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Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 20, 2010
4,693
1,471
Los Angeles, CA
The launch of the first Apple Silicon Macs has finally come at last and, as much as we were finally shown after months of speculation, and in typical Apple fashion, there's a ton that we still don't know. Before I get into it, here are some facts:

- The first Apple Silicon SoC that we're going to be seeing in Macs is called "M1". This is about as analogous to seeing Intel's Core Duo appear in Macs in 2006 as we're going to get here. We know that M1 is based on the same 5nm process as A14 and is likely cut from the same cloth, despite M1 being the beginning of a separate Mac-specific Apple Silicon SoC family.

- The M1-based MacBook Air was announced, replacing the 2020 Intel 10th Generation Y-series processor based model outright. Aside from everything that M1 brings to the table, this model is otherwise identical to its Intel 10th Gen Y-series predecessor, save for the lack of a system fan. There is a low-end option to only have 7 GPU cores (compared to the 8 GPU cores in every other currently available M1 based Mac). There is no longer a MacBook Air model being sold new from Apple with Intel inside.

- The M1 based 13" MacBook Pro was announced, seeming to specifically replace the 2020 Intel 8th Generation U-series processor based 2-port 13" MacBook Pro, leaving the latter Mac model discontinued with today's announcement. As was the case with the MacBook Air, the ports, maximum RAM and storage options are all unchanged from their Intel predecessors. Unlike the Air, the 13" Pro has active cooling; though the high-end model MacBook Air and all models of M1 based 13" MacBook Pros appear to have the same M1 SoC on paper.

- The 2020 10th Gen Intel based 4-port 13" MacBook Pro did not make the jump to Apple Silicon today which is why it remains on sale. The same is also true of the 2019 (current gen) 16" MacBook Pro as well.

- An M1 based Mac mini was also announced. This seemed to replace the quad-core 8th Generation Intel Core i3 based 2018 Mac mini model; while not replacing the hexa-core 8th generation Core i5 and i7 models, which are still on sale. Confusingly, the M1 Mac mini is marketed as being compared to ONLY this low-end Mac mini in terms of performance benchmarks and not the other Mac minis (though the M1 should still compare favorably to the Core i5 and i7 in the 2018 mini, though maybe not quite as well). The M1 Mac mini loses half of the Thunderbolt 3 ports from the 2018 8th Gen Intel models, loses the 10 Gigabit Ethernet option, and has a fourth of the maximum RAM capacity of the Intel models it is still sold alongside. The Apple Silicon Mac mini returns to the Silver color of the 2010-2014 Mac minis; the space gray color only having been for the 2018 Mac mini and DTK Mac minis, with no stated significance behind these color choices and generations.

- The M1 Mac mini is the only Apple Silicon introduction that technically has an overlap with the Mac it is supposed to be replacing; the Air and 2-port 13" MacBook Pro both made the transition to Apple Silicon with the Intel models being discontinued outright at launch.

- The M1 Mac mini announcement was a total surprise predicted by no major leakers or sources; this happens with some product launches, but not as commonly as it has been in the Tim Cook era

- Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports on M1 Macs now support USB4 as well. There appears to be a Thunderbolt controller that is integrated into the SoC rather than being a discrete controller (as has been done on every Thunderbolt-based Intel Mac that isn't the 2020 Intel 10th Gen based 4-port 13" MacBook Pro).

- The M1, on paper, is identical between the Apple Silicon MacBook Air, Mac mini, and 2-port 13" MacBook Pro, with only one deviation at the low end of the MacBook Air line (and that being the difference between a 7-core GPU and an 8-core GPU). We are also not told the CPU speed in any of Apple's marketing materials.

- 16GB of RAM seems to be the standard maximum RAM across the board with these three Macs. This is the same as it was on the Intel MacBook Air and 2-port 13" MacBook Pro (which was still on LPDDR3 while on Intel). However, this is one fourth of what it is on the Intel Mac mini currently.

- There was no introduction of FaceID, and the webcam is still 720p, though the Neural Engine and advances in Apple Silicon since the A10 that the T2 is based on have enabled software features to improve the picture quality.

- eGPUs, as we know them today, won't be compatible with M1 Macs.

- M7 was the start of Apple publicizing its motion co-processors. They did this for a while before eventually embedding them into the parent A series SoC. It will be interesting to see what they do with the 7th generation M-series SoC.

Given all of this, here's my take on the hardware portion of this transition, where it is now, and what it indicates of things in the future:

- It was widely believed that the jump of the 13" MacBook Pro to Apple Silicon would result in the 4-port model making the jump while the 2-port model would get discontinued. Instead, the 2-port model made the jump and the 4-port model remains having not made the jump. From the standpoint of merely moving over the lowest end of the Mac lineup to Apple Silicon first, this makes total sense. However, the Air improved enough such that the differences between the M1 Air and the M1 13" Pro seem to be minimal at best.

