iPhone 14 Pro Long-term Review: Solid Performance, Great Cameras, Battery Life Make it Best Pro Yet

Apple’s iPhone 14 series, especially the Pro models, brings more than incremental changes compared to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 series. Apple has been widening the capabilities gap between the Pro and base models. For example, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature the latest A16 Bionic SoC made on TSMC’s 4nm process, while the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are powered by TSMC’s 5nm-based A15 Bionic SoC. The 14 Pro series also features an advanced camera system, Pro Motion display design with intuitive Dynamic Island, and more.

iPhone 14 Pro most successful iPhone model

Ever since Apple introduced the Pro and Pro Max models with its iPhone 11 series, the iPhone 14 Pro models have proved to be the most popular Pro series. According to Counterpoint’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker, the iPhone 14 Pro model’s volumes and revenues in its first year of global release almost doubled compared to that of the iPhone 11 Pro model for the same period, driving record iPhone revenues for Apple. Further, the iPhone 14 Pro was consistently among the top three best-selling smartphone models globally for every quarter since its launch. This helped Apple dominate the premium market, with the iPhone 14 Pro alone contributing 13% volume for the above-mentioned period. The top three markets contributing to the iPhone 14 Pro’s growth were the US, China, and UK.


There are a few other reasons contributing to the 14 Pro’s success, including the primary camera getting the much-needed bump to 48MP resolution, and the five-core GPU. Apple also improved its ProMotion display by adding an always-on display feature and refresh rate that can go from 1Hz to 120Hz. Lastly, the Pro models also come with a pill-shaped floating notch that Apple calls Dynamic Island, a good differentiator from the iPhone 14 model.

Key differentiators for iPhone 14 Pro

Dynamic island: A notch above

Ahead of the iPhone 14 launch, there were rumors of Apple going with a new pill-shaped floating notch design. But Apple surprised everyone by adding a cool software trick and making it very meaningful for its power users and developers. Calling it Dynamic Island, Apple has made this new take on the infamous notch a little more fun, interactive and useful. It is nearly a year since we have been using the iPhone 14 Pro, and the Dynamic Island seems like a good differentiator.

counterpoint iphone 14 pro review dynamic island

It comprises two parts – a physical island that houses the camera and sensors, and a virtual island on the display. As the iPhone features an OLED display, all the pixels go completely black, making the cutout and virtual island blend well to appear like one large cutout capsule. This approach is quite innovative and changes completely the conversation around the notch.

counterpoint iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island Use Cases

When you get important alerts, Dynamic Island adapts and expands in real time to show these notifications on the status bar. You can also tap and interact with the notification content of this expanded capsule. Dynamic Island is also a good multi-tasking option for supported apps, giving you quick access to apps, rather than swiping up and holding to scroll through the background apps.

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Dynamic Island initially launched with first-party and a few ecosystem apps, showing notifications for apps like Timer, Maps, AirDrop and Apple Music and even for charging, wireless charging, hotspots and others such as YouTube. Apple made the API available to the developers and apps like Spotify and Uber take good advantage of the notch, making it more functional. There is also Live Activities feature for background notifications, which is quite helpful too.

Cameras: High-resolution sensor with better OIS, improved night mode and more

Apple has offered the biggest camera upgrade with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Both the Pro models come with a brand-new, high-resolution 48MP camera sensor, which is 68% larger than the 12MP one on the iPhone 13 Pro. Featuring a 1/1.28-inch sensor, 2.44um pixel size and f/1.78 aperture, the camera outputs 12MP photos by default, thanks to 4-in-1 pixel binning tech.

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Apple has also added a new feature called Photonic Engine, which is basically a computational photography model that improves the dynamic range and low-light camera performance by incorporating Apple’s Deep Fusion tech.

Over the past year, we have used the iPhone 14 Pro as a primary phone and camera for capturing photos and videos in multiple settings. Under most scenarios, the primary camera does a great job of capturing photos, which are brighter, richer in details and punchier in colors, a great upgrade from previous generation iPhones. The new camera featuring a larger sensor does a great job in low-light conditions, such as inside dim-lit cafes or restaurants. The following photos provide some evidence of its performance.

iPhone 14 Pro Camera Sample Low Light

iPhone 14 Pro Camera Sample Evening

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Seattle Low-Light Wheel

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Seattle Low-Light Space Needle

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Low Light 3

However, the algorithm needs to be improved and localized with respect to the varied human skin tones across different geographies. The HDR goes a little aggressive adding a slightly darker skin tone, especially in backlit scenarios. But otherwise, the 12MP front camera does a good job, especially when on video calls.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Selfie Skin Tone

For users who like to play around with RAW capture and edit it in post-processing, there is support for Apple ProRAW mode. The best part here is that you can capture RAW photos in both 12MP and 48MP resolutions. Below are a couple of photos shot in RAW and edited in Adobe Lightroom. But you can also edit the photos in other apps such as Snapseed.

The primary camera also comes with second-generation sensor-shift OIS technology. It helps in capturing blur-free photos, but most importantly it helps in capturing smooth, jerk-free videos, even at 4K 60fps and without needing a gimbal. 8K video recording is missing, and we hope the iPhone 15 series will bring this feature which has been available on the Android flagships for a few years now.

WATCH: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Video Camera Samples

The Action Mode works well in capturing stable footage with less camera shake, even when you are running behind a subject. The only catch here is that you can capture up to a maximum resolution of 2.8K, which is not bad either. The Cinematic Mode has also improved with its edge detection, and the best part about this mode is that it lets you change focus from frame to frame right on your smartphone. Apple has also added 4K video capture in Cinematic Mode, which is a good improvement. All of these features leverage the new A16 Bionic’s AI capabilities.

There are two more cameras – a 12MP sensor with an ultrawide lens of 13mm (120-degree field-of-view), and a 12MP sensor with a 77mm telephoto lens and OIS offering up to 3X optical zoom. All three cameras are consistent with their color science, which shows how Apple has worked on optimizing the algorithms barring skin tones. The following shots confirm the color consistency across the sensor and focal lengths.


Apple iPhone 14 Pro Ultrawide


Apple iPhone 14 Pro UltraWide Seattle


Apple iPhone 14 Pro Wide Seattle


Apple iPhone 14 Pro 3x Seattle

The ultrawide camera also doubles as a macro camera, allowing you to capture close-up shots from a distance as close as 2cm. Below are a couple of close-up photos.

iPhone 14 Pro Camera Sample Macro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Macro

Lastly, the iPhone 14 Pro also comes with a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner for depth information, and it is probably the most underrated sensor on the iPhone. It may not have the everyday use case when clicking photos and videos but comes in very handy in Augmented Reality use cases, like using the camera as a measuring tape, which is in-built, or other third-party ARKit-based phygital interactive apps for design or learning.


Snappy performance with powerful A16 Bionic SoC

The A16 Bionic SoC made on a 4nm TSMC process is one of the big under-the-hood upgrades in the iPhone 14 Pro series. The new SoC focuses on enhancing power efficiency, display and camera. With nearly 16 billion transistors, there is a new 6-core CPU, featuring two performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The new 16-core Neural Engine is capable of 17 TOPS, enabling advanced computational photography experiences.

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The SoC also comes with a 5-core GPU with 50% more memory bandwidth. Whether running multiple apps in the background or playing graphics-intensive games, the A16 Bionic handles it all without breaking a sweat. However, there are times when the back of the smartphone gets a bit warmer when pushed to the limits.

Display enhancements such as dynamic refresh rate & AoD

There are other core experiences that the chipset unlocks. For instance, there is a new Display Engine that enables always-on display capabilities for the custom-built OLED screen, and a refresh rate as low as 1Hz when idle or when there is static content on the screen. This helps in reducing power consumption and offers a slightly better battery life even when the always-on display is kept on. However, if you turn on the wallpaper option in the “always-on” display (AoD) setting, the battery drain is faster. So, ensure that you keep it off, while notifications can be left on.

