in store for us, but an upsized chip variant of the A14, maybe an A14X, is going to be a likely bet. Whatever Apple presents today, following the event, expect an in-depth microarchitectural exploration of the A14 and the Firestorm cores – with us attempting to put into context Apple’s big bet on Apple Silicon and how the competitive landscape might look like.

12:56PM EST - It goes without saying that Apple's transition from x86 to Arm chips is a significant move. Not one without precedence (see: PPC->x86), but a major one none the less. Not even Apple changes CPU ISAs frequently

12:57PM EST - Just as in 2006, Apple is coming to a crossroads in terms of CPU performnace. Long-time supplier Intel has struggled to keep moving forward. Meanwhile Apple's in-house team, responsible for developing their A-series chips for iOS devices, have been able to put together increasingly powerful hardware

12:58PM EST - In fact it's outright surprising in some respects how far Apple has come

12:58PM EST - Apple's latest CPU cores have IPCs higher than Intel's chips, and while IPC isn't everything (clockspeed matters as well), it's evidence of a very strong architecture design

12:59PM EST - So for as messy as an ISA transition is, it's one that makes sense for Apple. They think they can do better than Intel's chips, and they're probably right

01:00PM EST - In fact there's little Iif any) doubt in the hardware side of matters. The bigger question on everyones' minds seems to be the software side: backwards compatibility, bootcamp, x86 virtual machines, etc

01:00PM EST - And with that said, here we go

01:02PM EST - Starting as always with Tim Cook

01:02PM EST - This is Apple's third major event in two months (we've noticed, Tim!)

01:02PM EST - Cook is quickly recapping the past two announcements: iOS 14, macOS 11, new iPhones, iPads, and Watches

01:03PM EST - "There is just one more thing"

01:03PM EST - "It's time to talk about the Mac"

01:04PM EST - Apple's Mac business grew by 30% last quarter

01:04PM EST - Now rolling a video celebrating Mac users

01:05PM EST - "The Mac has always been about innovation and bold change"

01:05PM EST - Now recapping this summer's announcement of the Apple Silicon transition

01:06PM EST - That day is finally here

01:06PM EST - Now up, John Ternus

01:06PM EST - For the past several years Apple has been working on building the next generation of Macs

01:07PM EST - At the heart of this is Apple's SoCs, also known as Apple Silicon

01:07PM EST - Announcing their first chip designed specifically for the Mac

01:07PM EST - Apple M1

01:07PM EST - Designed for low-power, portable systems

01:07PM EST - Now up, Johny Srouji on M1

01:08PM EST - "M1 delivers a giant leap in performance-per-watt"

01:08PM EST - With M1, Apple doesn't just have their own chip, but they're able to go SoC-style and integrate what was previously multiple chips into a single chip

01:09PM EST - Built on 5nm

01:09PM EST - And offers a unified memory pool

01:09PM EST - 16B transistors

01:09PM EST - 8 core CPU: 4 perf cores, 4 efficiency cores

01:09PM EST - "World's fastest CPU core"

01:09PM EST - 192KB I-Cache, 128KB D-Cache, 12MB L2 cache

01:10PM EST - Meanwhile the efficiency cores have their own 4MB L2 cache

01:10PM EST - "World's best CPU performance per watt"

01:11PM EST - M1 delivers 2x the performance of the "latest PC laptop chip" at 10 Watts, the MacBook Air's TDP

01:11PM EST - And 3x performance per watt elsewhere

01:11PM EST - Now on to GPUs

01:12PM EST - Johny is talking up the benfits of an integrated GPU versus a discrete GPU

01:12PM EST - 8 GPU cores

01:12PM EST - 2.6 TFLOPs; nearly 25K threads at once

01:12PM EST - Again 2x performance versus an unnamed PC laptop chip

01:13PM EST - M1 has a neural engine as well with 16 cores

01:13PM EST - And Apple's latest secure enclave

01:13PM EST - Thunderbolt/USB 4 support

01:14PM EST - "M1 is by far the best chip we've ever created"

01:14PM EST - macOS Big Sur has been built to maximize M1

01:15PM EST - Now up, Craig Federighi

01:15PM EST - Recapping everything introduced in Big Sur

01:15PM EST - And wasting no time into getting into what the M1 Macs will be like

