This week, Apple showed how it plans to increase its staggering trillion-dollar market cap, by cranking up their custom microprocessors to ever higher nose-bleed altitudes and cranking them out in more devices than ever.
In late 2020, with the debut of the M1, Apple’s first step to switching away from Intel chips, I was beyond impressed with the M1’s performance and efficiency. So was most of the tech industry. But as if that first M1 step wasn’t eye-opening enough, this week Apple tore off the eyelids of anyone watching it reveal the M1 Ultra.
The scaled up nature of the M1 line of CPUs is logical, yet the initial metrics of the Ultra are kind of mind-boggling. Again, the Ultra is simply far above and beyond the initial leap of the already great M1. Apple highlighted graphs with stellar stats for the M1 Ultra’s capabilities, but the true test of its prowess is not how many teraflops or transistors it has, but rather how many tabs it can have open at once in Chrome.
I don’t know how Apple will exceed the Ultra other than to simply scale up more by doubling. The last Mac that will see an upgrade in Apple’s CPU switch-up is the Mac Pro, which should leave the M1 Ultra in the dust. If the Ultra takes the Mac to the moon, then the Mac Pro’s circuitry will blast the Mac to Mars, or maybe to infinity and beyond!
That said, is there a need for a Mac Pro? This week, Apple also revealed an all-new Mac computer called the Mac Studio, wherein the M1 Ultra showcases its power to process pretty much anything.
Apple’s new Mac Studio is small, simple, and silver. It looks like an over-stuffed Mac Mini. The back is loaded with ports too. Coming in multiple configurations, it should meet the needs of the most demanding tech savvy people. I guess there is still a place for the coming Mac Pro to surpass the Mac Studio, like a movie animation render farm.
As a “normal” user, I’m thrilled with my M1 in the MacBook Air. And while I doubt I’ll ever need something as robust as the M1 Ultra, I’m excited for the future because things only get better from here. The more powerful chips will trickle down over time as ever greater ones are released. Today’s M1 MacBook will become tomorrow’s M2 MacBook, or maybe the M1 Pro or Max will become MacBook Air options.
In any case, Apple has raised the standard to a new level. Topping it will be yet more remarkable. Beyond M1 Ultra, what is Apple’s ultimate goal? Maybe an M1 Ultimate.