Apple’s M1 Chip Is Out and It Is Perfect… Almost

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Categories: Hardware



When the news hit of Apple’ debut of the M1 chip, the technology world stood up and took notice. It’s no wonder, because the M1 is Apple’s first ARM-based chip — which offers far lower power consumption (and therefore greater battery life) than Intel’s x86 chips. Apple geeks are salivating over the M1 because it also has an impressive spec sheet elsewhere.

We won’t go into the details here, but the outcome is that the M1 chip enables Macs to deliver up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, 6x faster GPU performance, and 15x faster machine learning than previous-generation models with 2x longer battery life.

The question then becomes, what does that mean for companies and their personnel who rely on Macs for daily operations?

While the M1 represents the biggest leap ever for the Mac, our tech experts say it might not be quite big enough, yet, depending upon your firm and its needs. Essentially, M1 is the very start of a significant transition for the Mac.

The M1 currently powers only the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini. While these three systems are a great first step, they are not powerhouses like a fully spec’d out MacBook Pro or iMac. Apple estimates the full transition to the new family of chips will take about two years, and Carmichael Consulting Solutions’ experts recommend organizations either wait to jump into the market or explore other options. This is especially important for any company retooling its firm with all new computers.

Why You Should Wait

Following are some of the noteworthy shortcomings we found during our review of the early M1 chip machines.

  • Support for only one external display (monitor). The current generation of M1 machines only supports a single external display (up to 6K at 60Hz over USB-C/Thunderbolt or 4K at 60Hz over HDMI). Many office workers — even in remote/home offices — rely upon multiple monitors to simultaneously display documents, spreadsheets, video calls and more at a size where they can easily be viewed.
  • Support for only small form-factor Macs. The Macs mentioned above are some of the smaller models, and most business professionals will want a larger machine. (We are fond of our MacBooks. With their array of ports and support for dual monitors; it’s easy to dock them at a desk and still unplug them quickly to take home or elsewhere for remote work.)
  • Incompatibility with popular programs. It will take software manufacturers a while to update their code to work with the M1 devices, and there may be other incompatibilities, as well. One example is the Adobe suite, which business pros from architects to marketing teams rely upon heavily. Beyond not supporting M1 devices yet, current M1 machines don’t run Adobe programs well, if at all.
  • Vulnerability to cyberattacks: Almost as fast as the M1 chip became available, malicious actors started attacking it – and they succeeded. Now, malware/adware authors are working to ensure their code is natively compatible with Apple’s latest hardware. Yet malware and antivirus firms haven’t had time to update their programs to catch malware designed for M1-based systems.

Our Professional Recommendation

Where we see current M1 devices having a sweet spot is for second devices when the user wants extra-long battery life. For example, the M1 MacBook Air is reported to get up to 18 hours of video playback. That’s a dream on an international flight. (The MacBook Air also has no moving parts and no fan, so it’s quiet and doesn’t get hot — nice when a laptop is nearly in your lap.) Conversely, the Mac Mini might suit entry-level needs.

We Are with You, Every Step of the Way

No matter what your needs or timelines might be, our consultants are here to help you. If fact, if what you have just read sounds like a foreign language, give us a call and we’ll tailor a discussion to your firm’s needs. As the Number One ranked provider in Georgia on the Apple Consultants Network, we offer expert Mac support, including iPads, iPhones and MacBooks, that is rare among IT providers. We also have partnerships with most other major technology companies. To explore the possibilities, contact us at 678-719-9671 or sales@carmichaelconsulting.net.