Apple confirmed to the world at WWDC 2020 what reports have been saying for a few years. The iPhone chip is getting so good that versions of it could power MacBooks. Apple said that it’d take about two years, but all its Macs will get custom Apple silicon. Then Apple unveiled the M1 System-on-Chip (SoC) last November and the first Macs to run it. The late 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini received rave reviews for the performance of the M1. Battery life was a big highlight for the laptops. A new report says that the M1 MacBook battery life was actually so impressive in initial tests that Apple engineers believed the battery indicator was broken.
As for Intel, the company is well behind Apple and other ARM chip makers. Intel’s 10nm and 7nm chips faced delays, and the company will need more time to release a chip that can match the 5nm M1.
Internal M1 MacBook battery life tests surprised Apple
Apple talked to Tom’s Guide about the M-series SoC development, revealing a hilarious anecdote.
The M1 MacBook Pro’s battery life lasted for 16 hours and 25 minutes in Tom’s Guide web-surfing test compared to just 10:21 for the previous Intel-based model. The M1 MacBook’s endurance almost matches Apple’s 17-hour estimate.
“When we saw that first system, and then you sat there and played with it for a few hours and the battery didn’t move, we thought ‘Oh man, that’s a bug, the battery indicator is broken,’” Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, said. “And then Tim [Milet]’s laughing in the background, ‘Nope, that’s the way it’s supposed to be,’ and it was pretty phenomenal.” Milet is Apple’s vice president of platform architecture.
The M-series future
The M1 powers three additional since November, the two 2021 iPad Pro models and the redesigned iMac. Apple will launch an improved M1 version later this year that might equip the 2021 MacBook Pro versions. Apple has mistakenly confirmed the M1X marketing name for the chip for the new Pro laptops. Whatever Apple calls it, the M1 successor should deliver great battery life, at least as good as the M1 MacBooks.
Will the next-gen M-series also improve one of the things that Intel criticized in its anti-M1 campaigns? That’s gaming, something the Macs aren’t known for.
“Of course, you can imagine the pride of some of the GPU folks and imagining, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if it hits a broader set of those really intense gamers,’” said Milet. “It’s a natural place for us to be looking, to be working closely with our Metal team and our Developer team. We love the challenge.”