The 6.1-inch SuperRetina XDR OLED display also supports a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, offering smooth playback of videos and a good gaming experience. The screen outputs a wider color gamut, supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and can attain peak brightness of up to 2,000 nits outdoors. We were not able to test the peak but never faced any legibility issues during the usage.

In terms of battery life, the iPhone 14 Pro lasts for a day, and even some more, depending on your usage. There is a 3,200mAh battery unit with support for fast charging and wireless charging – both using MagSafe (faster at 15W) and Qi (7.5W). While Apple sells a 20W charging adapter, you can also use third-party USB Type-C-based adapters with the bundled Type-C-to-Lightning cable to charge your iPhone.

It takes about 90 minutes to fully charge the iPhone 14 Pro. With a mixed usage of calls, browsing the social media timeline, listening to music, and clicking some photos and videos, we get a good six hours or slightly more of screen time. One thing to add here is that Battery Health has not held up well – it is already at 91% of its maximum capacity after 12 months of use. However, the good thing is that it hasn’t really affected the battery life in a major way. Faster charging is something that is on top of our wishlist and where Apple is falling behind.

Other useful additions: Crash detection, emergency SOS and more

There are other key features that the iPhone 14 series brings, such as crash detection, which uses a mix of high g-force accelerometer, gyroscope, and machine learning algorithms to detect when a user is subjected to a severe crash. It then automatically contacts emergency services. There is also an Emergency SOS via satellite feature that lets you send emergency messages and get help when a cellular or Wi-Fi network is unavailable. This feature can come in handy for users who go on treks and hikes where there is limited to no network connectivity. However, this feature is region-specific and not available across the globe.

Lastly, all iPhone 14 models support 5G connectivity. However, there is one major change in the US – there is no physical SIM card and these are eSIM-only iPhones. There may still be time before we see eSIM-only iPhones across all markets. eSIM and integrating iSIM in the future will allow Apple to save some board space to make way for more thinner form factor.

Wrapping up

The iPhone 14 Pro comes with a great build quality, beautiful display, great set of cameras and many other features that make it Apple’s best Pro yet. iOS updates have consistently improved the experience, right from software features to camera performance and optimized battery life. Even the Dynamic Island functionality has improved as more apps now support it. The Live Activities feature is quite helpful in offering important background notifications, from the live status of a cab you booked to food you ordered, and even smaller things like the status of a story upload on apps like Instagram.

There are areas where we hope to see some improvements with the new iPhone 15 series. Support for faster charging speeds will be a good addition. In the camera department, we often notice that the AI and HDR go a little aggressive on different skin tones. Maybe an option to turn off HDR could have been better. 8K video recording is another feature we would love to see in the iPhone 15 series as 4K 60fps is becoming a de-facto feature that would also warrant a base storage of 512GB and going up to 2TB for all the Pro models.

Apple Mac Studio First Impressions: Mighty Little Computer for Creative Professionals

  • The refreshed Apple Mac Studio was launched during WWDC 2023.
  • It is powered by the M2 Max SoC or M2 Ultra SoC and comes with up to 192GB of unified memory and 8TB of SSD.
  • The Mac Studio has a price tag starting at $1,999.

Apple announced the new Mac Studio earlier this month at the WWDC 2023. Although it looks the same as last year’s Mac Studio, the internals have seen an upgrade. With prices starting at $1,999, the new Mac Studio is powered by either the M2 Max SoC or M2 Ultra SoC, while the memory and storage can be configured depending on the user’s needs.

We have acquired the M2 Max variant at the Counterpoint studio and have customized the machine with 64GB of unified storage and 1TB SSD, which cost around $2,599.

WATCH: Apple Mac Studio: Unboxing and First Impressions

Here are our initial impressions:

Solid build, compact and neat design

Unlike Windows-powered desktop computers, the Mac Mini and Mac Studio line have a very impressive compact design. Although it weighs between 2.7kg and 3.6kg, depending on the configuration, it takes up little space, reduces clutter and looks neat. The Mac Studio is a square-shaped aluminum box with rounded corners, a flat top with the Apple logo, and flat edges.

counterpoint apple mac studio first impressions top

The bottom half is tapered and has grille holes for the exhaust fan. The back houses all the major connectivity ports and a grille for ventilation. Talking about buttons and ports, you get two USB-C (Thunderbolt 4) ports in the front along with one SDXC card slot.

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At the back, there are four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, a 10Gb ethernet port, one HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a power button. The main power port is in the center. Overall, we love the neat and clean design.

One notable aspect is the use of sustainable materials for packaging. The packaging box is made from recycled cardboard and there is no plastic used.

ALSO READVision Pro, iOS 17, New Macs: Here’s Everything Announced at Apple WWDC 2023

Mac Studio specifications and configurations

The Mac Studio is available with either M2 Max or M2 Ultra SoC options. The base model with M2 Max SoC comes with a 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine for $1,999. For an additional $200, users can opt for a 38-core GPU.

Made on TSMC’s 5nm process node, the M2 Max has 67 billion transistors, and its AI performance can reach 15.8 TOPS (trillion operations per second). The chipset supports up to 10 streams of 8K ProRes video playback and support for up to five displays. It also brings upgrades to the wireless connections in the form of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, making it future-proof for the next few years (although Wi-Fi 7 will become widely available from early 2024 after the standard is finalized).

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For a more powerful machine, users can get one with the M2 Ultra SoC featuring a 24-core CPU, 60-core GPU, and 32-core neural engine starting at $3,999. For an additional $1,000, users can get a 76-core GPU.

With the base model of M2 Max SoC, you get 512GB of SSD and 32GB of unified memory, but configurations allow up to 96GB of unified memory and 8TB SSD. This maxed-out version will cost $5,399. Similarly, the M2 Ultra Mac Studio base model comes with 64GB unified memory and 1TB SSD, which can be reconfigured to get up to a massive 192GB of unified memory and 8TB of SSD. The maxed-out version costs $7,799.

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ALSO READ: MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Pro SoC First Impressions: A Promising Upgrade for Content Creators

Initial impressions

It has only been a day since we got our hands on the Apple Mac Studio and we are still setting up the apps we require, like Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects, along with the required resources. Currently, we are using the M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 as our video editing devices at the Counterpoint studio. We often run out of memory when rendering videos with a big timeline that includes audio, video, and some effects. That is a key reason why dedicated workstations are a must-have. With our new Mac Studio, featuring 64GB of unified storage, we expect the video editing process to be much smoother.

That said, we will be putting our M2 Max-powered Mac Studio through the paces for editing different forms of content and assessing the gaming performance. We will be putting it under stress tests too. More about the performance will be presented in our upcoming review, so stay tuned!

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Vision Pro, iOS 17, New Macs: Here’s Everything Announced at Apple WWDC 2023

  • Despite the Vision Pro’s steep $3,499 price point, Apple has still managed to create a “wow” factor. The device goes on sale early next year.
  • The MacBook Air 15 with a thin and light profile but a bigger screen size could be an ideal option for content creators on the go.
  • By bringing Apple Silicon to the Mac Pro, Apple has completed its transition from Intel, giving it more control over the hardware and software stack.
  • Updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and WatchOS bring minor improvements, but the personalization and interactive widgets show a more consistent approach to user experience across Apple products.

Apple hosted its annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC 2023) at Apple Park, California, from June 5 to June 9, during which it announced exciting new hardware and software launches. These included fresh devices such as the new MacBook Air, Mac Studio Gen-2, and Mac Pro with M2 Ultra SoC, alongside the latest iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, tvOS 17, and WatchOS 10. However, the star of the show was Apple’s hotly anticipated mixed-reality headset, called the ‘Vision Pro’, which took our breath away.

Here is a quick recap of everything Apple announced at WWDC 2023.

