Tim Cook and the team at Apple are rightly proud of the M1 processor’s specifications. Announced to the world last week alongside a new Mac Mini and two new MacBooks, the geekerati are looking forward to confirming Apple’s almost fantastical claims.
But consumers looking to purchase a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro should take note that these laptops are at the cutting edge of new technology. They come with a number of serious risks, including the new hardware design, the introduction of a vital emulation layer in software, and the lack of innovation.
First up is the simple fact the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops are based on not only the new M1 ARM-based processor, but also a redesign of all the internals on the machine to accommodate this change. Laying out laptop components is as much an art as it is a science. I doubt there will be any issues with the design of the circuitry, but it would not be a first for Apple if there were to be issues; I offer the iPhone 6’s bendgate as an example.
If you are looking to pick up one of the new models no matter what, I would suggest waiting a few weeks to let the eager beavers find out if there are any showstoppers in the design.
Then you have the M1 processor. No matter the rigours that Apple will have put this chip though, it will not be as large and as extensive as the moment the machines arrive in public hands. The design does need to be validated in the field, although the lineage of the M1 stretching back through Apple’s Axx series of chips in the iPhone and iPad families gives me the confidence that the chip will work.
It’s the software that needs to be put through the wringer. Apple has promised that the legacy applications originally coded for the Intel Macs will all ‘just work’ on the M1 Macs. Given Apple pulled 32-bit support from MacOS Catalina last year that as reduced the number of apps that it has to support, but fine words from Apple and less than a paragraph in the final presentation does nothing to back up the emulation claims.
If your key application does not run on the M1 Macs, or runs under emulation in such a way as…