The creation of Apple’s M1 chip, told by them

Within the strategy of publicizing new products, Apple now includes interviews with selected media not only to talk about technical things but also to facilitate the “sauce”.

I suppose it’s about playing the trick: today I’ll give the interview to you, next time I’ll give it to you … and thus break the image of secrecy and indifference that many times characterizes Apple, which -as we have also said many times – plays his own game, apparently without much concern for what is happening around him.

An exemplary case of this is the creation of the M1, the new generation of System on a chip (SoC) that Apple has developed to make its computers the most powerful in the world.

Although most people – including those who are going to buy an Apple computer with the new architecture – do not understand the scope of what has happened (many will not connect the current situation with Apple developing their own smartphone and what supposed for the competition), the truth is that Apple has taken a quantum leap that has the potential to leave other chipmakers staring at its nape as it sped away.

If the speed of development of the iPhone chips (which is already in the 14th generation) is any indication, the road map of Apple computers has its evolution written at a rate that others simply will not be able to sustain. .

In this case, to explain a bit about the process of creating Apple’s System-on-a-M1 chip, three company heavyweights, Chief Marketing Officer Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak, Chief Software Officer Craig Federighi and Chief Engineering Officer of hardware, John Ternus, se met with journalists from the Independent to discuss the ins and outs of the process that led to the presentation. In passing, they have answered some of the most insistent questions that the benefit has left.

Here we extract the most interesting parts of their answers.

On the power and efficiency of the chip

“We surpass ourselves,” says Craig Federighi. “There are times when you have projects with objectives to be achieved in which you say, well, we have stayed close, we are worth it. But in this M1 project, part of what has us all jumping for joy and smiling is that, as the pieces fit together, we said to ourselves “this is working even better than we thought”.

“Battery consumption figures started to come in and we were like,“ It must be a joke. I thought we had people who knew how to estimate these things. “

About the team

John Ternus says: “A dynamic started to build within the teams that were so passionate and excited about the product that they wanted to keep pushing the boundaries, keep optimizing: ‘How much more can we improve it? How much more can we improve it? ‘”

So many medals come a time when it sounds a bit like they are selling the bike, so Federighi adds: “We really want everyone to start using computers and experience the same as us, because I think the product it sells itself. We are the first to be surprised by the result of our work, and we are very happy to be able to share it with clients ”.

About the first generation

The new Soc has the number one in the name (M1) and therefore it cannot be ignored that Apple is asking people to trust totally new hardware to house the most important things in their lives.

Joz, for what it’s worth, points out that he “bought one of the new computers yesterday” himself and Federighi jokes that “the purchase page was cluttered by Apple’s own employees” and that “nobody is worried because it try the first version of this system ”.

On choosing the name

“I think the name M1 makes a lot of sense on a chip for the Mac,” says Joz. “The letter ‘A’ was chosen for the chips in Apple’s phone, and we’ve since tried to use letters that make sense: Headphone chips use the H [por Headphones], and so you can see the trend… we have great ideas for product names. “

On the difference in power between some equipment and others

The M1 has been used in three different products: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. The latter has a place in the product line, but since the Air and the Pro have the same chip, how are they different?

“Thermal capacity” says Federighi. The Pro has a fan (according to Apple’s words “active cooling system” – while the Air does not, and the rest of the performance originates from there. What limits these chips is the heat: the more they refrigerators, the faster they are. “

On the transition from one architecture to another

“We’ve done it before,” says Federighi. “We have seen others in the industry try to do it and they have not been as successful. But we, I think, have perfected these kinds of transitions, we know exactly how to manage the tools that make everything easy for developers. “

“When we got together and planned this transition years ago, we already had this amazing pool of talents within the organization and the experience to come up with a plan that brings together the best of each department. And that is why it is so exciting for everyone, because we have been able to bring together the best of Apple and project it into these products. “

On the non-redesign of equipment

“I think these teams are presented as: look what can be done with the M1 and all our technologies” says Ternus. “I think starting the transition with the M1 is having very solid pillars. And we’re not one to change the design just because we feel like it – we have a great platform, we have a great new processor, we can unite them into something that is truly spectacular. And that is the reasoning we did in this case. “

About Macs with Intel

“They are Macs, they use macOS. Big Sur is a great release for all Macs, ”Craig Federighi says,“ and that will continue to do so. The operating system uses the same installer, uses the same apps and will continue to be a large part of our focus for many years to come. “

On the redesign of Big Sur and the touch Mac

“I have to say that when we introduced Big Sur and those articles started coming out saying ‘Wow, Apple is paving the way for the touch interface’ and I was wondering what? How?”

“We have designed and evolved the look of macOS in the way that seems most natural and comfortable, without even remotely thinking about the touch interface. We live in a world with iPads, with iPhones, with our own sense of aesthetics – which marks that light and open air of the interface – the fact that all devices now have retina displays. All these things have led us to the design of the Mac that seemed more comfortable, without having anything to do with the touch interface.

“I have never felt more comfortable navigating our family of devices as a user, something I do hundreds of times a day, going through iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. They all have that family resemblance, which means that switching from one device to another becomes more unconscious.

“Each interface feels like the correct embodiment of what the experience should be on that device. And that’s what you see, not a sign that there is going to be a change in the method of entering information in the devices “