Jason Cipriani: Apple had a tremendous year. Seriously, we saw more innovation out of Apple this year than we have in the last couple of years -- possibly combined. The ability to pull off a processor switch, where the underlying architecture is entirely different, and making it almost seamless for developers still blows my mind.
I think about the approach Microsoft is taking with the Surface Pro X, easing into the ARM switch in public, through a beta… and then I look at what Apple did, making the entire transition behind closed doors and releasing it on day one, ready to go. Man, it's impressive. Everyone else in the computer industry is so far behind right now.
Jason Perlow: I don't know where to begin with how amazed I am by this thing. I hate to start playing Apple word bingo, but that chip is astounding and magical. Cupertino put a tremendous amount of resources into it. Apple was able to take a processor architecture that was once only reserved for low power, mobile devices, and smartphone-types of application workloads and transform it into the future of desktop computing.
Everyone needs to notice this because we all thought it would take a long time before Arm chips were on parity with Intel. We have seen with this hybrid SoC architecture from Apple a much more optimized chip for modern workloads. It is much more efficient with memory and power use and can run apps not only just as fast as Intel, but run them even faster depending on what they are and how the code is built. The open-source machine learning benchmarks on the chip using TensorFlow are off the scale, and even Arm Windows virtualized and emulated runs faster than what Microsoft's Surface Pro X can do with the Qualcomm SQ2 chip.
Hopefully, the success of the M1 encourages processor designers such as Nvidia, which now owns Arm, to create other Arm-based desktop-grade processors that are licensable. And, potentially, there are also RISC designs such as OpenPower and RISC-V that are open source that pave the way for future non-Intel chips in the datacenter or even on the desktop, too.
This year, our choice for the best Mac for the money is, without doubt, the 2020 M1 Mac Mini.