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Apple’s latest MacBook Pros exceed the competition

Apple's latest MacBook Pros exceed the competition
Apple's latest MacBook Pros exceed the competition

Apple’s latest MacBook Pros exceed the competition. In all my years of covering Apple, I’ve never seen a change this significant for the Mac. Since I began covering Apple’s business in 1999, I’ve seen Apple go to great lengths to illustrate the benefits of each generation of the old G-series Macs.

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models exceed the competition

I was impressed with the performance boosts the Mac received with the Intel CPU. But what about this? This is something entirely new.

The best notebooks in the world

Apple unveiled its all-new MacBook Pro series at its Unleashed event on October 18. The new systems, which are available in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes, are powered by the company’s proprietary M1 Max and M1 Pro processors, which are based on the M1 System on a Chip (SoC) released last year.

Apple claims that these Macs deliver GPU performance comparable to the best available high-end PC laptop while using an incredible 100 watts less electricity. Benedict Evans (no relation) discovered that these new Macs will include a processor with twice as many transistors as all of the CPUs supplied by the business in 1984. With a battery life of up to 21 hours.

This means you can take these powerful devices everywhere, engage in the most demanding computing work, and there’s a good possibility you’ll still have enough power to make a FaceTime call (via the much-improved webcam) to a family before settling back to watch Fundamentals on the way home.

If you really need a quick power boost, the new Macs enable Fast Charging, which allows you to charge them to 50% capacity in only 30 minutes. For business travelers, that’s just enough time to grab a bite to eat and a refreshing drink at the airport lounge while waiting for your flight. Fast Charge capability will be crucial in various instances for employees working in the most demanding situations.

The nicest thing about modern Macs, though, is their performance, not their battery life.

Reprising just some of the data

During Apple’s event, I gathered the following information:

  • The new 5nm chips outperform the M1 chip by up to 70% in terms of CPU performance.
  • The GPU in the M1 Pro is up to twice as fast as the GPU in the M1. The M1 Max is four times faster.
  • You can get up to 8TB of storage and 64GB of memory.
  • The M1 Max has a 10-core CPU, whereas the M1 Pro has an 8-core or 10-core CPU.
  • M1 Pro has up to a 16-core GPU and the M1 Max has up to a 32-core GPU.
  • The M1 Pro has a memory bandwidth of up to 200GB/s and the M1 Max has a memory bandwidth of up to 400GB/s.
  • Both processors have a Neural Engine with 16 cores.
  • The Pro can accommodate up to two external screens, while the Max can support up to four.

TL;DR? With these CPUs, Apple has surpassed Intel and AMD.

“The introduction of Apple Silicon has given the MacBook portfolio a boost, and today’s announcement demonstrates Apple’s commitment to accelerate the growth of its laptop business,” said Ben Wood, CMO, and Chief Analyst at CCS Insight. “The performance of the M1 processor in current MacBook devices is a strong endorsement of Apple’s investment in bespoke silicon.” The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips take this to new heights, with improved performance and battery life.”

The 14-inch variants cost $1,999 or $2,499 and are equipped with the M1 Pro microprocessor. For an additional $700, you can install an M1 Max chip.

The 16-inch variants range in price from $2,499 to $3,499. There are two M1 Pro configurations available, as well as one with the M1 Max. There are numerous build-to-order alternatives, but for an additional $400, you can install a high-end M1 Max in the entry-level machine.

You can read Apple’s press releases here and here, as well as its tech content here.

A tremendous improvement

But I don’t see the point in repeating too much information that can be found elsewhere.

That data will confirm what I’m saying now: These Macs are the most astonishing update I’ve seen from Apple (and the Mac Pro is still on the way, so…), and nothing on the market competes with them when you consider up-front prices and TCO. I’m open to being corrected, but I believe this is what we’re going to find out.

A Liquid Retina XDR display is also included.

Never let that data point pass you by – it effectively means Apple has just installed one of those $40,000+ reference panels inside a laptop Mac that costs a fraction of that. (As a point of comparison, Apple debuted the 32-inch Pro Display XDR alongside the Mac Pro at WWDC in June 2019.) I observed maybe six tens of thousands of dollar reference display systems side by side. I know how good Apple’s Pro Display XDR is in comparison because I’ve seen them.)

It’s now in a Mac that you can carry under one arm.

(I can’t guarantee that the screen brightness is equal because we haven’t seen the comparisons yet.)

Raising the standard

Don’t misunderstand me. The Intel i9 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019 also blew me away. “Absolutely the most capable Apple notebook I’ve ever used,” I said. So it’s worth noting that these new Mac iterations outperform those computers in terms of graphic performance.

That isn’t only for video games. Enterprise customers will take advantage of these Macs’ capabilities in areas ranging from machine learning to high-end graphics creation, scientific research to computational physics.

Does anybody really remember when Steve Jobs defended the Xserve and hailed the machine’s 15 gigaflops of performance? The M1 Macs already provide us with many times that much. The M1 Max and Pro go above and beyond.

What’s the bottom line? Enterprise users should be aware that if they need to get some work done, these Macs are more than capable of doing so. Most likely for the next few years. Because you see, when you pimp out a product with this much power, efficiency, and performance, you’re also future-proofing the investment.

I expect that these Macs will have a strong second-user future for many years to come because they will still be better to use than most entry-level PCs in five or more years.

In the future

Apple recently introduced new Macs that, on paper, promise a significant increase in power and performance. As a result, anyone using software designed for the new CPUs should see immediate productivity gains from these workstations.

“These products add to Apple’s biggest hardware cycle in approximately a decade (with iPhone 13 leading the pack) and represent a huge growth stimulus for the story heading into 2022,” said Preferred analyst Daniel Ives, as reported by PED30.

We don’t know how well these systems will operate in the real world because no one has one yet (*sigh*), and I doubt many people outside of Apple do. We don’t know if these systems will outperform high-end PC desktops, but we believe they will. We’ll have to wait for the results of those real-world performance testing.

The 10 percent increase in AAPL stock price as analysts look at these Mac beasts and envision Big Mac Sales ahead is maybe the most instant endorsement for this event.

According to what we’ve heard, these Macs represent a quantum leap in performance, making them the world’s most popular systems among individuals who want to get things done. They look good, have plenty of interconnects (including MagSafe, which won’t damage your Mac if accidentally yanked out), and will run all of your professional iOS apps — and that’s before you consider the many security features Apple has built into these machines.

“Organizations must be willing to look at employees performance and preferences, and the fact that Apple is continuing to advance its tools to give users what they need to get there own jobs done well and in their preferred manner is only proving that they’re listening and changing things every day and be the number one device ecosystem in the enterprise,” said Jamf CEO Dean Hager.

If your firm has an employee choice hardware initiative, don’t be surprised if a few of these are chosen. If your organization does not have one, your employees will undoubtedly wish you did.

What do you think?

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