Apple ditched Intel, and it paid off

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  • In April 2021, CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings call that the M1 chip helped fuel Apple’s Mac revenue growth of 70.1%.
  • Apple launched two more M1 computers in 2021, including a brand new iMac and a new MacBook Pro with even more powerful versions of the M1 chip.

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Apple’s decision to drop Intel this year paid off.

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The pivot allowed Apple to completely rethink the Mac, which had begun to go stale, with an aging design and iterative annual upgrades. Following its divorce from Intel, Apple has launched far more exciting computers, paired with an ongoing pandemic that has forced people to work and learn from home, boosting Apple’s Mac business.

It wasn’t always a given. When Apple announced a move away from Intel in 2020, it was reasonable to question how well Apple could power laptops and desktop computers. Apple has used the chips in-house for iPhones and iPads, but had been selling Intel-powered computers for 15 years. It was unclear how well its macOS desktop software would work with apps designed to run on Intel chips, or whether its processors would offer any consumer benefits and people continued to run the MacBooks with intensive tasks. .

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Those fears were quickly allayed.

The first M1 Apple chip was launched in the MacBook Air laptop in 2020. It was more powerful than Intel’s chip while offering longer battery life and enabling a fanless design, which helped keep Apple’s new MacBook Air even cooler. It proved to be an early success.

In April 2021, CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that the M1 chip helped fuel Apple’s Mac revenue growth of 70.1%, reaching $9.1 billion during that quarter.

Growth continued in fiscal Q3, when Mack revenue was up 16% year over year. That quarter, it launched the all-new iMac, which offered a redesigned super-thin metal body that looks like a screen mounted on a stand. It’s thinner than the Intel model that came before, while offering other benefits, such as a better webcam, great speakers, and a much sharper display than the model it replaced. And Apple made the launch more exciting for the iMac by offering a range of colors that it hasn’t since shipped the 1999 iMac.

There was a slowdown in fiscal Q4, when Mac revenue grew just 1.6% as Apple, like all manufacturers, saw a slowdown driven by the burst of sales driven by the start of the pandemic and dealt with a supply chain woes. But fiscal Q4 sales didn’t include revenue from its most exciting new computer of the year.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro, which launched in October, proved that Apple’s processors are capable of serving Apple’s most demanding customers.

The new laptop runs on Apple’s latest M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, which are even more capable of handling intensive tasks like editing multiple high-resolution video files at the same time. It has the best screen ever on an Apple laptop which is brighter, sharper and smoother than the earlier Intel models. But, notably, laptops still offer longer battery life, thanks to the more power-efficient design of Apple’s processors. Paired with plenty of ports that let you attach high-speed accessories, extra displays or more storage, this is easily the best laptop on the market.

Apple’s fiscal Q2 earnings in January will give an indication of how well all of its new computers are selling.

But it’s clear that Intel’s move has allowed Apple to move forward at full speed with its own chip development, just as it does for the iPhone and iPad, the latter of which can match any other tablet on the market. is not eaten. it is no longer viewable The Delay That Plagued Intel, which began to lag behind AMD with its new 7nm chips. And Apple has full control over its “stack,” which means it can design new computer hardware and software together, rather than let the power of another company’s chips determine what its computers do. can and what can’t.

Take, for example, the way the M1 is able to improve the quality of the webcam on its computer, even though it’s the same image sensor used in earlier Intel models. There are more benefits to owning hardware and software.

Apple’s new macOS Monterey software will soon let computers running the M1 share the same keyboard and mouse with iPads, for example, allowing you to seamlessly control multiple devices at the same time. The M1 Mac has other distinctive features, such as on-device voice dictation, improved Siri text-to-speech, more detailed Maps, and Portrait Mode in FaceTime, which blurs the background behind you. And while the app selection is still limited, the M1 Macs are capable of running some of the same apps you run on your iPhone and iPad.

The trend is expected to continue next year as well. Reports have suggested that we will see another new MacBook Air in 2022, the most powerful iMac Pro, and updates to the Mac Pro and more. And we can see the M1 in entirely new product categories.

The chip is so good at managing power that it can even be used in Apple’s Augmented Reality headset. A report in November by top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple’s upcoming AR glasses, which he said would launch in late 2022, would be as powerful as its Macs. Kuo said the headset will help it stand out against the competition as the headset will be able to run intensive graphics tasks without being connected to a computer or phone.


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