Apple launches MacBook laptops powered by its own computer chips

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc AAPL.O on Tuesday showcased a MacBook Air laptop and other machines with its first mainframe designed in-house for Macs, a move that will bring its computers and iPhones closer technologically.

The new chip, called M1, marks a change from Intel Corp INTC.O technology that drove the electronic brains of Mac computers for nearly 15 years.

That’s a godsend for Apple computers, which are eclipsed by the company’s iPhone but still rack up tens of billions of dollars in sales per year. Apple is hoping developers will now create families of apps that work on both its computers and phones.

The MacBook Air will start at $ 999, the same as its predecessor, and have up to twice the battery life, Apple said. The M1 will also power the MacBook Pro laptop, which starts at $ 1,299, and its $ 699 Mac Mini, which comes without a monitor.

The new products will be available from next week, executives said.

Apple shares rose about 0.2% by the end of the event.

Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, estimated that Apple would save between $ 150 and $ 200 per chip using its own mainframe processors. “We haven’t seen Apple add expensive features,” he said. “They go with a much higher margin.”


In June, Apple announced that it would start equipping Macs with its own chips, building on its ten years of experience designing processors for its iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.

Apple executives said Tuesday that the M1 is designed to be efficient and fast, to improve battery life, and that Apple’s latest version of its operating system is processor-friendly.

“This announcement underscores how important high-performance custom processor designs will be in leading the next generation of customer computing,” said Jon Carvill, vice president of Nuvia, a data center chip company founded by former Apple executives. “We believe a similar trend is emerging in the future of the data center as well. “

Apple executives have made numerous performance claims against previous generations of Macs and Windows laptops, virtually all of which are based on Intel chips, although Apple did not directly name Intel.

“We believe that Intel-powered PCs, such as those based on 11th Generation Intel Core mobile processors, provide customers around the world with the best experience in the areas they value most, as well as the most popular platform. more open to developers, today and tomorrow. Intel said in a statement.

Apple’s phone chips are based on computer architecture technology from UK-based Arm Ltd, which is manufactured by outside partners such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. 2330.TW.

Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Qualcomm Corp QCOM.O have worked together for four years to bring Arm-based Windows laptops to market, with major manufacturers such as Lenovo Group Ltd 0992.HK, Asustek Computer 2357.TW and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS offering machines.

But for Microsoft and Apple, the real test will be software developers. Apple is hoping that the massive group of iPhone developers will embrace the new Macs, which share a common 64-bit Arm computing architecture with the iPhone and can use similar apps.

Apple software chief Craig Federighi said Adobe Inc ADBE.O would bring its Photoshop software to the new M1-based Macs early next year.

“The app ecosystem and battery life are probably the two things people will gravitate towards,” said Ben Bajarin, senior analyst for consumer market intelligence at Creative Strategies.

Apple experienced a boom in Mac sales due to the coronavirus pandemic, hitting a record fourth fiscal quarter Mac sales of $ 9 billion earlier this month – all Intel-based. In June, chief executive Tim Cook said Apple would continue to support these devices for “years to come,” but did not specify an end-of-life date.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Peter Henderson in Oakland; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Rosalba O’Brien

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