Apple Silicon is the newest and latest System on a Chip (SoC) developed by Apple. It uses ARM architecture, which was also the basis of the Snapdragon series of processors by Qualcomm. Such chips were previously used in iPhones and iPads and were highly acclaimed. Here is all you need to know about Apple's latest.
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With the launch of the processor at WWDC, fans wondered why not release it with the new Mac, in the September event later that year. The most obvious reason is to give developers time to adapt to the new hardware. The conference was for "Developers" therefore they would need time to make new software catering to the changes.
Thus, by the time the chip is made available for consumer products, there will already be a lot of support for it. Apple has provided developers with a model for this, which resembles a Mac Mini and is available for $500 as a rentable product. The device will aid in the development of new software.
However, there is a much more symbolic reason as to why the Silicon was released right now. One of the other launches is of the Big Sur operating systems for the Mac. It's one of the most significant updates in a while and is a complete redesign. By releasing both these products alongside one another, Apple is telling the world that it's changing.
The Mac platform will evolve into something vastly different yet very similar. These subtle differences add up to form a superior user experience while keeping the core of it the same. This way, users don't have a difficult time getting used to the new changes, while simultaneously enjoying the improvements.
Developer Transition Kit
The new processor is available for developers to test out and use for software development. It will be available in a Mac Mini casing with Big Sur's developer beta. It comes with 16GB memory, a 512GB SSD and the A12Z chip. This is the same but slightly updated processor as on the 2019 iPad Pro, so we can expect the performance to be even better.
It's not the first time such a product has been available. In WWDC 2005, Steve Jobs announced the original developers kit, which was for the Intel based chips. That one was available to rent at double the cost - $1,000. Most of the information available is either directly from Apple or found from the 2020 kit. Thereby, the final product will be better than what we currently know.
We can use the resources currently available to determine how powerful the new Silicon is compared to current laptops. The A12Z is used in the latest iPad Pros, which are powerful in their own right. Its performance is comparable to the base 2017 and 2018 Macbook Pros. These laptops are more than capable enough to fulfill most people's needs nowadays.
Since the new processors will utilize higher-grade hardware, with better airflow and more energy-providing capabilities, we can safely assume that they will have better performance than the iPad. But that is not its full capability.
The Developer Transition Kit is a more realistic example of how a silicon-based Mac device will perform and the new chips are on par with the latest Macbook Air. Therefore they have a similar performance to the latest and greatest by Intel. However, all these tests were on Geekbench, which is a CPU and GPU scoring software. It doesn't natively support such processors, and so the tests ran through emulation resulting in lower scores than if it were.
Moreover, Apple has yet to make this product publicly available. They will be making some improvements to the Developer Transition Kit. All this means that the new Silicon chips will be faster than if Apple had gone with Intel and will eventually benefit the consumer.
Apple is known to overprice its products. It's not the actual device you're paying for, but the experience and luxury. It won't be surprising if Apple launches its new Mac lineup for the same price or even more.
In the past, most computers, including Macs, have used Core processors from Intel, who almost have a monopoly on the market. Such companies can get away with grossly overcharging their consumers because they're the only ones who are providing such services. Recently, AMD has provided some competition, but its impact isn't significant enough for Intel to lower their prices.
Apple, on the other hand, is making its own chips now and therefore, it can reduce the cost of the final product. The question is, will Apple do so? One might say that they have a terrible history of overpricing, so they will continue the trend. On the other hand, looking at their recent releases such as the iPhone SE and 11, we can see that Apple has realized that pricing products attractively is also essential.
It's only a tech enthusiast who cares for all the technicalities. The average user just wants a great experience. They want to have a similar feel to what was previously available and many are afraid that the new software and hardware changes will be complicated for customers and even developers to adapt.
Luckily, Apple has a solution for that as well. Rosetta 2 is software that will help run any other program on the new devices, without any support issues. It will take the burden off developers to rush compatible application fixes, and consumers will get the apps that they want.