Hardware announcements

Apple’s ‘Vision Pro’ mixed-reality headset is finally here

“One more thing…” – this has been synonymous with every major announcement that Apple has made over the past decade, and WWDC 2023 was no different. After months of leaks and rumors, Apple finally unveiled its “revolutionary” new product, the Vision Pro, along with its mixed-reality platform, the VisionOS. Apple has its sights on the next decade and beyond with the Vision Pro, which will be available for sale early next year.

Source: Apple

Pioneering the era of spatial computing, the cutting-edge Vision Pro is powered by an M2 processor along with a custom R1 co-processor for real-time processing. It features a micro-OLED display with 4K resolution per eye. It has 12 cameras, six microphones and five sensors to offer an immersive overall experience.

ALSO READ: Apple Thinking About the Next Decade and Beyond with Vision Pro Announcement

Users can control the Vision Pro UI with their eyes, voice and hands. As the headset allows for video pass-through, you are not isolated, and you can still see and interact with the people around you. The cameras let you capture 3D photos so you can relive those moments later. You can also turn your laptop screen into a giant display, giving you an unlimited canvas, so you are no longer limited by a display. All your apps can be used anywhere, and you can even resize them. There are many amazing features that Apple demonstrated at WWDC and will continue to refine them ahead of the start of sales early next year. The Apple Vision Pro is priced at a whopping $3,499.

WATCH: Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features

MacBook Air gets bigger, better and more powerful

Though WWDC is a software event, it was dominated by hardware announcements this year, starting with the Mac. The new MacBook Air 15 is incredibly thin at 11.5mm, with Apple claiming it to be the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop. It weighs 3.3 pounds, and features two Type-C thunderbolt ports, MagSafe charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It comes with a 15.3-inch liquid retina display with thin bezels, 500 nits of peak brightness and one billion colors.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macbook air 15
Source: Apple

For video calls, the laptop includes a 1080p camera, three-array mics and six speakers so you can hear and be heard loud and clear. Under the hood is an M2 chip which Apple says is 12x faster than the Intel-based MacBook Air and is efficient enough to offer up to 18 hours of battery life. The new 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 ($1,199 for education) and will be available from the third week of June.

Source: Apple

The 13-inch MacBook Air now starts at $1,099, making it cheaper than before by $100. Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air M1 retains its $999 price tag, giving users more choices when looking for a MacBook Air.

Mac Studio gets more powerful with M2 Ultra

 The Mac Studio is loved by all types of creators, be it for editing photos, videos, podcasts or even presentations. It is now getting a big upgrade with the powerful M2 Max SoC, which Apple says is 25% faster than the previous M1 Max. Apple continued with the stats, saying video editors can now render videos 50% faster on Adobe After Effects.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 mac studio pc overview
Source: Apple

Apple also announced the M2 Ultra SoC, which connects two M2 Max die together with ultra-fusion architecture to double the performance. It comes with a 24-core CPU to offer 20% faster CPU performance, and its 76-core GPU is 30% faster than M1 Ultra. There is also a 32-core Neural engine which is 40% faster than the previous generation. It supports 192GB of unified memory. Built on a 5nm process node, it has 134 billion transistors and 800GBs of memory bandwidth. The Mac Studio with M2 Ultra can support six pro display XDR monitors.

Source: Apple

Apple Silicon comes to Mac Pro, completing the transition from Intel       

For those heavy and demanding workflows of film editors and sound engineers, Apple is bringing its Apple Silicon with PCI expansion to the Mac Pro. This also completes the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. Powered by M2 Ultra SoC, the Mac Pro comes with eight thunderbolt ports – two on the front and six at the back. There are six PCI expansion slots too, allowing users to customize their Mac by adding audio/video IO, networking and storage.

Source: Apple

The Mac Studio will start at $1,999 with M2 Max SoC, whereas the Mac Pro will start at $6,999. They will be available from the third week of June.

 Software announcements    

iOS 17 gets more personalized and intuitive

With the iOS 17, Apple is bringing new experiences, better communication and sharing to iPhone users. For Apple ecosystem users, Phone, iMessage and FaceTime are the three essential apps for everyday communication. The Phone app now comes with personalized contact posters where you can either have a photo or emoji. Apple also supports the vertical layout for Japanese text. And it is not just for calling, this new visual identity is also a part of the contact card for a more consistent experience.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 personalized contact poster
Source: Apple

The next feature is Live Voicemail, where you can see the transcription of the recipient. If you think it is important, you can answer right away. The feature is like Bixby text calls on Samsung smartphones. Apple is also bringing voicemails to FaceTime. When you call someone on FaceTime and they are not available, you can leave a video voicemail instead.

Messages now have search filters. So next time you start a search, include additional words to incorporate filters. This will help you find exactly what you are looking for. Now, there are times when you are in a meeting or traveling and there is a whole bunch of conversation that you missed. There is a new catch-up arrow on the top right which will let you quickly jump to the first message you haven’t seen.

Other key messaging features of the iOS 17 include:

  • Swipe on the bubble for quick in-line replies
  • Audio message transcription
  • In-line location within the conversation
  • Check-in to keep in touch with your loved ones
  • Besides location, you can also share battery level and cellular service status

All the information shared with your family and friends is also end-to-end encrypted.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 check-in feature
Source: Apple

Next, Apple is also bringing a better Stickers experience. All the recently used stickers and memoji are now available in a brand-new drawer. You can even peel and stick emoji stickers in the conversation, and even rotate and resize them. These stickers are available systemwide, so you can use them with any app.

Apple is also changing the way we share contact details with someone new. A new feature called NameDrop lets you bring your phones closer and share phone numbers and other contact details with the person. The feature can be used with an iPhone and Apple Watch too. But that’s not all, you can now AirDrop content over the internet too.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 standby
Source: Apple

There is also a new standby mode. It can be activated by turning the iPhone in landscape mode while charging. It will turn your phone into a desk clock displaying the time, date, weather and alarm information at a glance. You can add widgets and even customize the screen with different clock styles to fit your needs.

Apple had made the assistant hot word even simpler, so instead of “Hey Siri”, now you can just say “Siri” followed by the command. And you can now use back-to-back commands like a conversation, without having to call “Siri” again and again. Lastly, Apple Maps can now be used offline by selecting an area and downloading offline maps. This can be very helpful when there is no cellular network.

Source: Apple

iPadOS gets more personalized with a lock screen and interactive home widgets

With the new iPadOS 17, Apple is adding interactive widgets through which you can carry out tasks without having to open the app. For instance, you can turn the lights on and off from the Home widget, or even play/pause music from the Apple Music widget.

Just like on the iPhone, you will now be able to customize the lock screen as well. From photos to astronomy to a kaleidoscope, there are a lot of options to choose from. On the left, you can also add multiple widgets to get more information at a glance on the lock screen.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ipados 17 widgets
Source: Apple

The iPad is also getting Live Activities, allowing users to keep track of food with Uber Eats, travel plans with Flighty, live scores from the sports app, and more, all from the lock screen.

Source: Apple

Taking full advantage of the large screen canvas, the Health app can show rich details of health-related activities like heart rate, steps, and more at a glance in one place.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ipados 17 live collaboration
Source: Apple

The iPadOS 17 can identify the fills in a PDF and add relevant details using autofill, like name, address, phone number and email. You can even add a signature to the document using Apple Pencil. Apple has also added a collaboration feature which can be helpful when working together. You can see each other’s updates in real time as you scribble.

Source: Apple

macOS Sonoma gets a new Gaming Mode and more  

A lot of key features from iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 such as widgets, messaging and the “Siri” hot word are coming to macOS Sonoma. With the new update, Apple is bringing new screensavers, widgets that you can now move around that canvas and out from the notification center.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macos sonoma widgets
Source: Apple

Apple is finally getting serious about gaming on the macOS and bringing “Game Mode” with the new OS update. It will prioritize CPU and GPU to optimize the gaming experience on Mac. Apple says it has also worked on reducing the audio latency when using AirPods, and input latency when using PlayStation or Xbox controller by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate.

