The rumors had been circulating for a while, but in June 2020 Apple announced that it would abandon Intel processors and make its own chips based on the Arm architecture. In mid-November, Apple released two laptops and a desktop computer with its new, proprietary processor, the M1. In this review, we take a look at the fastest laptop, the MacBook Pro, paying special attention to the new processor and how Apple has integrated it.
The M1 is an important step for Apple, which ensures that the manufacturer gains even more control over its own hardware and can also better tailor that hardware to its own software. For example, Microsoft developed Windows RT and also an Arm version of Windows 10, but the tablets and a single laptop on which those operating systems were running, turned out to be little popular.
This was partly due to the speed of the hardware, but also to the way in which x86 and x64 software is supported. Apple has the same problem, as the company’s fastest chips so far made their way into its smartphones and tablets, and with the move to laptops and desktops, it has also had to find a way to support ‘older’ software.
So a lot depends on the success of this MacBook and the great thing is that you don’t see any of it on the outside of the laptop. Apple has used the exact same casing it has used for years for the 13.3 “MacBook Pro. Okay, the butterfly keyboard was replaced by a Magic Keyboard earlier this year, but otherwise the casing is the same as the 2016 one. When you turn on the laptop, you end up in macOS Big Sur, which is also a familiar sight, because the Intel MacBooks run exactly the same operating system. know that you are working on a laptop with hardware that is so important to the manufacturer.
Apple MacBook Pro M1
That is probably exactly the idea behind the new MacBook Pro; a seamless transition from one architecture to another, which the average user will not notice. That also means that the MacBook Pro has a housing that has been around since 2016. As far as we are concerned, a fairly timeless design, but if you compare it with the latest laptops of 2020, you do see some signs of aging. The screen bezels are wide by current standards and with a weight of 1350 grams, it is also not the lightest 13.3″ laptop.
Apart from those optical matters, the MacBook Pro’s housing is still of the well-known unibody design, which makes a solid impression. The screen closes nicely on the housing and the parts of the housing fit together neatly.
The two USB-C connections have support for USB 4 and thus also Thunderbolt, but do not work quite the same as the Thunderbolt connections on Intel Macs. For starters, there is no support for external GPUs via Thunderbolt and only one external display can be connected. With Intel MacBooks, this was a maximum of two screens. In practice, the connection of screens is even more nuanced, because in some cases screens that depend on DisplayPort MST will not work. In addition, a second external screen is not excluded, because you can connect it with the help of a USB adapter with DisplayLink.
Keyboard and touchpad
The 13 “MacBook Pro has been equipped with a Magic Keyboard since spring 2020, Apple’s marketing name for a ‘regular’ keyboard with scissor switches. That keyboard is, as far as we have been able to find, the only way you can use the M1-MacBook. on the outside of its predecessor with two ports, because the Fn key has a globe that was not there before. Anyone with an Apple smartphone or tablet will probably recognize the globe and its function is to switch between different keyboard layouts If you only have one keyboard layout, it is a shortcut to access the menu of emoticons and special characters.
Apple MacBook Pro M1
The keyboard of the MacBook Pro provides clear feedback when you hit it, but the key travel does not last, as with other thin 13 “laptops. If you have a 2020 model MacBook Pro, the new M1 MacBook will feel no different. than your current laptop. This also applies to the touchpad, which Apple has been making big for years. You can easily make all the multi-touch gestures that Apple has integrated into its operating system.
On both sides of the keyboard are the speakers, which are directed upwards and offer good intelligibility when conducting conversations. The FaceTime camera, at the top of the screen, is also no stranger and has a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. Image quality must have improved thanks to a new isp integrated into the M1-soc, but you shouldn’t expect miracles from that. It remains a webcam with a fairly low resolution, which gives a pretty grainy image in low light, like almost all integrated webcams. You don’t need much more for video calling and the camera is sufficient for that.