- Maybe the M1 is clocked higher on the 13" Pro (which is actively cooled) and Mac mini than it is on the Air? Even then, if one gets a really good cooling pad for when they want to put their Air through its paces, does that even it out? Otherwise, I'm unsure as to the point of there being two different laptops that are otherwise that similar in performance. Similarly, how much more or less powerful is an M1 Mac mini to an M1 (2-Port) 13" MacBook Pro? Are we back to the 2009-2014 era of the 13" MacBook Pro basically being the portable version of the Mac mini? Apple is now at a point with its Macs where, much like iPhones and iPads, it's up to the benchmarking tools to really show performance differences relative to each model. (At least, in the PowerPC days, there were still posted clock speeds on their chips for that kind of context).

- The 2-port 13" MacBook Pro having actually made the jump and the 4-port 13" Pro having not made the jump does kind of pave the way for the latter to get redesigned as the 14" Apple Silicon MacBook Pro alongside the redesigned and Apple Silicon'ed 16" MacBook Pro. It also makes sense that Apple elected to update the 4-port model with 10th Gen Intel, but not the 2-port model (effectively being similar to how Apple updated the 27" iMac with 10th Gen Intel, but not the 21.5" iMac, for which an Apple Silicon replacement would likely come out way sooner)

- While the M1 MacBook Air and 2-port 13" MacBook Pro maintain most specs and features of their now-discontinued Intel predecessors, the Mac mini is missing 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, it lost a 10GbE upgrade for the Ethernet that had pretty much spread to every Mac desktop save for the 21.5" iMac (including the 2018 Mac mini), and it has a maximum RAM capacity of 16GB. The RAM capacity bit is interesting as 16GB was the limit on the 2020 Intel versions of the Air and the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro, and therefore, those models didn't change in this regard. However, all Intel Mac mini models maxed at 64GB of RAM.

- Given the above, there's no reason for Apple to produce a Mac model on a newer processor architecture at the onset of a processor architecture transition that compromises on features from the version of that Mac model with the outgoing processor architecture UNLESS THEY HAVE TO. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports is normal on a MacBook Air and a 2-port 13" MacBook Pro. That's what it was a week ago for those models. That's what it is now. It's not on a Thunderbolt 3 Mac mini. 16GB as the maximum RAM amount is normal on a MacBook Air and on a 2-port 13" MacBook Pro. That's what it was a week ago for those models. That's what it is now. It's not on a Mac mini. While it could merely be that Apple is treating this transition in terms of replacing shipping SKUs rather than replacing product lines, it doesn't make much sense from an elegance standpoint. Apple very likely CAN'T have M1 utilize more than 16GB of RAM. Similarly, the Thunderbolt controller that it is embedding into M1 may very well be limited at 2 ports. Intel may still require use of THEIR controllers to get more than 2 ports on something that isn't one of their controllers (or Ice Lake CPUs where the controller is integrated into the Intel CPU). Many have implied that RAM usage may be so drastically different that 16GB might be all that is needed on an M1 Mac. There will most definitely be a need for more than 16GB of RAM on higher-end Macs. There will MOST DEFINITELY be a need for more than 16 GB of RAM on higher-end Mac minis. Apple producing a Mac mini with these deficits compared to its predecessor may be tipping their hand as to where they're limited with these Macs. It may end up being that a 14" MacBook Pro is merely the same as the M1 13" MacBook Pro but with the bezel treatment (and that all sub-16" MacBook Pros may be 2-port only from now on due to the limitations in Apple's embedded Thunderbolt controller). There may yet also be a higher-tier SoC to drop that resolves all of these shortcomings. M1X perhaps?

- Apple likely isn't ready to launch Apple Silicon iMacs or an Apple Silicon 16" MacBook Pro due to (currently) only being able to support 2 Thunderbolt ports and a maximum of 16GB of RAM rather than it being a CPU or GPU performance issue (as M1 likely bests anything you can outfit a current 16" MacBook Pro with both in terms of CPU and GPU performance [provided Metal is involved and everything is optimized accordingly]). 8GB and 16GB are the highest RAM capacities of any known Apple Silicon SoC.

- Depending on how or even if the 4-port 13" MacBook Pro makes the jump to Apple Silicon, we may see a merger between the Air and the 2-port 13" Pro (being more similar now than ever before). We may see the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro be rebranded as something else ("MacBook", which would at least be appropriate considering its 2006 roots, or "MacBook Air", which would also be appropriate given that the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro originally was the modern successor to the 2010-2017 Air); it could also be that the 4-port 13" MacBook Pro just gets discontinued and that the current M1 based model just gets a screen size bump and bezel reduction to become a 2-port 14" MacBook Pro. I'd think that'd be lame, but it's possible. Keeping a two model scheme for the 13" MacBook Pro on the other side of this transition seems unlikely.

