A month with the MacBook Air

About a month ago I bought a MacBook Air. The 2020 model was one of the first that was part of Apple moving to it's own design of chips over it's partnership with Intel. Most reviewers have been massively enthusiastic about the Apple M1.

Although the change is dramatic the design is based on a lot of traditional elements. The processor, with its low power capabilities, is a RISC chip. Closely related to the A series processors that have been in the iPhone and iPad for a decade. Windows users will find that, from a hardware perspective, there is no fan in the MacBook Air 2020. Much is made of Windows being a legacy operating system dating back 30 years. MacOs also has legacy, The OSX environment comes from Steve Jobs' NeXT computers in the 1990s. He brought their Unix based OS ideas directly into Apple.

In use I find little speed difference in consumer experience of power between my Windows based Lenovo PC with an AMD processor than this new M1. The Lenovo has fan noise and needs to be on mains power more often. However, the reality is most people don't run benchmarks on their PCs, they run applications.

With applications, consumers may be better off with Apple. Apple have built a device ecosystem where phone, computer and tablet all work together seamlessly. For Windows users in the 2010s this was the aim of UWP (Universal Windows Platform). A PC app running on Windows PCs, Windows phones and Windows tablets. Now Microsoft is building an ecosystem around running Android as a cohabiting friend via Amazon on Windows 11. This relationship includes partnership with Samsung, which allows their "Your Phone" app to work more like the Apple ecosystem. It seems that Microsoft's uneasy relationship with Google continues.

I digress. The Apple ecosystem includes consumer services now. Music and TV being the obvious but also fitness, news and arcade style gaming, You can get by with Apple's free application suite as a consumer. However, you can just use Microsoft services. Versions of Office and OneDrive are available, Someone who uses Microsoft services is a first class citizen on a MacBook too.

My professional life is different from my consumer life. As a consumer being in the Apple ecosystem is fine. Both Apple and Microsoft services are available. Apple has a rich application infrastructure. I switch from Windows to MacOS daily.

In the cloud world of services the actual hardware and operating systems matter less to consumers. Many work in browsers. The MacBook Air M1 is a great PC by anyone's standards. You wont buy it for gaming but for most consumers, like me, it works well. If you have another Apple device you will also benefit from the effect of a consistent ecosystem.


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