Apple has been on its usual event blitz this fall, including the launch of the new iPhone 12. While that device always grabs the headlines, the most interesting launch this year is Apple's new MacBook laptops. Yes, how often can we say a new generation of MacBook's is genuinely exciting?
Not often is the answer, considering how incremental Apple is with design and specs. However, things are a little different this year. While on the surface the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro look the same, underneath they have Apple's new M1 chip.
This is a headline-grabbing silicon because it is the company's first venture into ARM-based computing. During its “One More Thing” launch event, Apple even found the time to attack Microsoft and Windows PCs.
Of course, Microsoft is on its own Windows 10 on ARM journey and so far, it has been a mixed bag. Laptops with ARM processors have not really delivered the gains many expected and there are issues around app support on Microsoft's own Surface Pro X.
ARM computing is potentially important because it could combine the best aspects of mobile and PC. It promises the stellar battery life of mobile devices but also massive performance gains. Whereas Windows 10 on ARM is stumbling, Apple claims it has hit success on that promise.
With the M1 chip, the company is claiming over 2x performance and battery life across its MacBook line. It is worth noting Microsoft was making similar claims once, so nothing is guaranteed yet. That said, Apple has an amazing track record with its own chips and the company also usually delivers on promises it makes at events.
So, for the M1 the signs are good, and the chip could further signpost a wider shift in PC culture. Namely, more people are moving towards MacBook's over mid-range and high-end Windows PCs. Microsoft's dominance on the PC market will continue, no doubt, but when discussing the best laptops, Apple's machines dominate the conversation.
One interesting point Apple made was the new M1 allows the MacBook Pro to have double the performance of the best-selling Windows PC in its class. That's an empty claim because the best-selling Windows machine in any class would not be the most powerful.
Either way, Apple once again called on actor John Hodgman to play the Windows PC fan. He may also have been playing Bill Gates considering he once did just that for Apple's classic “Get A Mac” ad campaign.
If Hodgman was meant to be Bill Gates, it is a little bit in poor taste but whatever. During the event, the actor said “I'm a PC. Is there time for questions because I have one? Why, why, why make all these advancements?”
He continued to suggest Apple's advancements are confusing to Microsoft and that the company is willing to stick to a status quo with its machine. You can see the specific part with the actor timestamped in the video above.
Stupid or funny, it is clear Microsoft and Apple are going head on in the laptop market. It's like 20 years ago all over again… let the games begin.