Top 5 Benefits of Apple Silicon Macs [Updated]

After announcing the transition away from Intel chips at WWDC earlier this year, Apple is expected to unveil its first Macs with Apple Silicon at its "One More Thing" event on Tuesday, November 10.

Apple Silicon Teal Feature

Apple's custom chips are Arm-based and similar to the A-series chips used in its iPhones and iPads. But what tangible benefits can ‌Apple Silicon‌ offer in the Mac, and why should customers be interested in it?

Speed

Better performance is the company's main goal with ‌Apple Silicon‌. Apple's A-series chips have been industry-leading for performance, with devices such as the iPad Pro repeatedly outperforming many consumer-level PCs. Apple has made huge gains in processor performance over the years, and its chips are now powerful enough to be used in Macs.

While it is too early to say exactly how powerful ‌Apple Silicon‌ in the Mac could be, Geekbench benchmarks of the Developer Transition Kit suggest that the A12Z-based ‌Mac mini‌ has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781 respectively. Geekbench is running through Apple's Rosetta 2 transition layer, so slower performance than the A12Z chip in the ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ is to be expected.

Developer Transition Kit Geekbench 1 Feature

Apple's A12Z under Rosetta 2 outperforms Microsoft's Arm-based Surface Pro X in Geekbench performance, running x86_64 code in emulation faster than the Surface Pro X can run an Arm version natively.

It is highly likely that ‌Apple Silicon‌ in the Mac will be much faster than the A12Z due to higher thresholds for thermals and power consumption.

Power Consumption

Apple is aiming to deliver the highest possible performance with the lowest possible power consumption. Apple has years of experience with power-efficient chip design thanks to its work on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, all of which use custom-designed chips developed by Apple engineers.

apple custom silicon mac

Apple says its own chips will achieve a new level of performance while also being more energy-efficient. In practice, this could facilitate much longer battery life on portables such as MacBooks, and much more efficient use of energy on desktops like the iMac.

Common Architecture

With Apple designing its own chips for iOS devices and Macs, there will be a common architecture across all Mac product lines, which will make it easier for developers to write and optimize software that runs on all Apple products.

apple arcade devices

In fact, apps designed for the ‌‌iPhone‌‌ and the ‌‌iPad‌‌ will run on ‌Apple Silicon‌ natively when the first Mac with an Apple-designed chip is released, and those apps will be available for download directly from the Mac App Store.

Security and Integrated Technologies

In designing its own chips, Apple is able to include a range of custom technologies to further boost the Mac's capabilities and make it stand out from the competition.

Apple's A-series chip packages already include custom-built GPUs, Secure Enclave, memory and storage controllers, machine learning processors, Image Signal Processing, custom encryption, and more, all of which will likely be carried over to Mac processors.

‌Apple Silicon‌ chips will likely be built with Neural Engines and Machine Learning Accelerators to make Macs ideal platforms for machine learning. Other potential technologies include a high-quality camera processor, performance controller, high-performance DRAM, unified memory, and cryptography acceleration.

Apple's custom chips are expected to provide best-in-class security with the Secure Enclave and high-performance graphics capabilities for pro apps and games, but the true performance gains and specific integrated technologies remain to be seen.

Regular Improvements

Apple has been using Intel's chips in its Mac lineup since 2006 after transitioning away from PowerPC processors, which has meant that Apple has been subject to Intel's release timelines, chip delays, and security issues, which have, at times, negatively affected Apple's own device release plans.

Swapping to in-house chips lets Apple release updates on its own schedule and with more regular technology improvements. Apple is also able to further differentiate its devices from competing products with tight integration between software and hardware, similar to its iOS platform and A-series chips.

Tuesday's Apple event is expected to see the announcement of two or three new Macs with ‌Apple Silicon‌ processors, including a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a 13-inch MacBook Air, and potentially a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌.

Update: Apple has confirmed that Macs with ‌Apple Silicon‌ can still run Intel apps, even if the developers do not specifically update them for ‌Apple Silicon‌, thanks to Rosetta 2, which is a translation process that runs in the background and is invisible to the user.

