Apple’s new MacBooks and Mac Mini could change PCs as we know them


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On Tuesday, Apple announced its first personal computers powered using chips that are more like those in an iPhone than those in a typical PC. The machines are the $999 13-inch MacBook Air, the $699 Mac Mini and the $1,299 MacBook Pro. That alone is exciting to tech fans, but it’s also a sign of what’s possibly to come, whether you buy a Mac or not. Apple has said it’s going to change the brains of its computers over the next couple of years. Starting with the just-unveiled machines, Apple is going to throw its weight behind its self-made chips.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Typically, people talk about the way Apple's devices look. But this time what matters most is under the hood. Sarah Tew/CNET

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Typically, people talk about the way Apple’s devices look. But this time what matters most is under the hood. Sarah Tew/CNET

Most people may not care about a change to a small chip in their Mac computers, but it could mean big changes for Apple and the tech industry, too. For the past 14 years, Apple has relied on Intel-made chips to power its laptop and desktop computers . Apple has spent more than a decade on research and development, and at least $1 billion buying more than half a dozen companies, to create the M1, a chip similar to those in iPhones and iPads  and that takes on Intel. Now Apple’s first computers powered by the M1 have been made available for preorder and will start shipping next week. 

a close up of a keyboard

© Apple / screenshot

Apple says the M1 is more powerful and energy efficient, allowing for potentially smaller and slimmer designs, longer battery life and new technologies as well.


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“Advancements of this magnitude only come from making bold changes,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during Apple’s event Tuesday. He added that Apple’s own chips will usher in new technologies and “extraordinary battery life” from the computers. “This is exactly why we are transitioning to Mac Apple silicon at Apple,” Cook said.

For Apple, this moment has been more than a decade in the making. The question that’s nagged the company since co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011 is, What comes next? Jobs ushered in the Mac computer, the iMac all-in-one desktop, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Since his death, Apple’s biggest new product has been the Apple Watch , which has turned into an enormous…