- While M1 (or at least this[/these] iteration of M1) is likely more powerful than most Intel Macs, these apparent limitations (as being the only possible reason as to why (a) a replacement to an Intel Mac mini has one fourth the maximum RAM capacity and half the Thunderbolt 3 ports as its direct predecessor or (b) the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro went first in the transition before the 4-port version) are why we don't yet have our rumored Apple Silicon replacement to the Intel 21.5" iMac, despite such a Mac having been long rumored by many reliable leakers/analysts to be among the first Macs to make the jump. It's also likely that M1, having only gone into the lower-end Macs first is effectively the 2013-2019 Intel U-series equivalent chip that, in addition to being on a MacBook Air, is also found on the lowest end iMac and (pre-2018) Mac mini.

- Given the above, despite comparisons being drawn to the PowerPC to Intel transition of 2005/2006 being "completed" in a full year (and one less than the 2 years that was originally forecast), this may ACTUALLY be full 2-year transition.

- Most of the points I am making now would not be as evident or even debatable if Apple had ONLY introduced the MacBook Air and 2-port 13" MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon (though it might still spark discussion given that the lower-end 13" was refreshed when the expectation was that the opposite would instead occur). The M1 Mac mini definitely gave a ton of clues and insight as to what Apple is currently ready to announce and what the limitations on very early gen Apple Silicon Macs might be. (I'm sure we'll see 32+GB Macs as well as Macs with more than two Thunderbolt 3 Ports on Apple Silicon).

- The lack of customization on GPU (beyond on the MacBook Air) or CPU is a first for the Mac. I imagine that the CPU will vary by model (hopefully it will be clearer as to the performance disparity between the various Mac models; otherwise it will become a mere game of "pick your form factor"). But this otherwise radically changes how different Mac models are marketed against each other; an unexpected convention carried over from the iPad and iPhone product lines.

- The future of the 13" MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air to a much lesser extent) is even more murky and raises more questions than was had prior to the M1 launch event

- It seems highly unlikely that M1 in the form that it exists on the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro that was just announced will be what we see on the 16" MacBook Pro, any iMac, or Mac Pro. Non-Pro iMacs have had two Thunderbolt 3 Ports (and still do today), but the lack of a 32GB RAM option would hurt on all but the most entry level 21.5" iMacs. Apple could've done with the 21.5"/24" iMac what it did with the M1 Mac mini, but Apple may be olding out for something special for the iMac (as was sort of rumored with the "A14T" though, it's most likely that, barring any marketing confusion with the pre-existing Apple motion co-processors, the Mac processors will all start with "M").

- eGPUs using AMD GPUs may end on Intel Macs, but that doesn't seem to preclude Apple making their own Apple Silicon Mac specific eGPU to enable higher-end performance on lower-end Apple Silicon Macs such as the ones that they announced today. That could definitely be appealing for someone only needing performance while stationary, but otherwise being fine with a lower-end MacBook Air while out and about.

- If we do get one last Intel 16" MacBook Pro per recent Boot Camp leaks, it may be a very silent refresh; either way the Mac mini situation clearly shows that while CPU and GPU performance of the M1 is ready to contend with the 2019 16" MacBook Pro; there are other limitations that make it not as ready otherwise. RAM and Thunderbolt ports are huge things to be missing.

tl;dr: The surprise introduction of the Apple Silicon Mac mini reveals the most about the state of Apple's transition away from Intel while giving even more questions about its future. Meanwhile the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro having made the jump to Apple Silicon instead of the 4-port version answers some longstanding Apple Silicon questions, while creating many more new ones (such as "which of the two models will eventually become the rumored 14" Model?" and "what will happen to the 4-port 13" MacBook Pro?"). Exciting times!
 
Last edited:

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
586
496
California
- It seems highly unlikely that M1 in the form that it exists on the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro that was just announced will be what we see on the 16" MacBook Pro, any iMac, or Mac Pro.

I predict we'll see a 16" MBP (and maybe a four port 13" MBP) with a "2M1" processor, i.e. two M1's linked via some sort of high speed connection. This would bump the maximum RAM to 32GB, high speed cores to 8, double the GPU, and provide 4 Thunderbolt ports.

This still doesn't give any insight into what might appear in an iMac. Maybe a 4M1?
 

leman

macrumors P6
Oct 14, 2008
16,512
14,006
What we see here is Apple streamlining their hardware platform while leaving the actual product lineup as chaotic as ever.

