Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 213. So, in this episode I wanted to revisit a topic I talked about back in Episode 95: Apple Silicon; What Does It Mean? In that episode I talked about Apple’s announcement that they were moving to making their own CPU/GPU chips for the Mac computers going forward. The change was due to limitations on the part of Intel processors.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan of Intel processors for a long time, they are quality CPU’s and superior to AMD in every way. Well, now Apple has hit a wall with the Intel CPU’s and they moved on to building their new computers with what they are calling Apple Silicon. In addition to less heat and power drain on their computers, Apple has gone to the ARM architecture as it is more capable and uses a more simplified, streamlined machine language. The very first CPU Apple announced they called the Apple M1, which is a beefier, more powerful upgrade from the CPU’s in their Apple iPad Pro model. So far Apple has released:
Mac computers with Apple silicon:
- MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
- iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
- Mac mini (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
I personally bought a 2020 MacBook Pro 13” with the M1 earlier this year and I also purchased my wife Tina and I the MacMini 2020 model with the M1 as well. All three of these units came equipped with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. My previous Mac, which was a late 2015 27” iMac with Quad Core Intel CPU and 64GB of RAM also with a 1TB SSD. After nine months using the M1 Macs in comparison with my iMac I can tell you that the Apple M1 Silicon processors run circles around the Intel CPUs. Now again, I am NOT telling you this to disparage Intel in any way shape for form, all I am saying is the new CPUs with the new ARM code is just so much faster and literally sips power. My 13” MacBook Pro with M1 can run for 24 hours before I NEED to charge it!!! My previous 13” MacBook Pro from 2017 with Quad Core Intel can go about 10 hours before it needs a charge again, which is still decent for a laptop. Now, remember, that is NOT while doing Final Cut Pro X video editing on either one, but let’s talk about video editing for a bit.
On my iMac a 20 minute 1080p video I edited to post to my Youtube channel took around 12 minutes to export with all of the titles, and plugins I added to the video. That same video, processed and exported on my M1 Mac Mini took around 3 minutes to complete, so around 4 times faster!!! The Final Cut Pro X software is so much faster and more responsive than it is on any Quad Core Intel Mac. I ran across a video shortly after the first M1 Mac Mini’s came out and a guy that does a LOT of video work compared it to his $4,000 max out 17” MacBook Pro and the base $800 Mini ran circles around his way more expensive MacBook Pro.
And if you think about it, it’s not like Apple doesn’t have a proven track record with their ARM CPUs as this is the same architecture they have been using for their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch units for over 10 years now and those devices have been hugely successful and make Apple into the multi-billion dollar company they are today.
Another new item that Apple has added since they released their M1 systems is the new TouchID keyboards. These allow ANY M1 Mac system to have the same TouchID technology as their previous editions of the iPhone and iPads as well as their TouchBar equipped MacBook Pro models. These new keyboards are NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but I just HAD to have one for my Mac Mini as it’s just so much more useful. They offer both a full size model with the Number Pad and a Mini edition for those that prefer something that is more compact that gives them more space on their desk. Additionally, some people find it more difficult to transition from a MacBook Pro sized keyboard to the larger model with the Number Pad, especially if you are able to type without looking. As someone who’s been a programmer for 30+ years and used to working on all kinds of keyboards, I am able to adapt easily from a full sized keyboard with a number pad to a laptop sized keyboard or the even smaller iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, which is what I am typing these show notes on right now.
But, moving on about the Apple M1 Macs, even the new GPU in the Apple Silicon models is just so much faster and rendering items on your screen. The graphics processing power is on par with the performance of a really high end Nvidia graphics cards I had used for years in PC based systems. With their advanced Metal and Machine processing capabilities the M1s are not only fantastic for editing and processing videos but for gaming as well. I don’t do much in the way of gaming these days other than an occasional game of Sid Meier’s Railroads.
Their newer GPU is also a plus for editing my photos as well. Whether it’s RAW files from my Canon EOS R, RP, R6 or my Fujifilm GFX 50R, with it’s massive 50MP sensor and wide dynamic range. I have tested RAW editing in Lightroom, Photoshop and Capture One Pro 22 as well. It’s refreshing to be able to pixel peep all you want at ANY zoom in level and not have to wait for rendering at all. Switching through the various tabs, whether it’s the Library, or Develop Modules or in Photoshop using as many layers or filters as you want with no processing delay in either rendering, exporting or saving back into Lightroom Classic CC.
Apple made a genius move with the processor change because now ALL of their devices using the exact same architecture, which makes their coding and programs streamlined and capable of running on all Apple items. Developers can now easily transition their code from iPhone to iPad to Mac. It also makes Security Implementation in ALL their systems. With their Neural Engine and Machine Learning Accelerators, Mac users will have an TRULY all inclusive technology platform across every piece of hardware they own.
The Apple Arcade platform that is now built into all Apple devices including the Apple TV now allows Apple to directly compete with the likes of the Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation consoles. There is also the added benefit that Apple already has vast partnerships with some of the large game developers in the world such as EA Games and Activision just to name a couple and there are many others, too numerous for me to remember off the top of my head, but you get the picture. Fortnite was on Apple as well until the two company’s had a falling out, Apple said back in October of 2021 that they will NEVER allow Fortnite back in the App Store, which is said for the millions of gamers that love to play that title, but so many others are still in there that Apple Arcade is still growing. Add the fact that Apple offers their entire game library in Arcade as a subscription and a gamer can have access to EVERYTHING they love to play. Apple recently enhanced their subscription services to include a new all-inclusive package called Apple One, which gives you ALL six of their subscription services for one low monthly price. You can have Apple Music+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade+, Apple iCloud+, Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+. You can share the services with up to 5 Family Members and each one has their own totally private access to all of the combined services across all of their devices.
I know you are probably thinking this episode has turned into an ad for Apple, but no, I am just pointing out how their M1 platform is a trip in the right direction for the company and their users. It’s also why I find myself recommending Apple computers more and more to average home users and especially photographers and videographers as well. When you can have such a powerful system for as little as $800, why would use want to use anything else? For years I recommended Ubuntu Linux to everyone for home computer use and I still highly recommend it if you want to stay in the PC realm as the operating system is more secure and faster than any Microsoft has ever released, but Linux is still limited in the ability to use the best photo or video editing software. I keep hoping Adobe will port their software over to include Linux as it is very similar to macOS, which is Unix based (basically Linux’s father).
The other major advantage in switching to Apple M1systems is the fact that Apple’s computers last much longer than your average PC based system which is usually as valuable as a paper weight after about a year or two. You can upgrade to a newer Mac every two or three years and still sell your old one for most of the money you originally paid for it.
Ok, that is going to wrap Episode 213 of the Liam Photography Podcast. I want to thank ALL of my listeners once again for Subscribing, Rating and Reviewing in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and anywhere else you might be listening to your podcasts. Also check out my Liam Photography Youtube channel, Subscribe, watch the videos, comment on them, like them and hit the little bell icon so you will be notified when new videos drop and I will see you all again on Sunday for the latest News and Rumors.
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