Apple's M1 chip powers the new MacBook Air, Pro, and Mac Mini, but what does this mean for you?

Apple MacBook Pro Air Mac Mini
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has revealed a suite of new Mac products, all powered by the company’s first ever proprietary chip, during its “One More Thing” event yesterday. The reveal included a new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini. All of these devices will be powered by the M1, Apple’s first in-house chip designed specifically for Mac devices. Apple already makes some of the best laptops and home computers in the world, so let's see what it can do with its own custom chipset.

So, what is this M1 chip and why is it so important to Apple, and Apple consumers? The M1 is custom built for Apple devices, whereas previous Apple devices have used off-the-shelf or modified versions of existing processors. This means its design was tailored specifically to meet the needs of Mac devices. As such, it offers better performance and efficiency - Apple claims that the M1 is “the world’s fastest CPU core in low-power silicon”, “the world’s best CPU performance per watt”, and offers “the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.”

The new Macbook Air is packing an 8-core CPU that is up to 3.5 times faster than its predecessor, along with 5x better graphics performance. It also comes with a faster SSD for quick access to your stored files and faster program loading. It’s also completely silent thanks to the fanless cooling system and has the longest battery life of any MacBook Air ever - 15 hours of web browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback. The new MacBook Air costs $999 and is available to buy now.

Apple MacBook Air

(Image credit: Apple)

Meanwhile the new 13-inch MacBook Pro brings that same upgrade in performance to one of the world’s best laptops. This updated model is running on an 8-core CPU which is up to 2.8x faster than the previous model, and again the graphics get a hefty 5x speed boost too thanks to the integrated graphics technology in the M1 chip. This is being sold as a creative and coding powerhouse that can render games and movies, edit images, and build code way faster than any previous MacBook Pro could manage. The MacBook Pro 13-inch starts at $1299 and is available now.

It’s worth noting that this is only a new version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and that the existing 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 model that we reviewed earlier this year isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Apple MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Finally we come to the new Mac Mini, Apple’s adorable little powerhouse. Again, we see improvements to be both the CPU and GPU speeds, with up to 3x and 6x increases respectively. Despite being about a tenth the size of a normal home computer, the Mac Mini manages to keep up and even outperform its bigger brothers, while also staying cool and quiet thanks to its advanced thermal design. The Mac Mini is available now for $699, which is actually $100 cheaper than the previous model retailed for.

Apple Mac Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

So, it’s good news for fans of the latest and greatest Apple technology, but this is also great news for shoppers that are looking for the best Black Friday computer deals too, as many retailers will now be looking to clear stock on the older versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini

Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.