M1 makes a lot of sense for Apple — using the same SoC makes good use of the economy of scale and is able to soak up any mispredictions of demand. M1 also makes sense for the users that are looking to purchase an entry-level Mac — it supports enough I/O and RAM to be competitive in it's segment, while offering performance that is unread of in it's segment. There is little doubt that Apple is working on larger systems, be it SoC or systems-on-a-package, with more I/O, more RAM, and more CPU/GPU clusters. So far so good.

The lineup though... I kind of wish they would go back to the old good times of Air, MacBook (consumer), MacBook Pro (two sizes). This was a good opportunity to drop the Pro moniker from the two-port model. I don't know why they wouldn't do it. Maybe their market research shows that people are more likely to buy a computer if there is "Pro" written on it. Maybe they are afraid of the negative connotation of the MacBook brand, after the 12" model. As to the Mac mini... I understand that some people who were using them as "cheap" Mac servers would be upset, but there is a tradeoff between price, design complexity and features. Making M1 more complex (and more expensive) just to satisfy that very niche group of users is no nessesarily the best thing to do from the business standpoint.

P.S. Thanks for the detailed write-up by the way, very thorough!
 

MayaTlab

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2007
316
295
- The future of the 13" MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air to a much lesser extent) is even more murky and raises more questions than was had prior to the M1 launch event

Honestly I don't think so. Apple's modus operandi for the 13" MBP's design evolution over the last decade tends to follow a similar pattern : they keep the older design at the lower price point for a while and bring the novel features at the higher price points until cost has diminished enough that they can bring it at the lower ones. That's been the case for various new features (retina, Touch Bar, etc.).

If the four TB ports 13" MBP is indeed replaced by a 14" MBP with mini LED screen and a comprehensive redesign, given the latter's novelty, cost, supply constraints, etc., I would find it quite unsurprising to see it introduced at the $1999 price point. Apple will keep the 13" two ports for a while until they can 14" mini-LED the whole lineup starting at $1299 at which point the similarities between the 13" MBA and the MBP lineup won't be a problem anymore, even if the lower end 14" MBPs at $1299 continue to use similar processors as the MBAs while the higher-end $1999 14" MBPs use more powerful M SoCs.
 

tdar

macrumors 65816
Jun 23, 2003
1,479
1,116
Alpharetta GA.
The Apple Mac line has 6 models (with variations). Tuesday brought change to 3 of them. 3 more to go.

iMac- I fully believe that we will see new iMac's in Q1 2021. M2? /mini-led LCD/Apple dGPU
I am not sure about a new iMac Pro but maybe, it would be a 32" and use the Pro DisplayXDR as a base of design.

Larger Macbook Pro's- The "4port" models will be upgraded to a M2?/Apple dGPU design. Mini-led backlight. 14 and 16 inch displays. Q2 release.

Mac Pro- a new pro that is about half the size is in development. I expect that it will be previewed at WWDC. No clarity about specs. But the iMac and MB Pro's will provide clues.

I do not expect any more models than this. What about high spec mini? Replaced by new (mini) Pro.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
7,466
1,886
none
My prediction is that we will soon see two more chips.

The M1 is clearly the low power entry level chip. Then there will be something for the middle... we we see this in the 4 port / high-end 13" (or 14") MBP and the low end 16" MBP. We may even see it in an entry-level iMac.

Then we will get the higher end, which will make its way into the top spec 16" MBP and another version of this will likely be powering the 27" (or larger) iMac.
 

Kostask

macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2020
230
104
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I think that there will be a "midrange" version coming of the AS SoC in the spring. My only question is whether there will be a "pro" version or will they just go with multiple "midrange" SoCs in the high end machines. it really ends up depending on what is in the "midrange" SoCs. If there is provision for dGPUs, large amounts of off SoC RAM, and inter-SoC communications, I could see then going with muliple "midrange" SoCs in the High End machines, if those features are deemed to expensive (in terms of silicon wafer cost), then there could be a "midrange" SoC (8-12P cores, 4E Cores, the standard "extras", 4USB4/TB ports, 12-16 GPU cores) and a "high end" SoC (maybe 16P cores, 4 E cores, standard "extras", no GPU cores, multiple SoC communications logic, dGPU interface logic). Only time will tell.

I don't see either midrange or high end machines using muliople M1 SoCs. There are way too many compromises made in the name of cost and power efficiency to make this viable. The lack of off SoC RAM being one, the lack of inter SoC communications provisioning is another.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
7,466
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I am surprised that I haven't seen anyone post about this yet on these forums? Maybe I just missed it

1605273419950.png
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G4
Mar 10, 2009
10,665
2,617
The launch of the first Apple Silicon Macs has finally come at last and, as much as we were finally shown after months of speculation, and in typical Apple fashion, there's a ton that we still don't know. Before I get into it, here are some facts:



- eGPUs, as we know them today, won't be compatible with M1 Macs.