01:15PM EST - iPhone-style instant-on

01:16PM EST - Safari is 1.9x more responsive

01:16PM EST - And once again bringing up the unified memory architecture

01:16PM EST - Which means Apple doesn't have to copy data around from the CPU memory pool to the GPU (or in reverse)

01:17PM EST - Craig is also touting better battery life

01:17PM EST - iOS-style security is also coming to the M1 Macs

01:17PM EST - (For better or worse)

01:18PM EST - Apple has of course optimized all of their Mac apps for M1

01:18PM EST - Universal apps will offer binaries for both x86 and Arm processors

01:18PM EST - So the same app will run on all Macs

01:19PM EST - Developers in turn will be bringing universal versions of their apps

01:19PM EST - Big Sur also has Rosetta 2 to run x86 apps on M1 Macs

01:19PM EST - Apple claims some programs even perform better under Rosetta 2 on M1 than they did x86 Macs

01:20PM EST - And M1 Macs can directly run iPhone/iPad apps

01:20PM EST - Now rolling a video about apps that have been updated for Arm

01:23PM EST - Developers talking about what they've been doing with their dev kits (at a very high level and rapid paced)

01:23PM EST - Back to John

01:24PM EST - Now introducing the Macs themselves

01:24PM EST - First out of the gate: the new MacBook Air (with M1)

01:25PM EST - Now up, Laura Metz

01:25PM EST - MacBook Air is Apple's most popular Mac

01:26PM EST - Up to 3.5x faster CPU than the previous-generation MBA

01:26PM EST - Up to 5x faster graphics performance

01:26PM EST - Up to 3x faster than the best-selling Windows laptops in its class

01:27PM EST - 9x faster machine learning performance than the previous MBA

01:27PM EST - Even the SSD is 2x faster. M1 has its own storage controller, and Apple is using the latest flash technology

01:27PM EST - And the MBA is now fanless

01:28PM EST - Up to 18 hours of video playback; 6 hours longer than before

01:28PM EST - And 2x the battery life on conference calls

01:28PM EST - Laura is also touting the M1's ISP to offer better front-facing camera image quality

01:29PM EST - P3 wide color support for the display

01:29PM EST - (No idea if Apple has actually improved the physical camera, however)

01:29PM EST - Starting at $999 (and $899 for education)

01:29PM EST - Up to 16GB of RAM, 2TB of flash storage

01:31PM EST - Next up: Mac Mini

01:31PM EST - Julie Broms to present the M1-powered Mac Mini

01:32PM EST - Up to 3x faster CPU perf than the previous quad-core Mac Mini

01:32PM EST - 6x faster graphics

01:33PM EST - Up to 5x faster than the "top-selling PC desktop"

01:34PM EST - The Mac Mini does have a fan

01:34PM EST - But this means it's capable of sustaining its performance

01:34PM EST - Two USB-C supports with Thunderbolt and USB4 support

01:34PM EST - Can even drive Apple's XDR display

01:34PM EST - Starts at $699

01:35PM EST - $100 lower than the old intro price

01:35PM EST - It's notable that Apple isn't clarifying whether this is Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4

01:35PM EST - "We're still not done"

01:36PM EST - The MacBook Pro 13-inch is also going M1

01:36PM EST - Shruti Haldea to present the 13-inch MBP

01:37PM EST - 5x faster graphics

01:37PM EST - (I'm really curious what the TDP is like)

01:38PM EST - As with the MBA, Apple is talking up all of the creative tasks that can be done with the laptop, and the benefits of an NPU

01:38PM EST - The MBP has a fan, of course

01:39PM EST - 17 hours of wireless web browsing, and 20 hours of video playback (10 hours more than before)

01:39PM EST - Also has "studio-quality" mics in a 3 microphone array

01:40PM EST - And like the Mac Mini, it can drive the XDR display at full resolution

01:40PM EST - Starting at $1299 ($1199 education)

01:40PM EST - Up to 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD

01:41PM EST - "The ultimate expression of what the M1 chip can do"

01:41PM EST - Now back to John, recapping the benefits of M1 and Big Sur

01:41PM EST - Performance, battery life, and security

01:42PM EST - All three Macs available for order today

01:42PM EST - They will be available next week

01:42PM EST - Meanwhile macOS 11 Big Sur launches this week

01:43PM EST - Recapping that the Arm transition will take a couple of years to complete

01:43PM EST - And one last video to roll before turning things back over to Tim Cook

