One year after Apple introduced its own M1 processor, the ARM revolution is consolidated, but the best is yet to come

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In Spain we had just said goodbye to the state of alert and the period of containment due to COVID-19. On June 22, 2020, Apple offered the inaugural address of its WWDC, and Tim Cook spoke of a “truly historic day”.

The “Apple Silicon” was presented to the company, which was taking its first steps with the Apple M1 SoC which would finally arrive in November on the MacBook Air, Mac mini and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. This was just the start, and as we saw a year later, this particular revolution brought by these chips has only just begun.

Lots of noise and lots of nuts

During those early months, there were huge expectations for chips that wanted to ditch traditional Intel proposals. They were successful in many areas, and in fact, the first Macs based on the Apple M1s demonstrated – both in our reviews and those of reputable media such as AnandTech – that were superior to previous Macs based on theoretically more ambitious processors.

There was great news in many areas, but it highlighted the effectiveness of these teams, making it clear that the ARM architecture made sense not only on mobile phones, but also on desktops and laptops.

Those early kits were just the start, and there hadn’t even been an exterior redesign. These came with the new iMac, also based on the M1. The last to be renewed were the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, but in the latter Apple has given a big twist not only to their design, but also to the chips that govern them.

It was in these laptops that the M1 Pro and M1 Max made their debut, and with them it was clear that Apple had a big advantage in the scalability of these chips: these SoCs These were supercitaminated versions of the M1, and its power and performance made it clear that what is impressive is precisely what is not seen, and not only we said: at AnandTech, they explained how these SoCs have reached “new efficiency and performance levels ”, and although almost all of us have complained about the high price of these machines, if anyone needs power and efficiency, no doubt these teams will meet those needs. .

These latest chips and devices are a wise step for Apple on a path that finally leaves behind the serious mistakes of the past in design decisions – butterfly keyboards, no ports – but this above all, it allows Apple to regain control of its machines– They no longer have to wait for Intel to deliver the right processors for their computers, and they can plan that roadmap without depending on virtually anyone.

This suggests that there are still beautiful things to come: We are already talking about the future MacBook Air or Mac mini, but also a Mac Pro that could integrate SoCs with two or even four times more process and graphics cores than those that this company offers with the M1 Max.

The ARM revolution in PCs and laptops is only believed by Apple (for now)

The funny thing, at least in my opinion, is that other manufacturers haven’t changed their track records by seeing how Apple’s strategy has worked. It’s true that Intel has made a startling bet with its Alder Lake, but the bottom line remains the same and neither it nor AMD seem willing to do so. change the bet and they will continue to focus fully on the x86-64 architecture.

It doesn’t seem likely that we’re going to see anything similar in the Windows world, in fact. It won’t be because there is no one trying: Qualcomm just introduced its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chips, but interest and expectations are in Nuvia – Which is to be expected – and manufacturers like MediaTek or even Samsung, who seem clear that the ARM architecture can reach desktops and laptops.

There are also promising proposals such as those offered by the Open Source RISC-V architectureBut the solutions that have emerged so far are a far cry from what Apple has achieved and are just the start of a long journey. The ARM chips found in Windows computers for ARM are also a long way off, really.

There are a lot of major obstacles here: Microsoft does very well with Windows for x86-64 systems and it does not seem necessary to make any changes, and the same is true with Intel or AMD, which even having to consume more to achieve the same performance as Apple’s SoCs are propositions that remain remarkable for many users.

Tipping the industry towards a hypothetical future with Windows for ARM therefore seems difficult in the short term, but if Apple’s SoCs continue to demonstrate their power and manage to convince more and more users to take the leap, the deal could change. Until it does, if it does, what is clear is that the change in direction Apple has taken with its M1 chips it’s a success a year later.


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