There are a couple of problematic inferences here but I'll just pick this one up for now.

This "eGPUs have radically changed" notion and much of the other stuff that follows from it isn't well grounded in anything that Apple released earlier in the week. It is more deeply grounded in what they did not release around 6 months ago.

This isn't a hardware thing about the M1. This is mainly about drivers. And not just for GPUs. I did a bit of poking around on Sonnet and some other PCI-e card vendors sites and I really didn't seen anyone sounding the trumpets on their macOS 11 support right now.
Slow web documentations teams or bigger all around stall ?

Noticed also that Parallels is talking about how that they now have access to these new M1 Macs so can make progress to completing development of new VM solution. VMWare Fusion website ... crickets chirping there as well on "day one" M-series ready.

WWDC there was no 3rd party driver support in the GPU support matrix. And then the DTK had no way for folks to even work on 3rd PCI-e card driver support. No Thunderbolt. No internal slots . How exactly where folks suppose to seriously develop the new arm based drivers when can't hook up their products to the system. So very probably got little work done. And frankly, even on the Intel macOS 11 side there is major driver curveballs to handle.

I think it is way too early to "call" there has been major change to eGPUs when.

i. Most (or many) of the other PCI-e cards are in the same "6-8 month lag " boat.

ii. Apple didn't project that there was be as solution in the GPU space for 11.0 anyway.
( That doesn't mean it is permanent state. May mean that it isn't a 11.0 "feature". )

iii. it is a "brand new" TB controller ( either Apple did it themselves of snagged ASMedia's).
" Apple claims new , even broader device compatibility, but on what merit. Marketing spin or they went out and test 10,000's of devices themselves with their super-duper secret system ? )



External GPUs probably aren't going to be clear until the arrival of iMac 24-27 models and/or WWDC 2021. Earliest probably need a couple more months for folks to even get started on doing the work now that have something they can actually make progress on.



[ PPC -> Intel transition DTK actually came with slots so there wasn't a hardware delay in getting started there. This transition is bound to be a more bumpy ride in the early phases as it was more incomplete in coverage. User level apps will be closer.

Apple does not have an existing complete line up to go to and so it won't flow out the same way. ]
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
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May 20, 2010
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I predict we'll see a 16" MBP (and maybe a four port 13" MBP) with a "2M1" processor, i.e. two M1's linked via some sort of high speed connection. This would bump the maximum RAM to 32GB, high speed cores to 8, double the GPU, and provide 4 Thunderbolt ports.

This still doesn't give any insight into what might appear in an iMac. Maybe a 4M1?
While I think it would be cool to return to having multiple processor Macs, I have a feeling that we either won't see this on anything that isn't a Mac Pro, or we just won't see it period. It would have to depend on the SoCs working together in such a way so as to maintain efficiency of data flow between them. Not to say that it is impossible, but that it seems like it would at least break Apple's unified memory efficiency.
What we see here is Apple streamlining their hardware platform while leaving the actual product lineup as chaotic as ever.

M1 makes a lot of sense for Apple — using the same SoC makes good use of the economy of scale and is able to soak up any mispredictions of demand. M1 also makes sense for the users that are looking to purchase an entry-level Mac — it supports enough I/O and RAM to be competitive in it's segment, while offering performance that is unread of in it's segment. There is little doubt that Apple is working on larger systems, be it SoC or systems-on-a-package, with more I/O, more RAM, and more CPU/GPU clusters. So far so good.

The lineup though... I kind of wish they would go back to the old good times of Air, MacBook (consumer), MacBook Pro (two sizes). This was a good opportunity to drop the Pro moniker from the two-port model. I don't know why they wouldn't do it. Maybe their market research shows that people are more likely to buy a computer if there is "Pro" written on it. Maybe they are afraid of the negative connotation of the MacBook brand, after the 12" model. As to the Mac mini... I understand that some people who were using them as "cheap" Mac servers would be upset, but there is a tradeoff between price, design complexity and features. Making M1 more complex (and more expensive) just to satisfy that very niche group of users is no nessesarily the best thing to do from the business standpoint.

I totally agree; them replacing the 2-port model (and not the 4-port model as we all had expected) is messy, as is only partially replacing the Intel Mac mini. I do hope that they rectify both "messes" in the lineup by the time the transition is complete. I think they will. It's just sort of annoying that, at least on the Mac mini side, you appear to have a Mac mini aimed at pros (Intel) and one aimed at consumers (Apple Silicon/M1) and, ideally, the more powerful one is the one that's an upgrade in every possible way.

P.S. Thanks for the detailed write-up by the way, very thorough!
Thanks man!

