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Apple announces its first-ever M1 processor, coming to MacBooks and Macs

Apple announces its first-ever M1 processor, coming to MacBooks and Macs. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley discusses.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: We want to bring you the latest from Apple's "One More Thing" event. The tech giant announcing three new devices featuring its new chip. Dan Howley watched the event for us. And, Dan, give us the details on the big reveal.

DAN HOWLEY: That's right. Apple announced three new devices, including the MacBook Pro 13-inch, MacBook Air, and the Mac Mini. And they're all running Apple's new M1 system on a chip. It's basically a CPU and GPU in one. We've seen this in a lot of different devices, including your iPhone or iPad. And it's basically going to be their piece of silicon that replaces Intel.

They're no longer going to be working with Intel after 2022. They will completely replace any Intel chips in their lineup with their own processors. And we'll see down the line if they continue to use the M1 or not. But out of the gate, what they're promising out of this chip is really astonishing. I mean, you're looking at graphics improvements of 5x on things like the Pro or the Air.

That's the integrated chip, by the way. That's not for a dedicated graphics chip like an Nvidia or an AMD chip. It's really the dedicated chip that Intel has currently. But performance across the board seems to be much better than what they're currently getting out of Intel's chips-- CPUs of 2x and greater improvements, machine learning engines of 15 times improvements and 11 times improvements, and then battery life that is just otherworldly now. We're talking about 20 hours in terms of some video playbacks, we're talking about 15 hours in terms of web browsing.

So this is going to be a big improvement for Apple all around. What's interesting beyond just that, though, is what it means for the apps. Now, currently, if you want to use your iOS or Mac OS apps on your Mac, you can't do it unless there's something like, you know, the stock apps or something along those lines that cross-pollinate between the two. But now what Apple is saying is because these new chips use the same architecture as Apple's current A-14 chip, they will be able to move apps from iOS and iPad OS to Mac OS.

And out of the box, Apple says that should be no problem. Some companies or some app developers will have to test it out first to see if it's compatible. And that's really going to be a godsend for Apple in the sense that there are millions and millions of apps out there, but they're just not available for their laptops and desktops. And that's about to change. As for the transition from Intel to their new M1 chips and the current users who have Intel chips and whether or not the programs that they already purchased will work on M1 chips, that seems to be a non-issue, at least as far as Apple tells it.

They're going to universal apps that can be developed for both Intel and the M1 line. So they'll be able to work across the two different types of laptops and desktops. And then they have something called Rosetta 2, which is basically a translator that'll take Intel-based apps and translate them so that they work on the new M1 chip. So it seems to be kind of cut and dry as far as that goes. How much those capabilities are remains to be seen.

ADAM SHAPIRO: So let me ask you-- you got me battery life, I get the millions more app-- gotcha. The average Apple user with a MacBook Pro or different Macs, are we going to notice a difference? And are we going to get a price discount? Or are they going to be more expensive?

DAN HOWLEY: That's the surprising thing. There's no change in price as far as the Air goes. It's still at $999. The Mini is $699. And the Pro is $1,299. And you know, I mean, those aren't prices that are unheard of for Apple. I think as far as the regular user goes, you will see the performance increase, yes, but I think the big thing for many people is going to be the battery and, of course, using those iOS and iPadOS apps on your Mac. You know, I mean, it really will be a big difference.

The battery life, though, that, you know, when I get my hands on it, I really want to be able to put that to the test, because if it is as good as they're saying, then it will make your current Mac and your current MacBook or MacBook Pro look like a-- not necessarily worthless, but it's going to make it look pretty bad in comparison-- and then imagine that coming down the rest of the line. So you know, for companies like Dell and like HP that rely on Intel chips to then go ahead and see Apple's own devices using their own chips and doing so well, yeah, it could be a big problem for the Windows makers out there.