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Apple’s new M1 chip, Macs, lack of performance data, and more tech news today

Your Tech News Digest via the DGiT Daily Tech Newsletter for Wednesday November 11th, 2020.

1. Apple’s M1 chip and new M1 Macs

At yesterday’s Apple event, the Arm-based M1 chip was presented as the new Apple silicon chipset and three new Macs were announced that contain hardware that is no longer from Intel: the 13-inch MacBook Air, the 13- Inch MacBook Pro and a surprise Mac Mini. The new Macs look almost identical with a few keyboard changes, and the main promise right now is longer battery life.

To be clear, these are the low-end Macs that are getting a boost:

  • They’ll go on sale next week at more or less the same prices as the current Intel versions.
  • We haven’t seen any reviews from independent sources yet.

That’s the top line.

Let’s dig a little.

Apple's M1 chip

The M1 chip:

Finally, we saw some limited details on the first Apple silicon system-on-a-chip (SoC) for Macs. Based on a 5 nm process with 16B transistors (plus 35% compared to the A14), 8-core CPU (four performance cores, four highly efficient cores), up to 8-core GPU and a 16-core neural Engine.

  • The integrated chipset means buying a new Apple Mac with silicon is more like an iPad: you just choose RAM plus storage size.
  • I was very disappointed that Apple hasn’t given us any real data on what it’s got here with the M1. We only saw glimpses through Apple-tinted glasses and animations.
  • Much of what Apple said has been carefully or even bizarrely framed to look gorgeous. For example, on many occasions it promised up to 5 times better CPU performance or up to 3 times better GPU performance. But the key is that it depends on your reference. As it turns out, Apple publishes the fine print, but that makes comparisons clearly weak.

Here is one of the graphics without X or Y lettering and without a real reference (which “laptop chip”?):

Apple is very bad, not good graphics

  • Apple also introduced idioms like the MacBook Air is “faster than 98% of laptops sold last year,” which is meaningless.
  • The whole point is that Apple doesn’t break down either category or price. The wide range of laptops sold consists of entry-level and budget devices that are simple and focused on battery life. It includes $ 270 laptops, $ 350 laptops, and all low-end laptops that are sold to most people. The average retail price is $ 650.
  • Apple is very careful when choosing its numbers – the MacBook Air costs $ 999. Yes, it should be faster than most PC laptops. Is it faster than $ 999 laptops?
  • Last point: only one of the 50 best-selling PC laptops from Amazon costs more than the MacBook Air. For many people, PCs are not games or pro-creative devices.
  • And the reason I get frustrated is explained in this fabulous deep dive from Anandtech that is as close as we are now about to see the performance of M1: “Apple claims the M1 is the fastest CPU in the world. Given our data on the A14, which surpasses all Intel designs and just barely misses AMD’s latest 5950X Zen3 – a higher clocked Firestorm over 3 GHz, the 50% larger L2 cache, and an unleashed TDP – we can certainly believe Apple and the M1 be able to achieve this goal.
  • Apple’s likely performance and ability to improve its platform over the years look amazingly good and make Intel look amazingly slow.
  • We look forward to independent benchmarks!
  • MacOS Big Sur is also outside tomorrow, November 12th.

Battery, cooling keyboard:

  • Where Apple spoke numbers was the battery. Taking a more holistic approach with Apple silicon and the better efficiency we’ve seen with other arm-based silicon laptops will result in a significant increase in battery life.
  • Apple noted an increase in battery life of 6 to 10 hours while keeping the batteries the same size.
  • The MacBook Air no longer has a fan, only passive cooling and Apple suggest that there should be no performance or heating problems under load. Will it work? Some commentators consider this to be deliberately limiting.
  • Oh, and some of them New MacBook Air function keys have different functions (Twitter).

Omissions?

  • It’s really weird that Apple didn’t incorporate 4G LTE connectivity, just like the iPad range that a lot of people love. Not that Macs have done this in the past, but arm-based chipsets and modems are the be-all and end-all of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. It makes too much sense.
  • I guarantee Apple will do this at some point. Perhaps it wanted to offer the corresponding device first and later add more functions and complexity to its range in future updates.
  • Apple hasn’t released a touchscreen version for Mac either, although it has been found that apps written for iOS / iPadOS will now run on macOS Big Sur with Apple silicon hardware.
  • The M1 Macs do not support external GPUs (Engadget).