Honestly I don't think so. Apple's modus operandi for the 13" MBP's design evolution over the last decade tends to follow a similar pattern : they keep the older design at the lower price point for a while and bring the novel features at the higher price points until cost has diminished enough that they can bring it at the lower ones. That's been the case for various new features (retina, Touch Bar, etc.).

If the four TB ports 13" MBP is indeed replaced by a 14" MBP with mini LED screen and a comprehensive redesign, given the latter's novelty, cost, supply constraints, etc., I would find it quite unsurprising to see it introduced at the $1999 price point. Apple will keep the 13" two ports for a while until they can 14" mini-LED the whole lineup starting at $1299 at which point the similarities between the 13" MBA and the MBP lineup won't be a problem anymore, even if the lower end 14" MBPs at $1299 continue to use similar processors as the MBAs while the higher-end $1999 14" MBPs use more powerful M SoCs.

This isn't Apple's usual "let's keep the old model around for a while". I do believe that they'll need to do that with something like the 16" MacBook Pro or the Mac Pro. But we're not at THAT particular point just yet. Apple had two 13" MacBook Pro models that might as well had been different Macs altogether. As they did with the MacBook Air (discontinuing the Intel version as they release the Apple Silicon version), so did they with the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro. The 4-port 13" MacBook Pro isn't merely a "hey, we left this model here for you to have old and new to pick from", it's merely a matter that the 4-port 13" MacBook Pro did not make the jump yet. Considering that they seem to be unable to match the 4-port model's...well...4 ports, or its 32GB RAM capacity, that may be why Apple didn't just give us one single 13" MacBook Pro to replace both 13" MacBook Pro models at once.

I think there continuing to be two 13" MacBook Pros makes the future of the smaller size MacBook Pro a little weird. Sure, the 4-port 13" model may very well become the 14" MacBook Pro with next year's rumored redesign (in which the 16" MacBook Pro also makes the jump). That sounds much more likely now. However, what of the 2-port 13" MacBook Pro that now has the M1? Are we going to have two 13" Macs (Air and 2-port 13" Pro) alongside the 14" MacBook Pro and 16" MacBook Pro? Or will the 2-port 13" Pro and the Air merge given that a fan, touchbar, and some minor odds and ends are all that separate them now?

The Apple Mac line has 6 models (with variations). Tuesday brought change to 3 of them. 3 more to go.

iMac- I fully believe that we will see new iMac's in Q1 2021. M2? /mini-led LCD/Apple dGPU
I am not sure about a new iMac Pro but maybe, it would be a 32" and use the Pro DisplayXDR as a base of design.

Larger Macbook Pro's- The "4port" models will be upgraded to a M2?/Apple dGPU design. Mini-led backlight. 14 and 16 inch displays. Q2 release.

Mac Pro- a new pro that is about half the size is in development. I expect that it will be previewed at WWDC. No clarity about specs. But the iMac and MB Pro's will provide clues.

I do not expect any more models than this. What about high spec mini? Replaced by new (mini) Pro.
2 and a half. The Mac mini still isn't done moving over. They need more RAM options, two more Thunderbolt ports (at least to restore port parity with the 2018 model; but they could also just put more USB A ports to compensate). They didn't beef up the 2018 Mac mini to be able to be used by professionals only to nix ports and RAM options. I could see them trying to cater the smaller sized iMac for that audience, but it would still be a messy way to transition the Mac mini over.

I'd honestly take the Bloomberg Mac Pro rumors with a grain of salt. Apple just finished pulling themselves out of the dog house with the 2019 Mac Pro. I severely doubt that they'll have a radically different design. We might see different graphics options, but a tower with PCIe expandability is definitely staying on the table. I'd also be wary of rumors suggesting an Apple dGPU. The whole point that they keep stressing is unified memory. I don't doubt that they will make a scaled up version of M1 that resolves its shortcomings while delivering even better GPU performance, but I do doubt that it will be a dGPU in any recognizable sense.
My prediction is that we will soon see two more chips.

The M1 is clearly the low power entry level chip. Then there will be something for the middle... we we see this in the 4 port / high-end 13" (or 14") MBP and the low end 16" MBP. We may even see it in an entry-level iMac.

Then we will get the higher end, which will make its way into the top spec 16" MBP and another version of this will likely be powering the 27" (or larger) iMac.

Multiple tiers of Mac chips seem likely. Either that or we'll see M2 with more than 16GB of RAM and more than 2 Thunderbolt ports. M1 having those limitations could be akin to the Core Duo being a 32-bit only Intel chip (and therefore a downgrade in terms of 32-bit vs. 64-bit when compared to the PowerPC G5) with the Core 2 Duo processors following with 64-bit in tow. M1 may be putting every Intel Mac to shame right now, but we'll one day look back on it as being the weakest of the Apple Silicon Mac SoCs.

