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Apple Unveils New Macs Based on Custom-Made Chip

The new chip, dubbed the M1, will soon be available in the latest MacBook Air, Mac mini and MacBook Pros.
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Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report on Tuesday afternoon unveiled its first custom-made microprocessor for the Mac line-up, bringing power and performance improvements to its next generation MacBook Air, Mac mini and MacBook Pro products. The announcements were made at a virtual event entitled "One More Thing," Steve Jobs' famous tagline when introducing splashy new products and services. 

Apple's new chip is called the M1 and is based on a 5 nanometer manufacturing process and designs by Arm. It features Apple’s first system on chip (SoC) for the Mac, an 8-core CPU including four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, an 8-core GPU and 16 billion transistors. 

Apple called it “by far the best chip we’ve ever created” and noted it would be tightly integrated with the upcoming new Mac OS, Big Sur. 

The first products to feature the new chip will be the next generation MacBook Air, Mac mini desktop and MacBook Pro. Among the improvements that M1 enables are faster processing speeds, better battery life, better security, quicker execution of machine learning tasks and silent design for its laptops.

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Apple shares were up 0.8% to $117.14 on Tuesday following the presentation, compared to a 1.1% decline for the Nasdaq. Shares are up about 59% so far year to date.

Apple first announced it was moving from Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report -made chips to its own processors based on Arm designs at its WWDC conference in June, and said the first products based on them would be released by the end of the year. The company has indicated that the transition to having all its Mac products include its own chips will take two years. Apple has been making its own chips for some of its products since 2010, starting with the iPad and then later doing so with the iPhone.

All three new Mac products can be ordered starting today, with the products themselves available next week, while the new Big Sur MacOS will be available as of Nov. 12. The Mac mini will start at $699, $100 less than previously, while the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will have the same starting prices, at $999 and $1,299, respectively.

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