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Apple speeds transition away from Intel chips with new Macs


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Apple speeds transition away from Intel chips with new Macs
U.S. tech leader's latest launch event showcases more powerful silicon



The new Mac Pro is the latest addition to Apple's computer lineup with its in-house silicon. (Photo courtesy of Apple) 

YIFAN YU, Nikkei staff writerOctober 19, 2021 04:42 JST


PALO ALTO, U.S.-- Apple announced a new Mac laptop powered by its latest-generation in-house chips, as the U.S. tech giant continues its two-year transition from Intel processors for its computer lineup.


The new processors, the M1 Pro and M1 Max, are 70% faster than the M1, its original self-designed silicon for Macs, and are the "most powerful chips Apple has ever built," the company said.


At its third launch event of 2021 on Monday, the company unveiled a new MacBook Pro. The 14-inch model will be powered by M1 Pro, which has a graphic processing unit that is two times faster than the original M1 and bigger memory bandwidth. Meanwhile, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro will be equipped with the M1 Max chip that features an even faster GPU and larger memory bandwidth.


From Apple to Google to Tesla, tech companies are increasingly choosing to develop semiconductors in-house, giving them greater control over their supply chain and the ability to tailor chips for their specific products.


Intel processors had been the "brain" of Mac for years, but it started replacing them with its own chips last November, beginning with the launch of the M1-powered MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. The company continued the transition by introducing a new iMac desktop with an M1 chip in April and said it would take two years to fully move from Intel chipsets to its own.


Intel stock dipped 0.3% Monday afternoon.


"The proprietary M1 Pro/Max processor is the foundational part of this MacBook, and ultimately we believe will be a game-changer that will convert 30%+ of current MacBook users to upgrade over the next year, catalyzing growth on this hardware segment," Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, said in a note to clients on Monday.


The 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch model powered by the M1 Max starts at $2,499. Both will come in gray and silver and are available for order Monday.


The new MacBook Pros will begin shipping on Oct. 26, signaling the recent easing of pressure on Apple's Mac supply chain. It took the company nearly a month to begin delivering the new iMac announced in April.


Nikkei Asia previously reported that the next generation of M1 chips entered mass production in April.


At Monday's event, Apple also unveiled new AirPods with more audio features, starting at $179. It also added more colors to its smart home device HomePod mini and introduced a new voice control feature for Apple Music.


Apple shares moved up 0.7% on Monday afternoon.

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