Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2022-11-11

The first Apple Silicon Macs with the M1 chip were introduced two years ago. The MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13″ and Mac mini all kept the same enclosure designs as their Intel-based predecessors, but the chips inside were the largest change for the Mac platform since the Intel transition in 2006.

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At the JNUC conference earlier this year, I noticed that there were no chains of powerstrips running through the audience areas of the presentation rooms. You couldn’t charge your laptop or tablet in the sessions and nobody seemed to be bothered by this. Just this week I ran my MacBook Air M2 and my iPad Air on battery for two days before I bothered looking for my power supply. I still had enough power to run them for the rest of day, which was a good thing, since I realized I still had the US power plug from aforementioned trip to JNUC on my power supply.

Even though they seem to merely sip power, the new chips aren’t slouches either. Apple has had an exceptional position in power/performance ratio in the phone and tablet space, and now, unsurprisingly, Apple laptops are in this position, as well.

For desktop computers, where power use is not quite such a priority, the M1 Max and Ultra configurations provide astounding capability. The only Mac line that has not yet transitioned to Apple Silicon is the Mac Pro. Given the connectivity and expandability of the Mac Pro, it is not suprising this is the last model to transition. The Mac Studio hints at what might be possible, but we will have to wait and see. I could be ungenerous and point out that Apple missed their self-imposed two-year time line of transistioning to Apple Silicon, but honestly, with all the supply chain challenges and other world events that happened since then, it is an amazing achievement to be where they are now.

Apple Silicon is one of the reasons Apple has been the only computer vendor to show growth in the last quarter.

Another amazing aspect of the transition is how smooth it was on the software side. macOS ran without issues from the days of the Developer Kit. This was Apple’s third processor transition in as many decades and you could tell. Rosetta on Apple silicon provides amazing performance for the software that hasn’t been compiled for Apple silicon yet and it is fairly straightforward for vendors and developers to provide native and unverisal binaries. Even though some developers, especially those building electron-based apps, still don’t seem to understand the concept of universal apps.

Apple now has reached their goal of controlling the entire package, or at least the most important parts. They design and build the hardware, the interfaces, the silicon, the software, and many of the services that connect the device to the net and to other devices.

PowerPC was the core for Macs for 12 years. Intel chips lasted for 14 years. I am looking forward to what happens in the next 12-15 years.

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