Apple Brings Its Own Silicon to the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Posted on November 10, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Mac and macOS with 31 Comments

It’s not just the Mac Mini and MacBook Air that’s getting the new M1 processor from Apple. Today, the company is announcing a new MacBook Pro 13-inch with the new M1 processor.

The octa-core M1 processor offers a 2.8x performance gain over the last generation of MacBook Pro. It also offers 5x faster graphics. The new Neural Engine in the M1 processor also enables improved compute power for Machine Learning, and Apple is promising 11x improved Machine Learning performance.

Apple continued to compare its new M1 processor and laptops with Windows devices. The company says the new M1-powered MacBook Pro offers 3x faster than the comparable Windows notebook in its class.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro also introduces significant battery improvements: 17 hours of web battery life, 20 hours of video playback. Longest battery life ever in a Mac, according to the company. The new device features an active cooling system as well. And because of the new macOS update, the MacBook Pro will be able to fully utilise the power of the new M1 processor.

Price-wise, Apple isn’t making any changes, so it starts at the same $1299 price point as before. You can order it today, and Apple will ship them next week.

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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Apple Brings Its Own Silicon to the 13-inch MacBook Pro”

  1. barrywohl

    Touch screen? I want to make the jump from my Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 2, but I don't want to lose touch screen.

  2. waethorn

    *looks at specs*


    $300 for a Touch Bar and a fan.

      • waethorn

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Between the higher-end MacBook Air and the higher MacBook Pro, both have the same number of GPU cores, and those are still $300 apart.

        • Paul Thurrott

          They're still one fan apart too, for some reason. Clearly, the Air is being throttled in a way the Pro is not. We'll soon find out.
          • MikeCerm

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            If the Intel Air is anything to go by, then it's going to be throttled intentionally by design. That model has a fan, but there were no heatpipes connecting the processor to the fan, so it couldn't sustain high clocks for long. It's actually possible to "fix" the problem by installing a thermal pad to transfer heat to the bottom of the laptop. I'm guessing that same "fix" is going to be required on the new Air, or that Apple with have imposed limits in firmware to stop people from getting better performance from the Air.


            With no fan and much smaller logic board in the M1 Air, am really curious to see what they did with all that extra space. They had space for a fan, so to exclude it means they're obviously trying to create a performance gap between the Air and the Pro.

  3. Halo_Effect

    Are there any initial compatibility issues between the M1 Macs and Microsoft Office?

  4. spiderman2

    "3x faster than the comparable Windows notebook in its class"


    which ones? 300$ pcs?

  5. CRoebuck

    Surprised to see the MacBook Pro (and Air) only support a single external display. I guess the M2 will resolve that?....


    https://www.apple.com/uk/macbook-pro-13/specs




  6. jeff.bane

    Does it run apps at this point (beyond the Apple apps)?

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Jeff.Bane:

      Yeah it runs them in emulation. They talked about that in the presentation. Since Apple killed 32 bit apps a while ago there is no 32 vs 64 difference like there is on Windows on Arm.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to Jeff.Bane:

      Yup. They’ve systematically been eliminating things that wouldn’t port well in the last few versions of macOS (such as dropping 32 but support, etc).


      So they’ve talked about a few things, including emulation and some sort of ... recompilation upon download ... sort of thing. I’m not fully sure if the details yet.


      But this isn’t Apple’s first architecture transition rodeo. They’ve been on this bull a few times in the past.


      I expect it to go pretty well. And I’m curious for the benchmarking.

    • sammyg

      In reply to Jeff.Bane:

      Frankly this was the missing piece that needs way more information. I am a Mac user and need certain apps to work well. Going through emulation is not a fantastic choice. Native apps support is key to make this transition.....just ask Microsoft.


      My biggest fear is that the 3rd party vendors will juice up their current iOS version of say Outlook or Word or Photoshop and not truly port the x86/64 version of those apps to this platform and not have true feature to feature support.


      Also where are the benchmarks because this will tell how well things work. No worries there will be reviews on the first day on someone using Adobe Premiere to render some video in emulation and its NOT going to be good IMHO.


      There is not way I would buy one of these Mac's right now. I do think that they will get most apps ported but its going to take a few versions to get there. I will move over once vendors start announcing they are not going to support Intel versions of their apps on Mac anymore and only ARM versions.

  7. remc86007

    They are advertising that it requires active cooling??? Isn't passive cooling one of the primary reasons to move to lower power parts?

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to remc86007:

      Looks like they’ll be using passive and active depending on the product line.