But what’s even more impressive is the “Game Porting Toolkit” where developers can quickly evaluate if their game can run well on Mac. The process earlier used to take months, but now with the toolkit, it can be completed in days, thus bringing down the development time.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macos sonoma overlay
Source: Apple

Another big feature is coming to help users when they are presenting remotely. Using the Apple Silicon and Neural Engine, you will get a new overlay option when doing remote presentations. It can be a small bubble showing your face or a large overlay where you can remain prominent in front of your presentation. But that’s not all, you can even add emoji reactions to your video stream, adding more fun to your video presentation.

Apple has been focusing on user privacy-related features and in the new macOS Sonoma, it is taking a step further with the Safari browser. The new features allow you to lock browser windows, block trackers and more. The new macOS also gains the ability to help you share your passwords and passkeys with your family. Lastly, there is also web app support, allowing you to quickly access your favorite sites.

Source: Apple

watchOS 10 adds widgets for quick access and more

The watchOS 10 now allows you quick access to widgets in a smart stack by just rotating the crown from any watch face. Users can also add a widget that can hold their favorite complications like quick access to a stopwatch, music, or timer. Apps like World Clock get a new update with dynamic background colors reflecting the time of the day in that particular time zone.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 watchos 10 widgets
Source: Apple

When you wear the Apple Watch and work out, the live activity will also be shown as a widget on the iPhone lock screen. Apple is also updating the Compass and Maps apps with a safety feature to help users that go hiking. The compass will generate two waypoints, with one of them being a cellular waypoint.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 watchos 10 waypoint
Source: Apple

In case you move to an area with no cellular network, the newly generated waypoint will indicate the place you were in the reception area. We think it is a great addition as you can track back to the area where you had reception and make a phone call or send a text message to your family and friends.

There are many other features and improvements, apart from the ones mentioned here, that are coming to Apple Watch with the watchOS 10 update.

Source: Apple

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Apple’s WWDC Showcases New M2 Apple Silicon, Plethora of Collaborative Software Updates

Apple kicked off its 33rd Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 6. Like the 2020 and 2021 WWDCs, the 2022 event was also a virtual one with limited in-person attendance. The company claims to have 34 million Apple Developers globally now. Besides opening a Developer Center in Apple Park, it has also introduced online Tech Talks for developers to connect with Apple engineers for live sessions and even virtual office hours. There are now 17 Developer Academies around the world.

Previous years have had a greater focus on software development for Apple’s iOS, iPadOS, macOS and WatchOS. But this year, Apple has given hardware updates, featuring news about its latest Apple Silicon M2 chip, and updates to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Apple’s latest WWDC has only furthered its walled garden approach by more deeply connecting different iOS products through an emphasis on collaboration, productivity and sharing.

The following are the key takeaways from the announcements:

Next-generation Apple Silicon begins with the M2 chip in MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Apple Hardware

  • Apple’s M1 chips received an incredibly positive reception from the tech community. The M2 chip is built on 5nm technology with 20 billion transistors, providing an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU and a 40% faster Neural Engine compared to the M1 of last year. It also has 50% more memory bandwidth compared to the M1, and up to 24GB of fast unified memory. It also includes a higher-bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC video.
  • The M2 chip will first launch with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air was redesigned and now measures 11.3 mm thin and weighs just 2.7 pounds. It still has a fan-less design, supports 18 hours of video playback and has a larger 13.6” liquid retina display with 500 nits brightness. The MacBook Pro seems to have received more minor upgrades through the M2 chip. Both will be available for purchase starting in July at a price of $1,199 and $1,299 respectively.

New iOS 16 features focus on customization, communication and deeper ecosystem integration

iOS 16

  • iOS users can now customize their lock screen with new filters, widgets and real-time feeds. Apple is now making it easier to share content between users through a new Shared Photo Library on iCloud, expanded SharePlay functionality, allowing shared Safari Tab Groups between users, and an upgrade to Live Text, Apple’s Google Lens competitor, to more easily capture text from images.
  • In terms of deeper ecosystem integration, Apple Wallet received several updates such as Tap to Pay, which enables iOS users to pay phone-to-phone and skips the use of a POS terminal. There are more partners which will accept ID cards stored in Apple Wallets. Also, the ID in the Wallet can now be used in instances where ID verification is necessary. Digital key cards are also now more easily shareable. Apple Pay Later splits the cost of a purchase across four payments over six weeks for US users. Apple Wallet can also now track orders of devices bought via Apple Pay Order Tracking with participating merchants. CarPlay showed off what next-generation vehicles (said to be launched in late 2023) will be capable of by deeply integrating with a cars hardware. CarPlay will be capable of interfacing with vehicle data to render the speed, fuel level, temperature and more on the instrument cluster, as well as personalize the dashboard with widgets and even natively control the radio or change the climate. Aside from the M2 chip announcement, CarPlay is the next big thing to watch as Apple broadens its reach in the automitive space.
  • Other announcements focused on deeper Siri integration with apps, improved dictation features, a revamped Home app that will bring support for the Matter smart home connectivity standard, expanded uses for the Health and Fitness apps, and new improvements to Apple News and Game Center. Lastly, Apple focused on a new privacy tool called Safety Check which can be helpful to users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence, and updates to accessibility services.

WatchOS 9 showcased minor updates, but some with big health impacts

watchOS 9


  • There are now several new watch interfaces to help users customize their smart watch further.
  • The Workout App shows a Heart Rate Zones which can be used to monitor the intensity of a workout and more information on pace, power, heart rate and cadence can be displayed. New running form metrics have been introduced, including Stride Length, Ground Contact Time and Vertical Oscillation.
  • More sleep insights and data can be harnessed as Apple can now track sleep stages. Using signals from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor, the Apple Watch can detect when users are in REM, Core, or Deep sleep.
  • Users who are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) can track the frequency of AFib over an extended period of time with their watch and monitor their conditions better. The data can also be shared with a healthcare provider.
  • Lastly, Apple Watch can now help users manage and track their medications, vitamins and supplements by setting alerts and reminders.

macOS Ventura enables more multitasking, cross-device integration, improved gaming

macOS Ventura

  • Stage Manager is an interesting productivity tool that can help organize apps and windows into groups to seamlessly transition between different tasks.
  • Continuity Camera uses the iPhone as the webcam on Mac, a neat feature to utilize the iPhone’s great camera system. It even works wirelessly.
  • Handoff is also coming to FaceTime. Users can start a FaceTime call on their iPhone or iPad and fluidly transition it over to their Mac.
  • Metal 3 is the latest version of the proprietary software that powers the gaming experience for Apple products using Apple Silicon. MetalFX Upscaling will help enable rendering at a lower internal resolution before being displayed, making AAA games run better.

Next iPadOS 16 packs productivity, collaboration features

iPadOS 16

  • All the above productivity and collaboration features are also present for iPadOS 16.
  • In addition to them, a new collaboration tool called Freeform will become available later this year. This app essentially creates a whiteboard that can be used in real time to write down notes and ideas while on a FaceTime session with multiple people.
  • There is also now full external display support, enabling even stronger productivity gains.

MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Pro SoC First Impressions: A Promising Upgrade for Content Creators

  • The MacBook Pro 16 features a 16.2-inch edge-to-edge display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
  • It is powered by M1 Pro or M1 Max SoCs with up to 64GB unified memory depending on the configuration you choose.
  • Apple has added more ports and support for 140W fast charging using a MagSafe connector.

Apple revamped its high-end MacBook Pro notebooks with a refreshing new design, faster chipsets, better display, and much more. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch models with prices starting at $1,999, the new notebooks are now on sale, although with limited stocks. We picked up the 16-inch MacBook Pro base model which starts at $2,499, and here are our first impressions.