I think that there will be a "midrange" version coming of the AS SoC in the spring. My only question is whether there will be a "pro" version or will they just go with multiple "midrange" SoCs in the high end machines. it really ends up depending on what is in the "midrange" SoCs. If there is provision for dGPUs, large amounts of off SoC RAM, and inter-SoC communications, I could see then going with muliple "midrange" SoCs in the High End machines, if those features are deemed to expensive (in terms of silicon wafer cost), then there could be a "midrange" SoC (8-12P cores, 4E Cores, the standard "extras", 4USB4/TB ports, 12-16 GPU cores) and a "high end" SoC (maybe 16P cores, 4 E cores, standard "extras", no GPU cores, multiple SoC communications logic, dGPU interface logic). Only time will tell.

I don't see either midrange or high end machines using muliople M1 SoCs. There are way too many compromises made in the name of cost and power efficiency to make this viable. The lack of off SoC RAM being one, the lack of inter SoC communications provisioning is another.

I'm really wondering about the "inter SoC communications" element. I'm skeptical that we'll see dual-SoC models, but if they work out that element, I don't see why that couldn't be possible. Certainly it would make 32GB of RAM and 4 Thunderbolt ports possible (albeit, it might still not get us to 64GB and beyond).

I am surprised that I haven't seen anyone post about this yet on these forums? Maybe I just missed it

View attachment 1663987

That's what their Intel predecessors use. It does seem likely that the 13" MacBook Pro with M1 is specc'ed to be more powerful than the MacBook Air with M1. It's very annoying that specs don't shed any light on the differential between the two Macs.

There are a couple of problematic inferences here but I'll just pick this one up for now.

This "eGPUs have radically changed" notion and much of the other stuff that follows from it isn't well grounded in anything that Apple released earlier in the week. It is more deeply grounded in what they did not release around 6 months ago.

This isn't a hardware thing about the M1. This is mainly about drivers. And not just for GPUs. I did a bit of poking around on Sonnet and some other PCI-e card vendors sites and I really didn't seen anyone sounding the trumpets on their macOS 11 support right now.
Slow web documentations teams or bigger all around stall ?

Noticed also that Parallels is talking about how that they now have access to these new M1 Macs so can make progress to completing development of new VM solution. VMWare Fusion website ... crickets chirping there as well on "day one" M-series ready.

WWDC there was no 3rd party driver support in the GPU support matrix. And then the DTK had no way for folks to even work on 3rd PCI-e card driver support. No Thunderbolt. No internal slots . How exactly where folks suppose to seriously develop the new arm based drivers when can't hook up their products to the system. So very probably got little work done. And frankly, even on the Intel macOS 11 side there is major driver curveballs to handle.

I think it is way too early to "call" there has been major change to eGPUs when.

i. Most (or many) of the other PCI-e cards are in the same "6-8 month lag " boat.

ii. Apple didn't project that there was be as solution in the GPU space for 11.0 anyway.
( That doesn't mean it is permanent state. May mean that it isn't a 11.0 "feature". )

iii. it is a "brand new" TB controller ( either Apple did it themselves of snagged ASMedia's).
" Apple claims new , even broader device compatibility, but on what merit. Marketing spin or they went out and test 10,000's of devices themselves with their super-duper secret system ? )



External GPUs probably aren't going to be clear until the arrival of iMac 24-27 models and/or WWDC 2021. Earliest probably need a couple more months for folks to even get started on doing the work now that have something they can actually make progress on.



[ PPC -> Intel transition DTK actually came with slots so there wasn't a hardware delay in getting started there. This transition is bound to be a more bumpy ride in the early phases as it was more incomplete in coverage. User level apps will be closer.

Apple does not have an existing complete line up to go to and so it won't flow out the same way. ]

I think you read a bit too much into what I was saying. I didn't say that eGPUs were changing. I was saying that eGPUs that currently work for Intel Macs won't work on Apple Silicon Macs. That Apple only allows their own GPUs to work with Apple Silicon Macs. Might we see an Apple made eGPU to boost lower-end Apple Silicon Macs with added GPU performance? I couldn't say. All that I CAN say is that we are not seeing eGPUs with AMD GPUs in tow running on Apple Silicon Macs. That such an ability seems to be exclusive to Intel Macs.
 
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leman

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Oct 14, 2008
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I totally agree; them replacing the 2-port model (and not the 4-port model as we all had expected) is messy, as is only partially replacing the Intel Mac mini. I do hope that they rectify both "messes" in the lineup by the time the transition is complete. I think they will. It's just sort of annoying that, at least on the Mac mini side, you appear to have a Mac mini aimed at pros (Intel) and one aimed at consumers (Apple Silicon/M1) and, ideally, the more powerful one is the one that's an upgrade in every possible way.