      Want silent, go with the cheaper Air model; but I’m guessing it is thermally limited.


      Full, sustained power likely needs active cooling. Not surprising, really. And it looks like the mini has a fan assembly too.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to remc86007:

      Not really. There are many other reasons to move to lower power parts. The big one is battery life. Also why use more power when you can use less. Power isn't free in terms of money or pollution. It's why they banned the sale (or was it production) of incandescent light bulbs in the US.

    • sammyg

      In reply to remc86007:

      Who said passive cooling was a "primary reason" ?


      The only reason you need passive cooling was because of the limiting form factor of the iPhone/iPad, Apple TV. It also restricted the power of the device.


      Now they can make bigger ARM chips that require more power, produce more heat and are more powerful overall. Using 5nm they should be able to make a bigger ARM chip that is more powerful than the Intel Chips but still use less power and produce less heat than the 14nm Intel stuff. Sure you will need to cool it, but not as much.

  8. Saarek

    This is the one Mac they announced that I was really disappointed in. Still just 16GB Ram limit, still just two USB-C Ports, same 13" screen and bezels, same crud camera.


    The only improvement in this machine is in the CPU/GPU. Yes, I know that these are the most important parts, but the MacBook Pro 13" is way past due a design refresh and I'm fed up with it being a slightly souped-up MacBook Air.


    Will see what happens with the real Pro MacBook, the 16" model, but I'm really dissappointed in this release.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Saarek:

      Do you really need more than 2 USB-C ports? Unless the problem is that both ports are on the same side of the laptop, couldn't you just solve the problem with a hub?

      • Saarek

        In reply to MikeCerm:


        But this is a £1300 "Pro" laptop. Home users will likely not need more than two ports, but actual professionals will. Why should they have to buy a hub?


        I think what this really boils down to is that this MacBook Pro is not actually a MacBook Pro. It's just a halfway house MacBook Air. The real 13" MacBook Pro comes with 4 ports and starts at £1799, but there is no Apple Silicone model of that yet.


        The base MacBook Pro 13" does not deserve the Pro moniker.

        • MikeCerm

          In reply to Saarek:

          Professionals that have all that money to spend on a MacBook Pro and need 4 ports can afford to buy a hub. They probably have one already, because how else can then connect to their mostly USB-A peripherals? Also, nobody wants to goof around with plugging 4 things in every time they dock their laptop at their desk. Get a dock, then you have only 1 thing to plug in at your desk. Maybe 2 if you have some peripheral that needs the full bandwidth of Thunderbolt, but nothing apart from NVMe storage can use anywhere near 40 Gbps.

          • waethorn

            In reply to MikeCerm:

            eGPU


            But the M1 doesn't support it.


            You can also get TB3 USB hubs which have dedicated bandwidth per port, so that 40Gbps gets divided up for each of your peripherals. Comes in handy if you have high-bandwidth USB 3.1/3.2 devices.

            • MikeCerm

              In reply to Waethorn:

              Sure, but eGPU + everything else is still just two ports. I still don't get how any person could realistically NEED all four 40 Gbps ports, that THAT would be the thing that's the make-or-break feature. I mean, if you need that level of connectivity, if you're like "I have an eGPU and three PCIe x4 SSDs that all require full-bandwidth connections, why are you using a laptop? I mean, the MacBook Pros have been thermally throttled by insufficient cooling for years, and you've been fine with that, but you simply cannot survive without more than 2 Thunderbolt ports?

              • waethorn

                In reply to MikeCerm:

                If you're using the power cable that comes with it, it leaves you with 1. Apple's own Thunderbolt adapters are awful. No matter how you look at it, if you use all of their adapters on a desk setup, you're still only dealing with a single USB port because that's all they provide. I figure there's a lot of people that would just end up using a Type-C to Type-A port for everything they have because those are relatively cheap. A single PCIe x4 SSD would require a 40Gbps port to be able to function at full speed. And yes, an eGPU requires an extra port. That leaves you with exactly nothing for charging or hot-swapping a thumb drive, not to mention an external monitor.

                • MikeCerm

                  In reply to Waethorn:

                  Power delivery (PD) is a common feature of USB-C hubs/docks. Power goes into the hub and powers your devices, including the laptop. So, if these laptops supported eGPU, you could use one power for that, and the other port for a hub with PD and everything else you need to connect. Really not a big deal.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Saarek:

      It's not wise to change everything all at once. Let them get the chips changed and then they will change the form factor.

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