Apple first unveiled plans to move away from Intel processors at WWDC in June, detailing that the first Mac powered by Apple Silicon will be released before the end of the year. As it turns out, Apple has released three Macs powered by its new M1 chip: a MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini.
Despite Apple’s strong 2020 in almost all respects, the M1 Mac is officially crowned as we are 9to5 year of make-up.
We’ve been debating whether to focus exclusively on the M1 MacBook Air or to include the M1 Mac Mini and MacBook Pro in the “Products of the Year” category. In the end, these three machines are the same, we decided to focus on the whole family of M1 Macs. This is a monumental change in the realm of Mac, and even bigger changes will still come in 2021.
Read on for a round table discussion with the 9to5Mac team about what we like most about the first M1 Max.
Seth Weintrab, founder and publisher of 9to5 Mac:
M1 MacBook Air
Against the backdrop of the epidemic, of all Apple’s incredible products released this year, the M1 Max and especially the M1 MacBook Air have changed the game the most. For those working from home, now the interface envelope-sized fan-less MacBook Air desktop-level imprint with if it weren’t enough, the actual battery life goes from one workday to more than one workday. Compatibility Apple has a few edge-related apps working out of the box and the almost transparent Rosette 2 emulator still clears apps built for Intel and knocks it out of the park.
For me personally, this means that I don’t need any more Pro machines when I’m out and about (when I’ll take advantage of it one day!). And especially, when I go skiing, I no longer need to bring IMAC to do the serious work. I’m just a big fan of both my office and our ski condo. Can hold 200 displays and it looks just as beautiful. I imagine that very few people will choose desktop computers in the coming years when all these power portables are available … no fans!
Chance Miller, 9to5Mac Lead Editor:
M1 MacBook Air
Right off the bat, I’ve been most excited about the Mac lineup over the years. Additionally, I was not a Mac user when transitioning from PowerPC to Intel, so the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon is particularly interesting to me.
It wasn’t hard to feel discouraged about the state of the Mac, with the continuous improvement of performance over the ages and the transition to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 over the age of the Butterfly keyboard. In the last 12 months, it has all changed and I can now say with confidence that I am optimistic and excited about the future of the Mac.
I’m using the base model M1 MacBook Air, and it’s the best times of the year I’ve used a Mac. It’s fast, reliable, has stellar battery life, and it comes down to $ 1000. I’ve upgraded from the Beefed Up 16-inch MacBook Pro to the M1 MacBook Air and the only larger display I’m missing.
As such, I’m looking forward to upgrading to a fully Apple Silicon-powered 16-inch MacBook Pro, whenever it is released in 2021. Now for now, the M1 MacBook Air is the best Mac for most people and the first Mac I fully feel comfortable recommending to the average customer a year.
Jeff Benjamin, 9to5 YouTube Lead:
M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
The M1 Macs are suited as the most influential product of the year, not only because of their impressive strength and incredibly efficient, these qualities were given to someone who has been focusing on Apple’s silicon progress for years. However, it surprised me that Apple was able to make the software work so smoothly from day one.
The experience wasn’t without a few hiccups, but the M1 Macs are a feat in terms of software compatibility. Just outside the gate, all so-called “Pro” Mac applications were updated with native universal binary, and even applications that weren’t made for Apple Silicon easily ran MacOS’s impressive Rosta 2 translation.
Of all the products released in 2020 – and if you go back and feel the fullness of the timeline of the year, this M1 Mac stands alone. Think about it: Apple has released three new Macs with a brand-new architecture in the midst of the epidemic. This is amazing to me.
Jack Hall, Space Explorer Lead Editor and 9to5Mac Editor Emeritus:
M1 MacBook Air
When I started college in 2009, I bought my first Mac. It was the 13-inch MacBook Pro of 2009 and it felt like the future. Three years later, I upgraded to a 13-inch MacBook Air with a stronger state drive and it felt like another leap forward.
We’ve seen hardware redesign, OS evolution, retina displays and even a bizarre butterfly keyboard frustration ever since. Still, nothing as dramatic and platform-shifting as the debut of the M1 processor. The $ 999 MacBook Air not only surpasses that amount of machine, it also works with significant battery life and a fanless design without compromising on coolness and performance.
The current design has even gotten a pass since it only debuted in 2018 and the overall experience is that the M1 chip is such a leap forward. My biggest wish for a second revision in the future is that the built-in cellular you MacBook Air, like the iPads, is so portable and adaptable that the built-in LTE or 5G would be a brain upgrade for me.
Michael Patak, 9to5 Mac Editor:
M1 MacBook Pro
I took the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro at launch with my plans to replace the 15-inch MacBook Pro. I was a little hesitant to take 8GB RAM with the new machine as I have 16GB including 15 inches. But I was really interested to see how well the Base M1 MacBook Pro could perform.
