The Apple M1 chip delivers increased performance and battery life, but what does this mean for your apps?

At the November 2020 Apple Event, Apple announced that they would begin transitioning away from Intel based Macs. Their alternative was to start using their own processors in Mac computers (similar to the iPhone and iPad). 

The first Macs to benefit from the new Apple M1 chip are the MacBook Air, the 13” MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini. But what are the impacts of this and what does this mean for your apps? 

Improved performance and battery life

The Apple M1 chip uses a new production process which allows it to achieve triple the performance per watt when compared against the previous generation MacBook Pro. 

The improved performance delivers lower power consumption during day-to-day tasks. As a result the 13” MacBook Pro can last up to 20 hours on a single charge.

Some Mac apps might not work yet 

You probably use a wide variety of apps to get things done (we know we do) and most of those are likely to be optimised for Macs running on Intel processors. 

Apps which are optimised for the Intel processors can’t run directly on the Apple M1 chip. These apps will be relying on Rosetta 2 behind the scenes to allow them to run on these new Macs. As a result they may take a little bit longer to start, or might not work correctly due to Rosetta 2 translating the app for the Apple M1 chip. You can check if any issues have been reported with an app you use in this Apple Silicon compatibility guide.

Over time you can expect app developers to update their apps to take full advantage of the Apple M1 chip. When this work is finished you should see an increase in performance.

You can use iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac

The introduction of the Apple M1 chip brings the opportunity of running iPhone and iPad apps directly on your Mac. 

This instantly provides you with a catalogue of 1,000s and games and apps which will run on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Therefore, you can use the same app with the same set of features on every device you use. 

If you have your own app you will need to ensure it provides a suitable experience for the new platform. This will mainly be checking it works with a keyboard and mouse or touchpad (most apps should). If it isn’t, you may need some app development work to take full advantage of the new platform.