Apple’s first-gen M1 chips have already upended our concept of laptop performance

Apple’s first M1 MacBooks are here, and the world of laptops has changed overnight.

When Apple first announced that it would be transitioning its computers — specifically, the MacBook Air and entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, its most popular PCs — to a new and wildly different type of processor, there were plenty of reasons to be skeptical. Apple was making huge claims for battery life and performance, things that the first wave of Arm-based laptops from Qualcomm and Microsoft failed to deliver.

But deliver Apple did, with computers powered by a new M1 processor that aren’t just close to their previous Intel counterparts, but crush them in nearly every respect — and not just the base model Intel chips that the M1 purports to replace, either. In both early benchmarks and head-to-head comparisons for compiling code, Apple’s M1 chip appears to hold its own against even Intel’s most powerful Core i9 chip for laptops.
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