Unboxing Experience and In-box Contents

Just like the iPhone 13 series, the new MacBook Pros also gets new box packaging, which eliminates the plastic wrap. The back of the box has an adhesive paper tab with the tear-off strip. In a way, the lid cannot come off from the box until it is opened. As it is made from 100% recycled materials, the packaging ensures reducing environmental impact while also offering a nice unboxing experience.

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Inside the box, you have the MacBook Pro 16 in a thin paper wrap, a 140W charging brick, and a MagSafe cable. It is Apple’s first GaN charger, which supports charging at 140W. The cable has a Type-C connector on one end, which goes in the charging brick, and the other end has a MagSafe connector. The cable has a braided finish and looks very sturdy. Though, I wish it was in black to not look dirty as it attracts dust over time.

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Watch:Apple MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Pro SoC: Unboxing and First Impressions

TouchBar is Gone, MagSafe and SD Card Slot is On

Just like the Time Machine feature that lets you back up your Mac and restore it to the previous state in case something goes wrong, Apple’s move is something similar. After ditching MagSafe, SD Card slot, and introducing a TouchBar nearly five years ago, Apple has now gone back in time to roll back all these to how things were before.

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No, you do not get the USB Type-A port back, but the SD card slot and the HDMI port are back. For charging, you can use MagSafe to charge at 140W, or you can also charge using any of the Type-C ports using a PD (power delivery) adapter, but at slower speeds.

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The new keyboard feels nice and has good key travel too. The new full-height physical function keys also bring shortcuts to control music playback and volume, enable quick dictation, Spotlight Search, and more. I’m writing the first impressions on the MacBook Pro 16 itself, and the experience is pretty good.

counterpoint macbook pro 16 keyboard

Bright and Vivid Display, Crisp and Loud Audio

Apple switched to mini-LED displays for its iPads which brings certain benefits both from viewing and energy-saving point of view. With hundreds and thousands of dimming zones, the display offers better contrast and black levels like OLED screens. The screen also offers better brightness (up to 1600 nits), which is amazing, especially considering that even smartphones like Galaxy S21 Ultra have 1500 nits peak brightness. They need it for good legibility under direct sunlight, but as the MacBook Pros are built for on-the-go content creators, having super bright display makes sense.

counterpoint macbook pro 16 fi screen

Apple says that the screen can offer sustained brightness of 1000 nits, and while I could not test the claims, the screen does look better. And with LiquidRetina XDR and ProMotion tech (where it can automatically adjust refresh rate between 24Hz to 120Hz), the screen offers vivid color reproduction. In this limited time, I did watch a few episodes of a TV show and some music videos, and I’m impressed so far.

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But it’s not just the screen, now there is a notch too, which houses a 1080p web camera. Apple says that the notch is a “smart way” to offer users more screen real estate, where the notch area accommodates the menu bar, while still giving you a full 16:9 aspect ratio screen. It sure does offer more screens, but apps need to be updated to optimize the space wisely.

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The speakers on the MacBook Pro 16 are terrific, offering clear audio, and they can get super loud. These are some of the loudest I have heard on a laptop to date. There are four woofers and two tweeters, together with Dolby Atmos offer a room-filling surround sound experience.

Snappy Performance, While Being Highly Efficient

My MacBook Pro 16 unit is a base model as I mentioned above, which comes with M1 Pro SoC, 16GB of unified memory (RAM), and 512GB SSD. I do see a performance difference over Windows laptops, with app opening times being faster for sure. On my Windows laptop powered by 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, opening programs like Adobe Rush CC takes nearly 40 seconds. The same on the new M1 Pro MacBook took about eight seconds.

To test the video rendering performance, I shot the unboxing and first impressions video of MacBook Pro, a total of over five minutes clip after editing. After adding voice-over, music, and transitions, rendering took a little less than seven minutes, whereas the same on Intel-based Windows laptops took 33 minutes.

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But one of the most impressive feats of the new MacBook Pros is how well the SoCs have been optimized for efficient battery life. To put things into perspective, I charged the MacBook Pro to 100 percent yesterday, after which I listened to music for two hours on 80% volume, then binged watched a series for two hours, some internet surfing, Teams calls, did video editing, which took about two hours, and then around two hours writing these first impressions. With all this usage and screen time of over nine hours, I will have 40% battery left, which is crazy good. I will test more over the next few months to see how the notebook performs in day-to-day usage and talk more in my in-depth review.

Key Takeaways:

  • The new MacBook Pros promise powerful performance with crazy long battery life.
  • With an SD card slot, big and vivid display, the 16-inch MacBook Pro could be the content creator’s go-to laptop.
  • Loud and powerful speakers also make notebooks good for multimedia content consumption.

Related Posts

Apple Unleashes MacBook Pros with New M1 Pro, M1 Max SoCs, Promises a Notch Higher Performance

  • Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs offer up to 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU and 64GB unified memory.
  • Apple also announced new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

Apple’s October 2021 fall event saw a bunch of new hardware announcements. These include redesigned MacBook Pros, new colors for the HomePod mini smart speaker and the much-awaited TWS, AirPods 3. Apple also announced two new chipsets – M1 Pro and M1 Max – to power the new MacBook Pro notebooks. We a deep dive to talk about the Apple announcement and what it means for both, Apple and its consumers.

M1 Pro, M1 Max SoCs: Supercharged with up to 32 GPU Cores, 64GB Unified Memory

Apple’s ARM-based M1 chip that debuted last year has already proved to be powerful and efficient. Now, building on the M1 architecture, Apple has announced the new M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs. Made on TSMC’s 5nm process, the new SoCs bring up to 70% faster CPU performance over the M1 chip. These SoCs will power the new MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 models. Let us dive in a little deeper to look at what these new chipsets have to offer.

counterpoint apple m1 soc family
Source – Apple

Starting with the Apple M1 Pro, it comes with up to 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU and up to 32GB unified memory with memory bandwidth up to 200GB/s. Higher bandwidth will allow in quickly moving data to and from memory, thus also leading to overall faster performance. The SoC also features 33.7 billion transistors. Now, in the 10-core CPU, there are eight high-performance and two high-efficiency cores.

counterpoint apple m1 pro specifications
Source – Apple

Along with the 16-core GPU, there is also a media engine that accelerates video processing while consuming less power. The acceleration is also available for the ProRes codec that Apple announced with the new iPhone 13 models. The new chipsets designed for MacBook Pros are aimed at pro users from fields ranging from content, music and movies to app creation.

alex mathew

“Our marketing manager, who also creates graphics and banners, is impressed with the fast and efficient M1-based MacBooks. The new M1 MacBooks show noticeable performance gains, whether you are a normal or power user. Photoshop load times are lightning quick when compared to a PC with similar specifications. It doesn’t even break a sweat when handling heavy image files and offers a stellar battery life.”

Alex Mathew – Graphic Designer & Digital Marketer

counterpoint apple m1 max specifications
Source – Apple

The Apple M1 Max SoC builds on the M1 Pro, taking its amazing capabilities even further. While it still comes with the same 10-core CPU, the number of GPU cores is doubled to 32, offering even faster-rendering speeds for videos and other graphics-related tasks. It has four times faster GPU performance compared to the M1 SoC. The M1 Max comes with massive 57 billion transistors and also supports up to 64GB of unified memory, offering up to 400GB/s memory bandwidth. While the M1 Pro supports up to two external displays, the M1 Max chip lets you connect up to four external displays.

“Our software developer who uses an Intel-based MacBook Air says, it gets exhausted when performing CPU-intensive tasks like crunching large numbers or running multiple servers/processes together. A small CPU-heavy script test took 84 seconds to complete on Intel machine. In comparison, the M1 MacBook Air took just 45 seconds, making it better by being faster with such computations. Considering the M1 as a benchmark, the new M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs with higher GPU cores are likely to offer even faster performance for such tasks.”

