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Apple Event (October 2021): the new MacBook Pro models

This was bound to be one of the most exciting Apple Events of all time since it would show how Apple's roadmap and progression of the last year have pushed what the Mac can do. 

Last year's Apple Event was perhaps their most monumental in the history of the Mac - the shift away from Intel to their own architecture and system-on-a-chip design based on the ARM Architecture (known in the industry as AArch64). 

But this week's event was expected to bring even more improvements including a rumoured Apple M1X processor. Instead, we saw something that was, for the most part, unexpected, two new variants of the M1 processor: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max (much like iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max). With these new processors, the MacBook Pro also saw two new models, a brand new 14-inch model and a refurbished 15-inch model. The base model M1 Pro has 8 CPU cores (2 of those are high-efficiency cores), whereas the top model M1 Max has 10 cores (again, two high-efficiency cores). In terms of graphics, the base model has 14 graphics cores whereas the top model M1 Max features 32 graphics cores.

Compared to previous models of the 15-inch model, the new versions no longer offer discrete graphics options but rely on Apple's new M1 Pro and M1 Max for the graphics, which, according to Apple, are very capable. Apple has made up for this graphics horsepower within the new M1 Pro and M1 Max and has gone absolutely all out with this! The M1 Pro has a whopping 200GB/s of bandwidth between the graphics cores and the memory and up to 32GB of memory available to it due to the unified memory architecture that Apple has integrated into this system. The M1 Max on the other hand is a whole new ballgame, offering up to 64GB of system memory that is shared with the graphics processing units of the processor, and an insane 400GB/s of bandwidth! That is approximately eight times more than the most powerful Intel Xe integrated graphics! 

Apple also brough a new design to the MacBook Pro which I'm not sure I like quite as much as the old one but will have to wait until I see it in person. On the subject of the new design, there are finally more ports available on the sides of the MacBook, one of the main reasons I had considered getting one originally. As well as your standard Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, which there are now three of, you also get a full-size HDMI port, a headphone jack (as before), an SD card reader, and, to me the best feature, the new MagSafe 3 connector which acts as a dedicated power port. You can continue to use Thunderbolt to charge your MacBook of course.

Overall, I am very impressed with Apple and how they have developed the Mac so rapidly over the course of the last year. 

apple
mac
october 2021
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