Apple’s M1 chip saved the MacBook, but it must win the favor of professional users


Tencent technology news on October 19: in the past five years, it has been difficult for people to become super users of Apple computers. The glorious years brought by retina MacBook Pro have long disappeared. In recent years, Apple has made too many compromises and too few ports on computers.
Although Apple’s first computers using self-developed chip M1 perform well, their power consumption is relatively low. MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, mac mini and IMAC are the cheapest computers produced by apple, which means that they are more used to view e-mail, write articles and occasionally minor photo editing than to make 4K video or Photoshop projects hundreds of layers deep.
This situation will change with the release of the new high-end MacBook Pro model, which will be Apple’s largest laptop upgrade in years. The new MacBook Pro provides apple with an opportunity to regain the support of professional users. These users are disappointed that the bland laptops released by the company for several cycles have not been fully served.
Apple’s last major upgrade to the MacBook Pro was in 2016, but it also made several mistakes: it removed the SD card slot, HDMI interface and usb-a port (which are essential tools for photographers, video editors, musicians and other professionals) and used only usb-c. In addition, Apple has added a basically useless touch bar instead of a reliable function key. Of course, there is an extremely fragile keyboard, which is easy to break when it comes into contact with dust or debris.
Later models tried to solve some of these complaints, prompting apple to finally restore the old keyboard and add a physical exit key to the newer MacBook Pro, but the overall design of Apple’s most powerful device still pays more attention to appearance. As a professional Mac user, life on the MAC means dealing with too many tasks, buying new cables, and constantly looking for SD card adapters to import files. At the same time, Apple has installed processors that are years behind windows devices on higher priced computers, and the screen has not changed substantially since 2012.
Hardcore users have been waiting for some time, especially compared with Apple’s last chip conversion. When Apple first announced that it would transition its entire product lineup to Apple silicon products in 2020 instead of Intel chips that have been used since the last major architecture conversion in 2005, the company announced a two-year goal that all products should switch to self-developed chips.
Now, a year later, only Apple’s weakest devices have changed. If you want a more powerful laptop or desktop, you can still buy old models with Intel processors. Although these models still don’t have apple silicon hardware, they haven’t updated new Intel hardware for more than a year and a half.
The most powerful 16 inch MacBook Pro you can buy now is equipped with the 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor in early 2019. Mac users not only missed the 11th generation tiger Lake chip released earlier this year, which brought intergenerational changes to battery life and performance. They didn’t even get a milder upgrade of Intel’s 10th generation chip in 2020.
Compare the slow transition to Apple silicon with Apple’s initial transition to Intel processors, which is significantly faster. Apple announced the decision to switch to Intel processors in June 2005, released the first batch of MACS equipped with Intel processors in January 2006, and switched the whole product line of Mac Pro to Intel processors in August 2006. The whole transition period was only 8 months.
From release to sale, apple successfully switched its entire product lineup to Intel processors in just over a year. However, on Apple silicon, we have entered this transition period for one year, and there are still many key and outstanding issues. At present, M1 chip only provides integrated GPU, and there is no independent graphics card option, which can be used for graphics intensive tasks, such as video editing or tasks that may be required by graphics designers. Apple does not sell M1 devices with more than 16 GB of memory, nor does it provide laptops with more than two USB4 / thunderbolt 4 ports. These are problems that Apple may have to solve in some way on machines that focus on professional technology.
In addition, if Apple fails to turn the success of its M1 chip into a more powerful machine, Intel is still ready and willing to try to fill this gap. Pat Gelsinger, chief executive of Intel, recently said: “I have never given up anything that doesn’t use Intel chips. Apple thinks they can make better chips than us, and they do quite well. So what I want to do is to develop better chips than them, and I will strive for Apple’s business.”
In theory, latency is good: developers have a full year to transition their applications to Apple’s M1 architecture. Key creative applications such as Microsoft office, Adobe Photoshop, illustrator, InDesign, premiere and Lightroom have been natively transplanted to Apple’s new chip, and these updates took months to launch.
In addition, turning to Apple’s independently developed chips may not only mean the performance and speed improvement enjoyed by users on the company’s weaker machines. This may also mean that the slow pace of MAC processor upgrades is coming to an end. After adopting Intel chips, Apple computers almost generally lag behind windows based competitors, and it will take months or even years to upgrade to Intel’s latest chips.

Apple will take the opportunity of the new chip to launch a new design for its MacBook Pro Series, including larger and better Mini LED display, smaller frame, more ports, and even an independent magnetic MagSafe charger. These changes will not only modernize the product line and bring it closer to windows competitors, but also reverse many of the more controversial aspects of the touch bar era.
With the advent of the first apple silicon Mac, Apple has proved that it can make the best laptop for most people. However, Apple’s new MacBook Pro is not only to win the support of professional users, but also an opportunity to prove that apple chips can not only compare with the achievements made by Intel and AMD in using x86 in high-end applications over the years, but also surpass them.
If Apple can succeed in this area, it will not only mean that it will launch better laptops or desktops, but may also change the way we fundamentally look at computer design in the future. (reviewed by Tencent technology / Jinlu)