When news first broke that Apple was planning to launch Macs with ARM-based processors that the company designed in-house, I didn’t think all of the company’s laptops and desktops would be using the same ARM chips.
But so far that seems to be the case. This week Apple introduced new iMac all-in-one desktop PCs that have the same Apple M1 processor as the Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13 the company launched last year. Apple is also bringing the very same chip to its 2021 iPad Pro tablet lineup.
And that means whether you pay $699 for an entry-level Mac Mini, $799 for an for an entry-level iPad Pro, or $1699 for a top-of-the-line iMac, you’re getting the same processor. It’s a good processor. It outperforms the competition in most benchmarks while consuming less power, and aside from a few app compatibility issues, it supports most macOS and iOS applications. You can even run Windows apps if you buy the latest version of Parallels.
But for years we’ve gotten used to the idea that you have to pay more for a higher-performance version of the latest Intel or AMD processors. Apple has turned that idea on its head. Now you still have to pay more if you want extra memory, storage, or a better display… and you’ll probably have to pay up front, since most of those things are soldered to the motherboard and no longer user upgradable.
But the processor? If you’re buying a Mac or iPad with Apple Silicon, there’s only one option… sort of. Apple does disable a single GPU core in some models, and if you buy a fanless device like the MacBook Air, it won’t offer quite the same level of sustained performance, but it’s still pretty fast.
I doubt this shakeup will lead to any significant change in the x86 space. AMD and Intel will likely continue cranking out a wide range of chips that sell for different price points. Heck, that’s the way ARM-based chip makers like Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek, and Huawei do things too. But since Apple has fewer products to maintain, the company can afford to do things differently.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Apple’s M1 Positioning Mocks the Entire x86 Business Model [ExtremeTech]
Apple now uses the same processor for products ranging from a $699 Mac Mini or $799 iPad Pro to a $1699 iMac. The chip is no longer the differentiating factor. That’s in sharp contrast to how computers with Intel or AMD chips have been sold for decades.
- Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro won’t work with the original $349 Magic Keyboard [The Verge]
Apple’s new 12.9 inch iPad Pro has a mini LED display, an Apple M1 processor, and a body that’s 0.5mm thicker than the previous-gen… and that means it won’t work with the previous-gen Apple Magic Keyboard. So you’ll have to pay $349 for a new one. Update: Apple has clarified that the older Magic Keyboard *will* work with new iPad Pro 12.9 inch tablets, but due to the thicker design of the new tablet, the keyboard “may not precisely fit when closed.”
- Windows Package Manager v0.3 Preview [Windows Command Line Blog]
Windows Package Manger v0.3 released with support for exporting and importing a list of installed packages as a JSON file, support for group policy, and experimental features including List, Upgrade, and Uninstall.
- Apple Must Face Lawsuit for Telling Consumers They Can “Buy” Movies, TV Shows [Hollywood Reporter]
Apple is facing a lawsuit over the use of the word “buy” for movies and TV shows you get from iTunes, when what you actually get is a limited license that can be revoked. Amazon is facing a similar suit over Prime Video “purchases.”
- Open-spec i.MX8M Mini SBC sells for $99 [LinuxGizmos]
MYIR MYS-8MMX is a single-board computer with an NXP i.MX8M Mini processor, support for up to 4GB of RAM, 128GB of eMMC storage, optional NVMe support, Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, ad HDMI. Prices start at $99.
- PinePhone keyboard prototype transforms the Linux phone into a tiny Linux laptop [LinuxSmartphones]
This keyboard case for the Linux-friendly PinePhone should be available later this year for around $50.
- GPD Win 3 shipping update [@softwincn]
GPD Win 3 handheld gaming PC with Intel Tiger Lake processors and Iris Xe graphics are starting to ship to backers of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
- Android overhauls Quick Settings for Android 12 [@kdrag0n and @MishaalRahman]
It looks like Google may give the Quick Settings panel a major design overhaul in Android 12. It hasn’t been confirmed as the new default yet, but expect a big, blocky layout similar to the current Android 11 Power Menu.
I’ve seen evidence that this new UI design is the default in AOSP. Buckle up for a drastically redesigned UI in Android 12!
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) April 23, 2021