Apple’s chips are on the table

Apple’s transition to its own processors is nearly complete. The company’s recent spring event saw the debut of the Mac Studio and its M1 Ultra processor — its most powerful piece of silicon yet. But it also revealed what the future of Apple’s computers could look like.

For the first time, all of Apple’s chips are on the table.

The first crucial takeaway is that Apple is now a force to be reckoned with when it comes to chips (if it wasn’t already). The incredibly positive reception for the first wave of M1 computers, along with the similar success of its M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro laptops last year, established the company’s bona fides. But the M1 Ultra saw Apple take its biggest swing yet, with what it boasts is the “world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer.”

These chips are already becoming selling points for computers. Buying a Mac isn’t just about getting Apple’s software or aesthetic design anymore — it’s about getting the kind of performance and battery life no one else is offering.

Apple fired shots at Intel’s top-tier processor, the Core i9-12900K, claiming a 90 percent improvement from its M1 Ultra in multi-threaded performance at the same power level and the ability to match Intel’s best numbers while using 100W less power. The company took a similar victory lap over Nvidia’s RTX 3090 GPU, which Apple claims to beat out in performance while drawing 200W less power. (Obviously, we’ll be looking to test those numbers for ourselves in the coming days and weeks). The Apple Silicon transition isn’t an experiment anymore — it’s Apple’s future and one that PC manufacturers will have to pay attention to going forward.

How many times can Apple double it?
Image: Apple

Next, there’s the way that Apple is building out its chips. Right now, Apple has four different models of its Arm-based M1 chips, which blur the line between product form factors in a way that we don’t usually see from semiconductors. Apple has been taking a different approach — instead of building chips for specific devices, Apple has effectively built just one…