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Apple unveils M1, the first in-house chip for Mac computers

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(NEW YORK) — Apple unveiled the first lineup of computers powered by its in-house “Apple Silicon” chip, dubbed the M1, at its final event of 2020.

“We promised that the first Mac with Apple Silicon will arrive by the end of this year — well, that day is here,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the unveiling on Tuesday. “The M1 chip is by far the most powerful chip that we have ever created.”

At its “One More Thing” event — a nod to the late Steve Jobs’ beloved catchphrase — the company unveiled new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini models all powered by the M1, the first chip designed by Apple specifically for Mac computers. The new Macs also will all feature Big Sur, its latest operating system.

The company hinted that its whole lineup of computers would be powered by Apple’s own Silicon chips within a few years, moving them away from relying on Intel’s.

The M1 chip should improve the performance and speed of Macs — up to 3.5 times faster CPU, up to six times faster GPU and up to 15 times faster machine learning capabilities — in addition to nearly doubling battery life, Apple said.

While Tuesday’s event may seem a bit overshadowed by Apple’s big 5G iPhone announcement last month, some analysts have noted that it’s a big step forward for Apple to have more control over its own hardware.

Dan Ives, a tech analyst and the managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, noted in a memo Tuesday that Apple’s Silicon chips “has been a vision 15 years in making” and will usher in “a new era for Apple on the Mac frontier.”

The computers unveiled at “One More Thing” will be available to order beginning Tuesday and are scheduled to arrive to customers and some Apple stores starting next week. The new MacBook Air starts at $999, the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and the new Mac mini starts at $699.

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