Apple Silicon - Mac M1 Processor. When's the right time to upgrade?

The latest (and arguably) most significant upgrade to the Apple Mac in recent years has taken place. The first Apple Macs with ARM M1 processors, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, are being delivered this week. The rollout across the full range is estimated to take around two years.

The new M1 offers a number of attractive features:

· Longer battery life: Up to 18 hours of battery life for the new MacBook Air and 20 hours on the new MacBook Pro

· High efficiency. 8-core CPU, consisting of 4 ‘performance’ cores and four ‘efficiency’ cores. The efficiency cores consume one-tenth of the power. The four efficiency cores are to handle lighter workloads. They use a tenth of the power while still delivering outstanding performance. These e‑cores are the most efficient place to run lightweight tasks, allowing the performance cores to be used for your most demanding workflows. Performance cores peak performance using 25% of the power associated with Intel chips

· More efficient and a faster processor. M1 chip offers up to 3.5 times faster CPU performance than equivalent Intel i7 processors

· Silent performance. The new MacBook Air does not require a cooling fan, resulting in silent and power efficient operation. The fan has been replaced with an aluminium heat spreader dissipating heat the system generates, so no matter how intense the task, MacBook Air runs completely silently

· Run applications already used on iPhone and iPad devices, natively. Many iPhone and iPad apps purchased previously will be made available to Apple Silicon users through the App Store

Be aware though that the introduction of new architecture means some software is not yet compatible with M1.

Apple has developed Rosetta 2 to transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. Existing Intel applications can run without needing to be recompiled for the M1, allowing continued running of existing applications while developers work on adapting their applications to run natively and fully exploit the new technology.

However, the complexity of this process, together with experience of the original Rosetta implementation in the switch to Intel, suggests this is unlikely to run seamlessly for all applications and an upgrade without prior investigation could adversely affect your business operations.

With this in mind we would advise all out clients to speak to us before upgrading to understand the implications this would have on their business IT systems.

If an upgrade is considered to be a good opportunity for your business, then we also offer Tech as a Service and can provide sensible leasing plans to enable an affordable upgrade.

As always, talk to the Conformedia team to ensure you make a fully informed decision. We are here to help.

Be aware that if you are looking to upgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur, you are likely to hit some compatibility issues. We would recommend you speak to us for more information before making any changes.

Here is an example of one company that doesn’t yet support Big Sur.

During 2020 remote working became necessary for many businesses. Some clients had systems in place and therefore the transition was seamless. For others it was more complicated.

Leeds agency Enjoy Digital rolled out an established remote working strategy. PFK, Cumbrian Land and Estate Agents had Sophos Central and together with Sophos XG Firewalls the transition was straightforward and efficient.

By acting quickly and having the right infrastructure and technical support in place enabled their businesses to continue to work without disruption.

Ian Fiddler,  Head of Business Operations, Enjoy Digital explains."Following the need for social distancing, our team has been successfully working from their homes. Before the measures were introduced, we conducted test days where colleagues who had not worked from home previously were able to check they had access to everything they needed. We are continuing our daily meetings, which we run virtually, and we are regularly checking in with one another to make sure everyone is feeling supported. Overall, our operations have changed very little, other than the views from the office window.” 

Unlike Enjoy Digital, the PFK employees were predominantly office based pre-COVID. When home working became necessary the business took a two-pronged approach. They purchased new laptops for key members of staff and allowed the remaining staff to take office desktop computers home. Lyn Lancaster, Head of Estate Agency at PFK describes how swift action was taken to enable the business to continue working. "In light of recent events we found ourselves in a position of having to enable staff to work from home within a very short timescale.  Conformedia were immediately on hand to allow our team to do this which in essence allowed us to continue to offer our customers the best service possible.” 

David Rayner, Conformedia’s MD,  explains why it was essential to have centrally managed security policies in place to enable this quick transition to home working. “Remote working will only work if your business has the right security in place. Even though very few users were set up to work from home pre-crisis, the business was already using Sophos Central with Sophos XG Firewalls. It was a relatively simple and quick process to have all users up and running from home. The strict policies already in place were rolled out to remote users, ensuring that business security continued to be maintained at the highest level. The beauty of a centrally managed system is that we can deploy updates and manage the IT, regardless of location.”


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