Review Apple MacBook Air M1 (late 2020) review: A computing revolution

Nov 17, 2020
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If a website rather general than focused on Apple says that, it shall be true.

-Even owning an old Intel- and Nvidia-based MacBook Pro of mid-2014, I realised that my computer is much more reactive, except somehow on start, but much more during live work, on the continuation.

Restart on Bootcamp (now called EFI Boot - only available on Intel Macs, now) however fails: I have to shut down completely, and start Windows 10 after having waited after the EFI network searching. That's the sole, and minor, bug.

Even my old Intel Mac, not only is more reactive, but effectively, manifestly more battery-efficient.

It seems that they made the new OS focused on actual processes, rather than background constant processes. My web-cam and microphone blockers (third-part applications) made 3 minutes to launch with start on X.15 Catalina, without the possibility to launch other applications and not even the WiFi.

Now, they load in an instant.

The counterpart, is that, as it is seemingly focused on actually exploited processes, the new Mac OS 11 Big Sur sometimes is slower to launch manually an application or sometimes to change of window, but it is a question of 2 or 3 seconds by some occurrences or others.

And knowing that the new Apple Silicon configuration beats every price-comparable configuration (what I think), it sounds like they married perfectly the new operating system with the material. Even more than before.
 

varase

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Oct 29, 2016
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Most people are looking at these first Apple Silicon Macs wrong - these aren't Apple's powerhouse machines: they're simply the annual spec bump of the low end Apple computers with DCI-P3 displays, Wifi 6, and new the Apple Silicon M1 SoC.

They have the same limitations as the machines they replace - 16 GB RAM and two Thunderbolt ports.

These are the machines you give to a teacher or a lawyer or an accountant - folks who need a decently performing machine who don't want to lug around a huge powerhouse machine (or pay for one for that matter). They're still marketed at the same market segment, though they now have a vastly expanded compute power envelope.

The real powerhouses will probably come next year with the M1x (or whatever). Apple has yet to decide on an external memory interconnect and multichannel PCIe scheme, if they decide to move in that direction.

Other CPU and GPU vendors and OEM computer makers take notice - your businesses are now on limited life support. These new Apple Silicon models can compete up through the mid-high tier of computer purchases, and if as I expect Apple sells a ton of these many will be to your prime (most profitable) customers.

In fact, I suspect that Apple - once they recover their R&D costs - will be pushing the prices of these machines lower while still maintaining their margins - while competing computer makers will still have to pay Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and nVidea for their expensive processors, whereas Apple's cost goes down the more they manufacture. Competing computer makers may soon be demanding lower processo prices from the above manufacturers so they can more readily compete against these models.

I believe the biggest costs for a chip fab are startup costs - no matter what processor vendors would like you to believe. Design and fab startup are expensive - but once you start getting decent yields, the additional costs are silicon wafers and QA. The more of these units Apple can move, the lower the per unit cost and the better the profits.
 
Nov 17, 2020
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Hi,
Most people are looking at these first Apple Silicon Macs wrong - these aren't Apple's powerhouse machines: they're simply the annual spec bump of the low end Apple computers with DCI-P3 displays, Wifi 6, and new the Apple Silicon M1 SoC.
To this day, standard benchmarks shows that the MacBook Air M1 has the same power as as contemporary Intel MacBook Pro. This is not me who says that, but independent testers, implementing standard tests.

They have the same limitations as the machines they replace - 16 GB RAM and two Thunderbolt ports.

These are the machines you give to a teacher or a lawyer or an accountant - folks who need a decently performing machine who don't want to lug around a huge powerhouse machine (or pay for one for that matter). They're still marketed at the same market segment, though they now have a vastly expanded compute power envelope.

The real powerhouses will probably come next year with the M1x (or whatever). Apple has yet to decide on an external memory interconnect and multichannel PCIe scheme, if they decide to move in that direction.

Other CPU and GPU vendors and OEM computer makers take notice - your businesses are now on limited life support. These new Apple Silicon models can compete up through the mid-high tier of computer purchases, and if as I expect Apple sells a ton of these many will be to your prime (most profitable) customers.
The point about same limitations and the "RAM" same size of 16 Go is almost true. The conception of Apple Silicon is-as a bigger iPhone processor. Remember: you can nowadays play some games on iPhones which were barely playable on a mid-high laptops or even computers 3 or 4 years ago. Apple Silicon is said to do more with less power*, and it seems to be true, as, on iPhone, you have no fans, typically.
I don't believe in any external memory. Because the electrical linkage would then constitute a slow bottle-neck, suffering notably form the Joules effect, with an electrical resistance to the current, which increases proportionally to the length.
It's not about CPU vs GPU, and not even about "RAM". The Apple Silicon, if I do not mistake, is both CPU and GPU, hence all the circuits which linked a CPU with a GPU on the old machines, air almost more here anymore (except considering the angstrom-sized transistors in themselves), and hence, the latency for the communication between them (and occasionally the Joules effect, but it is counterbalanced with more difficult thermal dissipation), the latency, I wrote, will be incredibly decreased.
Their unified memory replacing the "RAM" shall act the same on its part.