For the past two months, I’ve been saying that it runs almost circles on my 15-inch MacBook Pro. I don’t have a really intense daily workflow but I usually run 7 or 8 apps at once with lots of Safari tabs open and some light photo editing.
The best way to describe how an Apple Silicon Mac feels is because it comes to me as fast as the closest (or any notebook / desktop) MacBook comes to my mind. Apps open almost instantly, it’s just responsive and smooth.
Even the Intel apps turn Apple Silicon into an uncompromising scene, driven brilliantly with the Rosta 2 translation. I am very fascinated with the first Generated M1 Mac and the whole Mac family is very happy to see this transformation.
Bradley Chambers, 9to5 Mac Contributor and Administrator:
M1 MacBook Air
I bought a PowerBook G4 and have been a Mac user since 2005. It was the only PowerPC computer I owned that said the Intel transition would happen in a few years. In my lifetime, I can only rely on a few key technology transitions that have felt like true breakthroughs: Wi-Fi, solid-state drives, and Apple Silicon.
In just a few weeks with the M1 laptop, I can say that I never knew that any laptop could achieve these results even after the battery life was so strong. For those people who wanted Apple to publish a netbook for ultra-portability, they finally did it. Apple Silicon is just as important for Apple’s future as any consumer product published in their history.
Parker Ortolani, 9to5 Mac Contributor:
M1 MacBook Air
No Apple product has improved more than the MacBook Air this year. I’ve been a fan of Air since Steve first pulled one out of a Manila envelope more than a decade ago. However, the 2020 M1 MacBook Air is the first version that does not compromise on performance. It’s the thinnest Mac you can buy and still the most powerful now. I switched from the 16 “MacBook Pro of 2019 to the new M1 MacBook Air. It looks like it will be a radical shift but I was used to the form factor because I have used the 2018 MacBook Air before.
These may look similar but they feel different for day use. I feel like I made no compromises to switch to smaller, lighter and more affordable machines. It glows fast and rarely has a hitch. I can push it to its limits and not be terrified of getting terribly infinitely spinning Rainbow Beach balls. This is the first Mac that Steve, when launching the MacBook Air in 2010, once managed to answer the question, “What if the Mac and the iPad were hooked?”
Stephen Hall, Growth Marketing
Yesterday, I returned my new MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip. It doesn’t sound like an expansive endorsement to an article declaring Apple the best product of 2020, but it’s true. In fact, I was so surprised by its performance that I’m eager to get the next version of this silicone on Apple’s superior Pro laptops with whatever it wants – hardware that will probably bring my other features (mostly just more USB-C ports, if I’m being truthful). .
I once saw how an entry-level computer works under load with about 4GB of RAM at launch, and the results were shocking to say the least. After more than a month of using the computer, I stand by most of what I have said in this article. Even with just 8GB of RAM, I just can’t seem to figure out how nicely waking up to multiple tasks on this 9 999 machine alone, and performing these tasks feels as fast as normal use, like Apple’s top-line offers.
For now, I’m so fascinated that I’d rather wait a year or two to get the same Apple Silicon advantage on any machine (M2X?) That fits my needs. Oh, and I’m looking forward to modernizing the rumored exterior design on next-generation laptops as well. If that’s not you, then you must feel confident to commit to the 2020 MacBook Air with Apple Silicon for your perennial laptop. This is truly an incredible value.
Trevor Dogerty, 9 to 5 Toy Lead Editor:
M1 MacBook Pro and Mac Mini
In general, I find myself slowing down in uptech when it comes to first generation technology. When it comes to new MacBooks I have realized that how much I love my 16-inch MacBook Pro can be left even more so. But the hype eventually knocked me down and I couldn’t resist. I now have the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini, both featuring the new M1 Silicon. It’s very good. Although my daily use may be more limited than anyone else’s, every app I use regularly works without issue function first party software is flawless and the speed of apps like Pixelmeter is a pleasure. I can’t remember the last time I was really excited about a new piece of technology.
Blair Altland, 9to5 Toys Editor:
M1 Mac Mini
The M1 Mac lineup is one of the most attractive machines to easily launch from Apple in a few years and the latest Mac Mini has proven that it is already for me. It gives all the hype as hippo, powerful and efficient, making its application as a home media server more significant in my use. Instead of taking it for a spin as a daily driver, I handled it along with a few other tasks with impressive results. So if any Mac Mini is ready to use as a home server then the M1 model is definitely it and it has surpassed my initial exceptions.
What do you think?
Now that we have expressed our views on “Product of the Year” we want to know what we want to do. What was your favorite new Apple release this year? Let us know in the comments!
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