Adarsh Punj – Data Analytics & Software Developer

Redesigned MacBook Pros: 120Hz Refresh Rate Display, more Physical ports

We had been hearing about redesigned MacBook Pros for a while now, and Apple has finally refreshed the line-up. There are a bunch of new things that the new MacBook Pros bring, making them pro-grade notebooks for content creators. There are two models – a smaller MacBook Pro with a 14.2-inch screen and a bigger one with a 16.2-inch screen. Both are miniLED screens, like what we have seen in the iPad Pro line-up that Apple released earlier this year. These are Liquid Retina XDR displays with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The ProMotion technology can adjust the refresh rate between 24Hz and 120Hz depending on the screen content, while also saving energy. The screen also supports a peak brightness of 1600 nits.

counterpoint apple macbook pro m1 pro
Source – Apple

The new MacBook Pro screens have thin bezels along the top and sides and also come with a notch, just like the iPhones. The notch adds more screen real estate, while also housing a 1080p web camera with a larger image sensor that can offer better low-light performance as well. This is a good addition against the backdrop of working and learning from home, where a lot of video calls need to be taken regularly.

counterpoint apple macbook pro internals
Source – Apple

Apple has also added three mics that offer up to 60% lower floor noise. This should greatly help in recording audio or attending to voice/video calls. It doesn’t stop there as the MacBook Pros also come with two tweeters and four force-canceling woofers to offer a great multimedia experience.

Moving on, another big change in the new MacBook Pro line-up is the addition of more ports. The SD card slot is back, and it is a welcome change that photographers and videographers will appreciate. Next, Apple has also added the HDMI port back. So, now you get a total of three USB Type-C ports. The 3.5mm audio jack is still present and it now brings support for high-impedance headphones.

counterpoint apple macbook pro ports
Source – Apple

But that’s not all, Apple has brought back the MagSafe connector which now supports faster charging. The base model of the 14-inch MacBook Pro comes with a 67W charging adapter, whereas the higher models come with a 96W adapter. The 16-inch MacBook Pro models, on the other hand, come with a 140W power adapter, which is also Apple’s first GaN charger.

counterpoint apple macbook pro keyboard
Source – Apple

The new MacBooks have also done away with the Touch Bar and come with mechanical function keys. They also include shortcuts for Spotlight, Siri, Dictation and Do Not Disturb. For secure login using biometric authentication, the MacBook Pros come with a Touch ID sensor embedded in the power button.

Coming to the pricing, the new MacBook Pro models start at $1,999 for the 14-inch model. This is a watered-down variant that comes with an M1 Pro chip featuring an 8-core CPU and a 14-core GPU. But the base RAM is 16GB along with 512GB SSD. At $2,499, you can get the one with a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU and 1TB SSD. If you want a 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max SoC, you will have to shell out $2,899 for the 24-core GPU model and $3,099 for the 32-core GPU model.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499 for the base model with an M1 Pro 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. The one with the M1 Max SoC featuring a 32-core GPU costs $3,499. The top-end model with 64GB unified memory and 8TB storage will set you back by $6,099.

No doubt, the new MacBook Pros are expensive as they bring key improvements, from faster processors to better displays and higher resolution cameras among others. These notebooks are designed to attract the pro users looking to ease their workflows and, in turn, bring a better ROI in the long run.

Even for a content creator like me, who uses different programs and apps for tasks like editing podcasts and videos, a powerful notebook that can handle my workflow swiftly is important. This is especially true when editing videos shot in 4K (60fps), where trimming each clip on the timeline and adding music and voice-over along with text should be a smooth experience. Once the editing is done, rendering the video takes a considerable amount of time, and it gets a little frustrating if you want to make the smallest changes to the video and render it again.

During my brief usage, rendering a one-minute 8K video on a Windows-based laptop with the Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and GeForce MX250 graphics card took over four minutes. The same took less than 40 seconds on a MacBook Air M1 (8K to 4K 60fps). I am looking forward to the new MacBook Pros to see how faster they get at these tasks while improving efficiency.

Key Takeaways:

  • The MacBook Pros come with “pro pricing” but promise faster performance while lowering power consumption. How well these machines help in making the workflow easier remains to be seen.
  • The M1 Pro and Max SoCs may be good for content creators and graphic designers but they don’t seem to be designed for hardcore gaming.

Related Posts

No Stopping This Apple Cart: New Macs to Extend Chip Dominance

  • Apple’s new Mac will upend the Intel-dominated PC market and open up new opportunities, while the PC will be the next battleground for existing smartphone application processor (AP) vendors.
  • Apple is now a step ahead, as it controls both the operating system and the hardware, as well as the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) environment. Others are unlikely to follow suit.
  • Apple’s service revenue has been steadily growing since 2016 and accounted for 19% of the total revenue in 2020. The new Macs would also help to boost sales.
  • Rather than ARM’s imminent mass adoption in PCs, customized RISC SoCs’ influence on PC architectures will grow.

On November 10, 2020, Apple introduced three new Mac devices — MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. On April 20, 2021, Apple debuted the new iMac. All these are powered by the Apple M1 SoC. Apple has mastered both its software (OS and APP) and hardware system architectures, thanks to its years of experience designing customized RISC SoCs for its smartphones and tablets. Apple would like to extend this advantage to its future PC chips. As a result, Apple’s first high-performance SoC and architecture for the entry-level Mac has demonstrated its dominance over rival devices in its class.

Unlike Intel’s general-purpose processors which can be used in different models/brands of notebooks, Apple’s first SoC for Macs, the M1, is an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) to be only used in Apple-designed PCs. However, it can satisfy more than 80% of the requirement for entry-level PCs. In addition, Apple’s customized high-performance core (Firestorm) has many advantages over other ARM SoCs and x86 CPUs, such as high-density L1-L3 cache, eight-bit decoder, eight transmit (Dispatch) and 630 ROB.

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Source – Apple

Apple has added many dedicated cores which have better computing performance and less power consumption. Developers can enjoy both the benefits as long as they design their apps based on the APIs provided by Apple. The integration of these cores in a single SoC results in significant cost savings and provides additional features. These investments are expensive but provide solid and differentiated functionalities that are difficult for competitors to deal with.

 Apple’s motivation for releasing new Macs

Apple intends to build an updated PC ecosystem based on the popularity of Apple chips in the iPhone and iPad. Furthermore, the new chips have the potential to unify the architecture of the iPhone and Mac, resulting in a unified ecosystem that Apple can completely control. M1 Macs will run iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps, with Apple’s Catalyst project enabling iOS and macOS developers to share code. Some apps are likely to be incompatible with the new framework due to the switch from Intel processors to Apple Silicon. More native iOS apps are expected to move to the macOS over time.

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Source – Apple

Advantage of new Macs over Intel CPU-based counterparts

  • Power saving/always on/fast booting speed: The latest M1 Macs’ architecture is similar to the iPhones’. In the MacBook Air, Apple has replaced the fan with a passive cooler. Active cooling (fan) is present in the MacBook Pro and iMac, but it is seldom used, minimizing the amount of energy lost. ‘Always on’ devices will go from standby to active mode in a matter of seconds.
  • Running iOS apps on macOS: Developers can easily port apps from the iOS platform to the Mac using Mac Catalyst. ‘Continuity’ allows iOS and macOS devices to communicate easily and seamlessly for a better user experience.
  • Enhanced AI capability: The iOS 11, launched in 2017, included machine-learning APIs and Core ML. Core ML turns existing server-trained models into Core ML models. A Core ML model that has been optimized will run many times faster.
  • Faster data access speeds in storage: The storage design of the M1 Mac is identical to that of the iPhone. Apple has used the Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) communications protocol since the iPhone 6s, which provides considerably faster storage than its rivals. OSX (iOS, macOS) can also aid in data fragmentation reduction and access speed improvements.
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Source – Apple

Suitable use cases for M1 Macs

  • Basic usage and office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote now can all run natively on the M1 Mac to take advantage of performance improvements. M1-based Excel VBA runs three to four times faster than on x86 CPUs, making it faster than on Intel processor-based Macs, according to our measurements.
  • Content creators: Most video/photo editing applications for Mac can support M1 Mac natively, or at the very least via Rosetta2. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have seen significant efficiency, power, and memory consumption improvements.
  • Programmers: The M1 is designed to work with Xcode to create macOS or iOS apps. For this reason, many third-party libraries must be recompiled. The M1 is the new currency.