Ask:

  • Massive question: what’s the difference between the new MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro? Apple has not clarified this, but the Air has a 7-core GPU, the Pro 8 cores and a “USB-C power connector” on the Pro. Apart from that, the air is lighter and thinner, the Pro heavier. That gives the Pro two hours of better battery life, it has a fan, it has a touch bar, louder speakers, better microphones … and the screen can get 100 nits brighter? It just seems like the differences here make the Pro better, but $ 300 better?
  • Oh man, I can’t wait to make comparisons.
  • More serious questions. Apple charges the full price for a transitional product here.
  • The fact remains to charge high-end prices for non-native performance for almost every app that does not make it itself. Does every app ever run? Apple’s developer notes mention that the emulator doesn’t support every Intel extension.
  • I’m sure apps like Firefox or Airmail or LastPass will work. But it’s the one-man developer apps that may have problems.
  • Apple only offers a maximum of 16 GB of RAM with this list, which indicates limitations (The Verge).

Fun:

  • Apple brought back the Mac startup sound created by Jim Reekes.
  • And it brought back the ad man “I’m a PC” (TechCrunch). But it didn’t bring Justin Long back curious.

What Qualcomm says:

Despite its legal entanglements with modems over the past few years, Qualcomm has been sort of an ally for Apple, and the San Diego company sees Apple’s arm-based desktop chips as a catalyst for real change that it would benefit from.

  • “We are very excited about your announcement as we believe this confirms the journey we have been on for a few years. They recognize that arm is a significant ecosystem and that PCs are no longer just x86, ”said a company representative.
  • “We know they’ll be doing a lot of the same things Qualcomm started a few years ago. Driving innovation in form factors, thin and light, battery life, etc. “

But Qualcomm has pointed out issues it has seen itself with its arm-based chips, and these are with Legacy apps:

  • “It is good to have emulators to connect the old ecosystem to the new ecosystem, but you will have challenges,” said a company official when asked by the Android Authority.
  • “There is a lot of very poorly written, old software out there. And the emulators don’t solve any of that. As you can imagine over the past few years, turning them off one by one is like a punch in the mouth. “

Still, Apple could be the spark that gets app development going – the Qualcomm manager also noted he’d spoken to app developers who questioned Arm’s long-term viability in PCs. But these developers are now trying to “take Arm seriously” after Apple’s move.


2. Get a free Stadia Premiere Edition bundle – YouTube Premium members in the US / UK only. I paid for it, so what you get for free is pretty solid business. To update: This could come to Canada and some parts of Europe on Nov 16 – you heard about it here first (Android Authority).


3. Google Nest Thermostat Rating: Affordable Excellence (Android Authority).


4. Google adds native Android support for ultra broadband for smarter item trackers and car keys (Android Authority).


5. Oculus Venues brings Fox Sports boxing events to VR (Engadget).


6. MediaTek Dimensity 700 Announced: Cheap Phones Get More 5G (Android Authority) Love.


7. Leica’s newest is a gorgeous black and white machine for a cool $ 6,000 (Gizmodo).


8. HTC sales almost halved in the last month (Taipei Times).


9. The TikTok ban is tomorrow. Yeah, um, and TikTok says the Trump administration forgot to ban it and would like to know what’s going on. Like us! (The Verge).


10. Mysterious bugs have been used to hack iPhones and Android phones and nobody is going to talk about them (Vice).


11. Microsoft engineer given nine years for stealing $ 10 million from Microsoft. Bitcoin couldn’t help but hide its traces (Ars Technica).


12. The more expensive PlayStation 5 drive is well worth the extra money (wired).


13. Hyundai is said to have been in talks about the purchase of Boston Dynamics. A robot dog with a car engine showing up? (TechCrunch).


14. How to see the Northern Taurids space meteor shower peak this week (Space).


15.Astronomers conclude that Jupiter’s moon Europa is likely to glow in the dark thanks to radiation (Nasa / JPL)


16. “Deaf from Reddit, what’s the equivalent of having a song in your head?” (r / askreddit).


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