If I remember it correctly, the very reason why they have introduced the two-port MBP is because of Intel's yield issues So the low-end 13" was introduced as a kind of a stop-gap for people looking to purchase a "large" MacBook Air. I specifically remember Tim Cook mentioning something like "I think our Air users will love it" on the stage. Maybe this model is selling so well that they decided to keep it. Who knows... I do hope that it gets dropped/renamed, it's completely unnecessary.
 

thenewperson

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Mar 27, 2011
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I do hope that it gets dropped/renamed, it's completely unnecessary
Since they've given this more of a purpose since the rMBA was released I hope they just rename it to "MacBook". Makes a lot more sense for it to have that name than the last Mac that carried it at least. Also kind of like the opposite of the graduation of the 13" MacBook to an MBP back in 2009.
 

Yebubbleman

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If I remember it correctly, the very reason why they have introduced the two-port MBP is because of Intel's yield issues So the low-end 13" was introduced as a kind of a stop-gap for people looking to purchase a "large" MacBook Air. I specifically remember Tim Cook mentioning something like "I think our Air users will love it" on the stage. Maybe this model is selling so well that they decided to keep it. Who knows... I do hope that it gets dropped/renamed, it's completely unnecessary.
The 2-port 13" MacBook Pro used the same class of Intel CPUs that were in the 2011-2017 MacBook Airs and was basically the continuation of that Mac (the 2018-2020 Intel Airs were the continuation of the 12" Retina MacBook). I think they would've otherwise marketed it as the "retina MacBook Air" were it not for the fact that they were seemingly in the process of nixing the "Air" branding across their products at the time. Now that M1 is a thing (and classes of Intel CPUs don't really matter anymore), it doesn't make much sense that there are two 13" MacBook Pros.
Since they've given this more of a purpose since the rMBA was released I hope they just rename it to "MacBook". Makes a lot more sense for it to have that name than the last Mac that carried it at least. Also kind of like the opposite of the graduation of the 13" MacBook to an MBP back in 2009.
Right. That "graduation" was only on the basis of the NVIDIA iGPU being markedly better than the contemporary Intel GPU at the time. When that all ended with the 2011 13" Pros, I felt like we had regressed back. At least the Intel HD 4000 was comparable to the NVIDIA iGPU in a 13" MacBook Pro. But yeah, that graduation was dumb. They should've dropped the "Pro" branding on the M1 13" MacBook Pro; that way, at least it would make sense when the 4-port 13" Pro makes the transition and becomes the 14" MacBook Pro.
 

Yebubbleman

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I'm curious as to the future of the M1 Macs that are already out there and maybe more than I am about the Apple Silicon Macs that have yet to make the jump, with the exception of the 4-port 13" MacBook Pro (and the Mac Pro, given how drastic that change will probably have to be). Like, are both going to become the 14" MacBook Pro (with two sizes continuing)? Or will a 4-port 14" MacBook Pro replace both 13" MacBook Pros especially in light of how redundant the M1 2-port 13" MacBook Pro is compared to the Air for 90% of use cases?

And what will Apple replace the higher-end Intel Mac mini models with? I feel like the only Mac whose future seems pretty much cut and dried is the MacBook Air. I feel like they'll keep the 13" size and maybe give it a redesign in one to three years. But otherwise, it will probably continue on similarly to how it is now.
 

imMango

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Jun 10, 2011
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I wonder if the new MBP’s (presumably 14”/16”) will go the way of the iPad Pro line with the only difference being the screen size. Discontinue the 13” MBP M1 next cycle and you’ve got a lineup very similar to the iPad Air/Pro. And then reintroduce the 12” budget model - a M1-based “MacBook” next cycle when everything moves to M2.
 

Yebubbleman

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May 20, 2010
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I wonder if the new MBP’s (presumably 14”/16”) will go the way of the iPad Pro line with the only difference being the screen size. Discontinue the 13” MBP M1 next cycle and you’ve got a lineup very similar to the iPad Air/Pro. And then reintroduce the 12” budget model - a M1-based “MacBook” next cycle when everything moves to M2.
I don't think an M1 12" MacBook makes sense. I know that machine has a cult following. But I think the M1 13" Air proves that Apple shifted direction that way and is cool with having done so.

Otherwise, I agree that it makes sense to consolidate both 13" MacBook Pros into the 14" MacBook Pro, down the road and have the 14" MacBook Pro just be a smaller version of the 16" MacBook Pro. Certainly makes more sense than an Air and a 2-port 13" Pro that are functionally identical for 85-90% of workloads. This whole "to fan or not to fan; that is the question" nonsense is exactly that - nonsense.
 
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