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Apple: a 2020 revision

Let's start by stating something I never expected I would: Apple's new products have created some real value and, with them, they've finally brought something to the industry that may very well prove to spearhead a revolutionary movement in the industry. Not only have they managed to create an unprecedented value with their new M1 chip, this same chip spells a solidifying of the potential of ARM in powerful yet light and efficient computing.

If it wasn't quite clear, I haven't been a fan of apple and a lot of the things they do since I started learning more seriously about technology. From the way they handle repairing and right to repair, to the quality of their products and even the price of their products, it's no surprise they've been embroiled in many serious lawsuits. That being said, the price of their most recent products seems to have become competitive. I'm talking here about the Mac Mini and the new Macbook Air all versions confounded, all sporting the famed and long-awaited M1 Chip. So, what's so great about it?

This chip is built using a paradigm often called little-big. This involves the use of two kinds of computing units: smaller, more power-efficient cores, coupled with bigger performance cores. As you might understand, this way to assemble the units makes them better optimized for all types of loads. It seems possible AMD, the processor manufacturer, may have inspired Apple's new product. They proved with Ryzen that through software and hardware optimization, this paradigm could prove to be worth its while. With something like using your browser and doing simple research, the device will use the more power-efficient cores. Whether you're editing videos for TikTok or your in-game guild's discord page, you'll probably be doing it using the performance cores in the M1 chip. For a software company like Apple, this is a game changer. Being in full control of designing both the software and the hardware allows them to optimize both sides to create an incredibly powerful combination.

Add to that the efficiency of the ARM architecture, traditionally used for mobile devices because of its lighter set of instructions, there is without a doubt a lot we will see this chip do. ARM has not had many developers develop for it as there was not much incentive for it. Apple having adopted it means that developers will now be developing for this new architecture. This should lead to a greater adoption of ARM for the computing industry, with more software, possibly even hardware, supported for all to use. It could mean better Android and open source ARM, greater progress in pushing ARM to its limits both big and small, enabling greater portability of AI and wearables, or even pushes in vehicle AI and robotics. Almost as expected, while writing this text, Qualcomm, a processor manufacturer, acquired Nuvia, another ARM chip manufacturer.

With this said, the future of both the ARM architecture and its applications are to be followed. There's no telling when a small discovery will make a huge change, but clearly, for Apple, it seems to be some part of the future. What do you think? Is ARM just another tech fad? What kind of technologies could you see developed with it?

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