01:45PM EST - "The M1 chip is by far the most powerful chip we've ever created"

01:45PM EST - Cook is expressing his pride in Apple's product teams

01:46PM EST - Looking forward to 2021 and "bringing even more amazing experiences"

01:46PM EST - John Hodgman is back

01:46PM EST - Apple is back to not being a PC, after all

01:47PM EST - And that's a wrap! Check back a bit later today for our A14 deep dive, and what we expect from the M1

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  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    My beef with Apple is their presentations use way too many superlatives and this one was way over the top. That developer segment looked like a child wrote it. How much cheese would you like that hype? We get it: Apple chips are fast, but they need to give us a least some more top-level technical details compared to the competition. No hard reference points. On top of it, you can tell they are redoubling on their walled garden app ecosystem which is latching its tentacles into macOS. That is something they are not telling you in this video that many developers are complaining about despite the ease of development that the paid sellout shout-outs were praising. Reply
  • vanilla_gorilla - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    These announcements are targeted at the general public. They wouldn't understand any of those technical details. We have Anandtech for a deep dive on the performance. You shouldn't trust manufacturers claims anyway. Reply
  • lmcd - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    Integrated storage controller and onboard flash memory? Yuck. I've recommended Macs to people who like macOS before but I can't do that in good conscience with an onboard SSD. That's not an acceptable tradeoff in the laptop form factor. Reply
  • Coldfriction - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    They didn't stop buying Apple products when Apple glued the battery in their cases, they aren't going to stop here either. Apple customers don't care about longevity or the right to repair. They just want it to work and believe they are getting the best there is whether or not that is the case. I've never recommended people buy Apple products because they don't work with standards that others can use to participate in their ecosystem. Nobody cares. Apple is still making too much money and too many shareholders believe in their totalitarian vertical control of their product stack. Apple was always a worse playing in the computing space than Microsoft. It's funny the "anti-corporate control" people ever clamored for Apple gear. Reply
  • elforeign - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    Maybe if you could get over your bias and hate for Apple you might make a sensible post. My 2017 MPB still works just as well as it did on Day 1. No issues with the keyboard, with the screen, with the operating system, with the applications or anything. I couldn't say that about the previous 2 Windows laptops i'd owned from Toshiba and Samsung. I honestly believe this MBP will continue performing perfectly until Apple completely stops supporting updates or until I find a way to fill up the 512GB SSD from my own negligence (I have a PC that stores my pictures and music, which accounts for the majority of my storage requirements). Apple's products are solid, enjoy long support and if one actually thinks about it's intended use-case scenario, then they fulfill their purpose quite well. I could never imagine keeping an PC laptop for more than 2 years without seriously compromising my sanity. I haven't had more to do than flip open my MBP and go on about my business in the 3 years i've had it. PC/Windows ecosystem doesn't offer that. Reply
  • lmcd - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    I just gave away a Toshiba Satellite L855D that works better than it did on day 1 via an SSD upgrade and RAM upgrade. Latest Windows 10 updates and all.

    You're lying if you're claiming you've used an MBP from 3 years ago with no problems for any significant amount time, as the keyboard would've broken :)
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    Haha, very true. Had 4x MBP 16-18 keyboard replacements in the office in the last year and sold them on eBay shortly after. Went back to the 2015 model which is still decent, and even has a removable SSD! Reply
  • elforeign - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    It's largely user error I would imagine. Reply
  • hlovatt - Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - link

    My previous 15" MacBook Pro lasted 6 years, my current 15" MacBookPro is 3 years old and has just had a battery replacement, my partners 13" MacBook just packed in after 7 years, and my daughters 13" MacBook pro does require a battery swap now and that is only 4 years old. Battery swap quoted at AU$289 by Apple. So I would say not too bad overall. Certainly a lot better than the Dell Latitudes that are common at work, which have all sorts of hardware and battery issues. Reply
  • cpugod - Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - link

    Then there's the case of when things do go wrong... My 2016 MacBook Pro had the E key fall off, right when it's coming on it's 4 year anniversary... called Apple (even though didn't think this would fly as a warranty) and they not only replaced the bottom case (including updated butterfly keyboard and batteries), but also the top display portion... basically got a "new" 2016 MacBook Pro (which I can now sell for 1200Eur and get the M1 MBA).

    When it comes to customer support there isn't another PC vendor that even comes close to the same league as Apple.
    Reply

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