I won't bet that I can run Flight Simulator on M1 which has not the raw ideal specification, but if Windows 10 will be available for Apple Silicon Bootcamp in 1 year (this is not the case in 2020, but the cruise speed on Apple Silicon is planed for 2021, and Microsoft was told to "work hard" to us), we might have surprises even on lower raw specifications, due to the better inter-communication between the components.

In fact, I suspect that Apple - once they recover their R&D costs - will be pushing the prices of these machines lower while still maintaining their margins - while competing computer makers will still have to pay Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and nVidea for their expensive processors, whereas Apple's cost goes down the more they manufacture. Competing computer makers may soon be demanding lower processo prices from the above manufacturers so they can more readily compete against these models.
When Apple was near the failure thank to the copied Windows 95, nobody noticed it; interesting. (And Apple was winning a complaint against Microsoft, who warned about to stop Office if the complaint continued; that's why it stopped).
I don't see why Apple should suddenly care about the concurrency. Intel is maybe an old (hi-)story in 5 years. The neo-liberal model standing for some decades in evolved lands, should suddenly stops for Apple... Pretty innocent.
Since they conceive their material (too), no reason not-to make benefits on it
.

I believe the biggest costs for a chip fab are startup costs - no matter what processor vendors would like you to believe. Design and fab startup are expensive - but once you start getting decent yields, the additional costs are silicon wafers and QA. The more of these units Apple can move, the lower the per unit cost and the better the profits.
Also notice that the new Apple Silicon is not only for benefits, and not of any scam on the customer.
It is not always said, but the planet would have some years before an irreversible heating.
New less-consuming machines are not the sole solution by far. But if you multiply a gain of maybe 30 watts pro machine, multiplied by 4 billions or more, it makes a saving form some additional carbon dioxyde in the air.
 
Dec 19, 2020
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The M1 does not support dual monitors, so it's a major regression from the Intel versions previously available.

I'm not sure how much Apple paid all these reviewers -- I haven't seen a single review yet that points out this fatal flaw in the new generation. Or was Apple not honest with reviewers when describing the specs?

I recommend that all reviewers update with a strong warning that these laptops don't work if you need 2 external displays (like most of us who work from home and care about productivity). My old MacBook Air supported two independent 4K monitors. The new M1 machines (both Air and Pro) are junk that dropped this support.
 
Jan 16, 2021
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Never had two external monitors and I have no idea why I should. For now I work with MacBook Airs display only. And it is perfectly fine.

Most of mac users don't need many displays. And low end macs are low end hardware for regular users. Real pro models are coming later. And real pro users don't buy stuff after few months of release. Because unmature hardware is not good for productivity. No use for tons of displays if software is crashing.

M1 chip macs are perfectly fine for people the are designed for. Real pro's will wait anyway.
 
Mar 9, 2021
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The M1 does not support dual monitors, so it's a major regression from the Intel versions previously available.

I'm not sure how much Apple paid all these reviewers -- I haven't seen a single review yet that points out this fatal flaw in the new generation. Or was Apple not honest with reviewers when describing the specs?

I recommend that all reviewers update with a strong warning that these laptops don't work if you need 2 external displays (like most of us who work from home and care about productivity). My old MacBook Air supported two independent 4K monitors. The new M1 machines (both Air and Pro) are junk that dropped this support.
I understand what you're saying - I held off buying the M1 for the same reason. Then I realized I had a solution already. I use an LG 29" ultra-wide monitor that I bought for $159. It works great for splitting the screen with enough screen real estate to get some real work done. I usually have our accounting program, Excel, Outlook, Teams, Finder, and Safari running between the LG and the Air's own screen. Switching them out is super efficient using Mission Control and Hot Corners. So until Apple updates the M1s for multiple monitor support, I can tell you this is a great workaround.
 
Mar 18, 2021
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"I'm not sure how much Apple paid all these reviewers"
"The new M1 machines (both Air and Pro) are junk that dropped this support."

Whilst I understand that this machine is one that doesn't suit your needs, I strongly object to the statements you made that I have quoted above.

If you have clear and indisputable evidence that Apple has paid "these reviewers", then you ought to provide both an identification of just which reviewers it is to which you refer and details of the evidence that proves your allegation. If you cannot do that then you are simply defaming the company and maligning the integrity of both Apple and "these reviewers".

The fact that the new M1 machines don't meet your specific needs is neither evidence for nor justification to decry them as "junk". They very obviously are not such but are quality machines that will more than satisfy buyers within the market category and price level at which they are aimed.

That a Boeing 777-8 has a maximum seating capacity of 384 whilst the 777-200 can seat up to 440, does not make the 777-8, 'junk'. However, it may make the smaller capacity aircraft unsuitable for an airline that requires a greater seating capacity. Exactly the same logic applies to your unwarranted and unnecessarily disparaging criticism of the M1 Macbook.

[No, I am neither an Apple employee nor in any way connected with the company, suppliers of its products or suppliers to it. I simply believe that criticism ought to be accurate, evidenced and polite. When not so it is simply uninformed opinion and therefore, in my opinion, of little value to anyone. Were I a moderator, I would return it for re-writing or retracting because there is already a massive over-supply of poor content on the Internet which only serves to waste bandwidth and make it harder to find and focus on that which is worthwhile.
 
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