2021: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
Techlife News|Techlife News #479 *Special Edition
With the introduction of a 5G iPhone, a superfast M1 chip for the Mac, a bunch of hardware like AirPods Max, Apple Watch SE, and HomePod mini, and significant investments in its services division, Apple had a stellar year in 2020. But the future is just around the corner, and even greater innovations await.

Let’s take a look at what the company has up its sleeve.

BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE M1 CHIP

Perhaps one of Apple’s biggest “wins” in 2020 was the transition from Intel processors to new custom silicon alternatives, developed in-house and designed exclusively for macOS devices. Although the two Californian companies have enjoyed a long, fruitful relationship, dating back to 2006 when Apple released a new MacBook Pro and iMac, Intel has failed to innovate in recent years, and thus Apple’s machines have struggled to stand up against its competitors’. Back at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2020, Apple confirmed that the transition from Intel to M1-based chips would take two years, and in November, it began the journey with a superpowered 13-inch MacBook Pro, a Mac mini, and an upgraded MacBook Air. All three received overwhelmingly positive feedback from technology critics, who heralded the move as a “new beginning” for the Mac. Based on instructions developed by UK firm Arm, M1 contains 16 billion transistors, making it the highest-performing chip to date, and Apple says that M1 offers speeds up to 3.5 faster for CPU performance and six times faster for GPU performance compared to previous models, and significant power efficiencies on top. What’s glaringly obvious, however, is that Apple’s new M1 outperforms even the highest-spec Intel processor, and that the rest of the Mac family needs to be given the M1 treatment as we enter 2021.

Although the company has remained tightlipped on which Mac will be upgraded next, it’s likely that the current eight-core M1 chip will only be for entry-level machines. A source told Bloomberg that Apple wants to release new iMacs and Mac Pros that “outclass top-end PCs” with the company developing a new “aggressive” roadmap that will see it add as many as 32 performance cores to new Macs. Whilst AMD offers a 64-core Threadripper, a new 32-core Mac Pro would elevate the machine and entice professionals. Apple is also developing new higher-end MacBook Pros (likely the 16-inch variant) with 16 high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, and the company wants to improve graphics performance with new 16- and 32core GPUs for iMacs and MacBook Pros. The company could even introduce a 128-core GPU for the highest-end Mac Pro, which would be several times faster than AMD graphics in Intel-based models. Bloomberg suggests that high-end Macs will arrive in the latter half of 2021, though mid-range models could come sooner. Other improvements are likely to include a redesigned chassis to help usher in the new era of the Mac, as well as improvements to the FaceTime HD webcam and Touch Bar.

ANOTHER LEAP FORWARD FOR iPHONE AND APPLE WATCH

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