Rosetta 2 translates existing Intel apps so they work on Macs equipped with ‌Apple Silicon‌ as expected. Apple has demoed Rosetta 2 with apps and games and there is no difference between running an Intel app on an Intel machine and on an ‌Apple Silicon‌ machine. All of the features work and the software is just as fast.

Apple has also developed a new Universal 2 binary that works on Intel Macs and Macs built on ‌Apple Silicon‌ so developers can still support Intel Macs with a single binary for all users.

Related Stories

mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
m2 feature

Apple Silicon M2 Chip Coming to Wave of New Macs

Monday May 24, 2021 2:27 am PDT by
Apple's more powerful "M2" chip is set to come to a wave of new Macs, bringing significant performance and efficiency improvements to a range of new models, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman previously said that Apple is working on higher-end Apple silicon chips that are expected to "significantly outpace" the performance of the latest Macs that still contain Intel chips,...
m1 mac family

Apple Now Selling More M1 Macs Than Intel-Based Models, Says Tim Cook

Wednesday April 21, 2021 4:34 am PDT by
Despite only being released in November, sales of the M1-powered MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini now represent the majority of Mac sales, outperforming Mac computers powered by Intel processors, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook made the remarks during Apple's "Spring Loaded" event yesterday, where it introduced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac powered by the M1 Apple silicon...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
m1 v intel thumb

PCs Offer 'Better Gaming Experience Than 100% of Mac Laptops,' Intel Claims in Ongoing Anti-Apple Campaign

Monday May 31, 2021 4:13 am PDT by
While announcing its latest chips yesterday, Intel launched another aggressive public attack on Mac devices, focusing on the experience of gaming (via PC Gamer). Intel yesterday announced two new 11th Generation H-series laptop processors, featuring clock speeds up to 5GHz, Intel Wi-Fi 6/6E, and 1080p gameplay on popular titles, in high-volume, thin designs. Following the announcement, the...
intel manufactured m1

After Anti-M1 Ads, Intel Wants to Make Future Apple Silicon Chips

Tuesday March 23, 2021 3:30 pm PDT by
Apple in November started releasing Macs with Apple-designed M1 chips, and the Apple silicon technology will eventually replace all the Intel chips that Apple has used in its Mac lineup for years. Intel appears to be having a difficult time with Apple's transition. Last week, the company launched an anti-M1 Mac ad campaign starring Justin Long, and now, Intel is pinning its hopes on...
macOS universal download

Microsoft Visual Studio Code Updated With Official Apple Silicon Support

Friday March 5, 2021 2:03 am PST by
Microsoft has updated Visual Studio Code with official support for M1 Apple Silicon Macs, offering developers the ability to use the software without the need for emulation on Rosetta. The support is coming to the web and cloud app code editor as part of its February 2021 1.54 build, which alongside Apple Silicon support, includes several improvements and updates. Microsoft says that with...
m2 feature

Apple's 'M2' Next-Gen Mac Chip Enters Mass Production, Expected to Debut in Redesigned MacBooks Later This Year

Tuesday April 27, 2021 1:38 am PDT by
Apple's custom next-generation Mac processor entered mass production this month, claims a new report today from Nikkei Asia. Tentatively dubbed the "M2" after Apple's M1 chip, the processors take at least three months to produce and could begin shipping as early as July in time for incorporation in Apple's next line of MacBooks, according to the paper's sources. The next generation of Mac...

Popular Stories

AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo Orange

Next iPad Pro Might Feature Large Glass Apple Logo to Allow Wireless Charging

Friday January 14, 2022 10:44 am PST by
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu last year reported that Apple had tested a new iPad Pro with a glass back for wireless charging capabilities. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said he expects the new iPad Pro to be released in 2022. While the new iPad Pro is still on track to feature wireless charging, 9to5Mac's Filipe Espósito today reported that Apple may have ultimately...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...