Benefits of new Macs

Apple moved to new Mx SoCs for a variety of reasons. Cost was one of them but not the most significant. Moving to a system architecture takes time, but there are several benefits in terms of hidden costs:

  • Increase in the quantity and consistency of Mac Apps: Apple would make it possible for iOS and macOS to share tools and architecture, allowing iOS developers to work on macOS as well. The aim is to make applications run smoothly on both platforms. The new framework will also pass the iPhone and iPad user experience.
  • Reduction in the number of chips outsourced: Apple’s use of in-house SoCs has allowed the company to build an ecosystem that is not dependent on chip partners such as Intel and AMD. It also means Apple will be able to better handle software-hardware vulnerabilities.
  • Increase in service revenue: Apple’s service revenue has grown rapidly over the past five years, with a five-year CAGR of 21.8%. Apple’s continuous introduction of new hardware helps increase the stickiness of its products, which in turn raises service revenue. Apple’s censorship also helps maintain the platform’s security, and will encourage more developers to sell their apps in Apple’s marketplace.

Future Apple Silicon and Macs

We believe the M1 is seen by Apple as the Apple Silicon for entry-level Macs. We expect Apple to launch an Apple Silicon upgrade for the MacBook Pro in Q4 2021 to differentiate it from the MacBook Air and the next Apple Silicon in 2021 for the iMac Pro. The new Apple Silicon is likely to use TSMC’s 4nm process for cost reduction and efficiency improvement. The primary goal of the Apple Silicon for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro would be to have a balance between performance and power consumption. The highly integrated PCB and the laptop-grade SoC, which is smaller than Intel’s CPU, can reserve more space for battery packs. However, Apple Silicon for desktop would need high-performance CPU cores, plus the improved NPUs and GPUs. Conversely, in situations where battery life and chip size are not major concerns (like in a desktop Mac), the chip’s performance can be maximized.

A detailed report, ‘Apple M1 Macs Review’, is available on our website for paying subscribers.

Related Reports

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One in Five iPads Sold in 2022 to Have Apple’s M-series SoC

At its Spring Loaded event in April 2021, Apple made a bunch of announcements on new iMacs, Apple TV, iPad Pros, AirTags, and more. Apple also introduced the new purple color variant for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. But among all the announcements, the iPad Pro with M1 chip took the center stage. The Apple Silicon chip not only makes it the most powerful and expensive iPad to date but also the one with top-notch specs.

Apple Silicon: M1 Chipset to Rule Them All

Before we deep-dive, it is important to understand the positioning of Apple Silicon. By using the M1 chipset in the iPad Pro, Apple is showcasing the ARM-based SoC’s scalability across different form factors – be it laptops, personal computers or tablets. This means it can power a portfolio of offerings even across different price points, right from a $699 Mac mini, a $799 iPad Pro and a $999 MacBook Air to a $1,299 iMac.

Unlike Intel’s tiered chipset strategy (from i3, i5, i7 to vPro) across different generations, the M1 is designed to target different types of applications and user segments from consumer to enterprise. Apple is driving scale with a single SKU of M1 SoC with consistent experience and performance across devices. This simplified positioning and messaging is the key differentiator for Apple.

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Source – Apple

But it is not just about the power and efficiency of M1, the chipset unlocks a lot of potential in terms of bringing smartphone-like capabilities to devices, from Augmented Reality (AR) to 5G. The immediate competitors are the Microsoft Surface series of laptops, mostly powered by Intel or AMD series, and an odd model like the Pro X, powered by Arm-based customized Qualcomm silicon (Microsoft SQ1/2). Recently, Samsung also debuted a new Galaxy Book line-up, all powered by Intel chipsets. It is the only series that is closer to converging the smartphone and PC connected experiences.

The M1 chipset is based on the same fundamental ARM architecture as the A-series chips that we have been seeing on iPhones and previous iPads. This makes it seamless for the apps developed for A-series devices to become compatible with the M-series devices, expanding the opportunities for developers beyond iPhones and iPads.

Top-notch Specs Bring Fluidity and Future-proofing

Apple has been setting gold standards when it comes to memory and storage to complement its powerful SoCs, making it an ultimate device for rich content creation and consumption. Drawing parallels from iPhones, according to our Component Price Tracker, the average NAND flash storage capacity in smartphones has been rising. Talking particularly about Apple, the average NAND density was 141GB in Q4 2020. The increase in demand for storage capacity can be attributed to higher resolution cameras capable of capturing high-quality photos and videos, storing audio, video and other types of content, and more. The maxed-out version of M1 iPad Pro also has 2TB of onboard storage which allows content creators to store those large video files without worrying about storage space, thus making it future-proof.

Now, having 16GB of DRAM can be termed as bragging rights for the iPad Pro M1, but it also means that it is nearly as powerful as the laptops. Having more RAM will not only speed up tasks like video post-processing and loading large files in apps like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Procreate, but also make the tablet future-proof for the next few years. This makes the entire experience fluid for the users.

Commenting on this specs strategy, Counterpoint Research Associate Siddharth Bhatla said, “The 16GB RAM in iPad is a big jump from its 6GB predecessor, signaling a major overhaul, either in the iPad apps or the iPadOS altogether. The larger RAM paves the way for bringing full pro-grade desktop apps into the iPad ecosystem and facilitate in a better way the multi-tasking needed in typical professional use cases. Video-editing apps like Final Cut Pro need large swathes of RAM for editing videos. As the videography is transitioning to 8K HDR, processing high bit-rate files will be a whole lot smoother with ample RAM. Beefy 3D simulation tools like ANSYS currently depend on the cloud to render frames, but a powerful processor like the M1 creates room for moderate simulation rendering on iPad.”

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Source – Apple

Bhatla added, “The iPad has traditionally been a media consumption device, whereas the iPad Pro is positioned towards the content creators and users looking for a highly portable but powerful device on the go. With this massive RAM upgrade, Apple has given wings to the app developer community for bringing the best out of iPads. With the upgrade to the 40Gbps Thunderbolt port, the new iPad Pro has to power to drive a 6K XDR display and support massive data-transfer rates, both of which can be a boon to the content creators. Apple Pencil on iPads further unlocks multiple use-cases which are not ideally convenient on most PC form-factors.”

M1 iPad Pro with 5G Connectivity Unlocks Many Possibilities

The iPad Pro M1 is the company’s first iPad with 5G connectivity. With blazing-fast 5G speeds at your fingertips, you can stream high-quality videos, and quickly upload or download files on the go. The low-latency network also means you can play your favorite and immersive mobile games on the go. Even the AR applications benefit from the high-speed connectivity.

counterpoint apple m1 ipad pro ar
Source – Apple

The LiDAR sensor on the iPad Pro M1 also unlocks immersive AR capabilities by creating a depth map of any space around you. The powerful ISP (Image Signal Processor) on the M1 chipset can focus on images more accurately, even in low-light conditions.

Can M1 iPad Pro be your Laptop Replacement?

The iPad Pro, with its premium price tag, is aimed purely at professionals. But whether or not it is a laptop replacement is a tricky question to answer. The “workflow” will play a crucial role here, besides the budget. Take, for instance, a graphics designer, an interior designer, or a professional photographer. These are the type of people who use apps like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create designs or edit photos. The M1 iPad Pro with Apple Pencil could prove to be a perfect tool to quickly draw rough sketches of designs they are thinking about. Procreate, a popular illustration app, is getting support for the M1 iPad Pro in its next update, which will enable painting 3D models, and will be up to four times faster. On a regular laptop without touchscreen or stylus support, it will not be easy to draw this quickly.

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Source – Apple

Next, think of an on-the-go content creator, someone who is using an iPhone to shoot 4K videos on travel or food, or for regular vlogs. Transferring videos to the iPad Pro using AirDrop is quick and easy. And with apps like Adobe Rush, iMovie and Luma Fusion, editing pro-grade videos on the go is easy. But one of the pain points of all apps is the time taken for rendering videos and exporting them.

In my MacBook Air M1 first impressions, I did a small test. I shot an 8K video, imported that on iMovie, edited it and then exported it in 4K 60fps. The rendering just took under a minute, whereas the same on my Windows 10 laptop, running Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, took about seven minutes. So, if the M1 iPad Pro can deliver the same performance, it could mean less wait time for content creators to get the final video rendered.

counterpoint apple m1 ipad pro content creation
Source – Apple

The third category of users will be executives who generally keep traveling to client offices to give presentations about their products and services. Such users could also include CEOs who attend meetings and have to travel a lot. In this case, carrying a portable tablet seems more apt than a bulky laptop. And having 5G cellular connectivity means they don’t need to rely on the Wi-Fi network at the hotel or public places to access emails or continue working on cloud documents.

Pricing will play a crucial role here. For example, the Wi-Fi-only base iPad Pro model with 128GB storage and an 11-inch screen is priced at $799 and goes up to $2,099 for the 2TB storage model with 5G connectivity. The 12.9-inch model, on the other hand, starts at $1,099 for 128GB storage and Wi-Fi-only connectivity. The top model with 2TB storage and 5G connectivity will be available for $2,399.

The one important thing to note here is that the MacBook Pro M1 laptop with 2TB storage costs $100 less at $2,299, compared to the top iPad Pro model with M1. Add $129 for Apple Pencil and $299 for the Magic Keyboard, the total cost for the iPad Pro with M1 and accessories goes to $2,827.

But for someone with no budget restrictions, having workflow flexibility and heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the M1 iPad Pro may just be an apt choice given the compactness, touchscreen, efficient battery life, Apple Pencil support and 5G connectivity. So, Apple is now offering a wide range of powerful computing options with differentiated capabilities for the users looking for a tablet form-factor instead.

Demand for M-series iPads to Soar

Apple introduced the iPad Pro in 2015, featuring the powerful Ax-series chipsets. But over the years, Apple has been looking to bridge the gap between iPads and MacBooks. Introducing Universal Apps that run across Apple devices – iPhone, iPad and Mac – was the first step. The M1 chipset-based iPad Pro is the second step towards bridging the gap.

The M1 iPad Pro is launching around mid-May in key markets such as the US. In other markets, it may take a little longer. The demand for M1-based iPads will be very high but with Apple’s warning about chip shortages in H2 2021, we estimate the share of M-series-based iPads to remain at close to one in ten iPads shipped this year. For the second half this year and the next, we estimate that almost one in five iPads shipped will sport an M-series SoC.

Also Read: Strategic Reviews and Insights on Latest Smartphones and Laptops

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Podcast: Auto Sector’s Semiconductor Shortage Likely to Ease in Late 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted automobile sales in H1 2020. But as the demand started recovering in H2 2020, the semiconductor shortage crisis hit the automobile industry too. The chipset production capacity is already stretched by the rise in demand from smartphones and laptops due to work-from-home and learn-from-home. As a result, the semiconductor shortage faced by the automobile industry is unlikely to ease before late 2021. Some automakers have already been forced to slow down their car sales due to production delays.

The limited capacity expansion of 8-inch semiconductor production is also one of the reasons leading to this shortage, apart from geopolitical uncertainties.

There is strong demand for 5G iPhones. And with Apple moving from Intel-based chipsets to its own M1 chipsets for Macs, how will it affect chipset makers when TSMC prioritizes Apple?

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by Research Director Dale Gai to discuss the semiconductor chip shortage faced by the automotive sector. Dale weighs in on points like how the capex boost will not solve the shortage problem. He also shares his views on the foundry industry’s revenue growth, and challenges and opportunities for Chinese semiconductor manufacturers like SMIC.

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First Impressions: MacBook Air M1 is a Breeze!

At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2020, Apple announced its plans of switching from Intel chipsets to Apple Silicon in two years, and that the move will be a gradual one. Later, in November 2020, Apple formally announced refreshed models of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and the Mac mini powered by the Apple M1 chip. I had a chance to try out the MacBook Air M1, and here are my first impressions.

Familiar Design to Feel at Home

The MacBook Air M1 and the MacBook Air with Retina display, which was introduced in early 2020, look the same. The weight and dimensions are identical, so is the port placement. It is impossible to tell the difference between the two without looking at the hardware. Both have minimal ports, including two multipurpose USB Type-C (Thunderbolt) ports on the left, and a 3.5mm audio jack on the right.

counterpoint macbook air m1 first impressions ports

There is no doubt that the MacBook Air design looks rich and premium, thanks to the aluminum body. The gold color variant looks impressive, though I feel it should have been called ‘rose gold’. With the limited usage of around six hours, typing on the scissors-switch keyboard felt better than my Early 2015 MacBook Air. One important thing to note here is the fan-less design which should result in some power efficiency.

counterpoint macbook air m1 first impressions keyboard

First Impressions After Using Apple MacBook Air M1

Power and efficiency have been two important things people have been talking about after using the new M1-powered MacBooks, and I was eager to test some of the claims. Right after booting the MacBook Air, the battery was around 45%. I first updated the apps and OS after which the battery dropped to around 33%. I loaded a few 8K videos, which I had shot from the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The read/write speed was fantastic. Transferring nine short videos totaling 3GB took under a minute.

There were no issues in 8K video (24fps) playback, a point where my Intel 10th gen Core i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM struggles. I opened these videos in iMovie to crop and add transitions and music before saving them in 4K format. Well, iMovie did not support saving in 8K, so had to go with 4K. The encoding and rendering took just 38 seconds for a file size that was 4.5GB.

It took me about two hours to do this video editing, along with some internet surfing, video-streaming, and more. During this time, the battery drained from 33% to 26% despite undertaking these heavy tasks. Also, the MacBook Air became barely warm after these activities. And mind you, this is a fan-less laptop.

Why Migrate from x86 to ARM Architecture?

There are several reasons why Apple decided to go with the new ARM architecture for its Homebrew CPUs while ditching x86:

  • Apple gets greater control over the product refresh cycle as it does not have to wait for Intel to release new-gen chipsets.
  • Tighter hardware and software integration for ultra-smooth performance.
  • Will help developers create apps that are scalable to run across iOS, iPad OS and macOS using the same APIs and programming tools.
  • Apple Silicon chips will be a big differentiator compared to the competition.

Talking about Apple’s move from Intel to its own M1 chip, Research Director Brady Wang said, “The slow improvement in PC hardware, which is dominated by Intel, is among the key factors affecting macOS’ progress. Depending on the applications’ environment, power consumption, thermal efficiency and footprint are essential considerations in designing SoCs. Thanks to the advantages of the advanced process in TSMC in terms of power consumption and transistor density, the M1 performs better on Mac devices than on previous Intel-based MacBooks. It is worth mentioning that the M1 embeds DRAM next to the SoC to form a unified memory architecture (UMA) to speed up data access through high-speed interconnections. This can reduce memory modules’ footprint, leaving room for batteries or other peripheral circuits.”

Concluding Thoughts: Apple Silicon Aiming to Redefine PC Experience

With limited usage, the MacBook Air M1 has surely impressed me. But there are many things I could not test. The biggest concern here is how x86 apps perform when Rosetta 2 translates these to work on ARM. But I think this will not be a major concern by the time Apple makes a complete switch, as developers have enough time to make universal apps that will run even faster on Apple Silicon.

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