Friday, November 27, 2020

Reviews of the First M1 Macs


Update (2021-01-06): John Gruber (tweet, Hacker News):

It’s not like Intel apps running in Rosetta run OK, and native Apple Silicon apps run well; it’s more like Intel apps in Rosetta run well and Apple Silicon apps run even better. Yes, of course you want apps compiled to run natively, but most users running most apps — including some professional apps — won’t notice.

This is true, although I’ve also encountered some Rosetta-specific bugs in macOS.

The adage is, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Emphasis on probably — the M1 Macs are an exception. They really are that good. But, like the iPhone in 2007, there are people who refuse to believe it.

Peter Steinberger:

The new M1 MacBooks are fast, beautiful, and silent, and the hype is absolutely justified. There’s still a lot to do on the software front to catch up, and the bugs around older iOS simulators are especially problematic.

Om Malik:

The M1 is a long-term shift, not just for Apple, but for the entire industry. However, the future can be boring when you are seeking attention now.


Since publishing my original review, I have installed the beta version of the M1-optimized Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Photoshop. Their performance on the M1 MacBook Pro has left me slack-jawed. I am not saying the beta software is without its faults. Still, I increasingly find myself sitting on the couch comfortably editing photos on the new laptop, even though I have a more expensive, tricked-out MacBook 16 within an arm’s reach.

Jean-Louis Gassée (Hacker News):

The generally positive first reviews of M1-based Macs has generated animated discussions. Judging by users’ reactions, Apple’s new M1 processor truly is a BFD (Big Fantastic Disruption), but, as expected, certain critics have questioned the success.

Rob Griffiths:

Basically, I chose the MacBook Pro because it has a Touch Bar—despite the fact that I hate the Touch Bar. But some of our apps make use of the Touch Bar, so I need it to support our users and test our apps.


For now, I view iOS support as a nice way to run some simple apps—probably games—on your Mac that you enjoy using on your iPad. Beyond that, it really feels like Apple’s, well, mixing apples and oranges with iOS support on ARM Macs.


I’ve had my M1 MacBook Pro for a few weeks now, and I can confidently say this is the best-performing Mac laptop I’ve ever owned—and not just because of its benchmark scores. It’s that the entire system has been designed to take advantage of Apple’s homebuilt powerful but low-power CPU.

David Barnard:

Anyone else on an M1 Mac and/or Big Sur having issues with the screensaver turning on every ~20 minutes and locking the computer? Disabling the screensaver completely in Settings didn’t fix it. Logging in over and over eventually fixes it, but it’s quite annoying.

David Barnard:

This keeps happening over and over. I’ll be mid sentence typing something and the computer just locks up. Stay the hell away from an M1 Mac as your primary machine until they’ve had some more time in the oven.

Dominik Wagner:

Anybody else having random acts of unescapable screen saver on an M1 MacBook? My screensaver even is set to never. Only thing that helps is power button, cancel, log back in with touchid.

Peter Steinberger:

This happened yesterday on CI and it was fun. Rebooting is quite the task if you have an encrypted volume.


I had the problem in the beginning, then I disabled „login window screen safer“ (via „defaults“ in Terminal), since then not happening anymore …

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ loginWindowIdleTime 0

Update (2021-01-14): Bouke van der Bijl (via Hacker News):

I’m here to tell you: it is indeed an amazing device. The performance feels a lot better than my MacBook Pro 16”, which is only a year old and about 3x the price.


Somehow Apple has created the best PC in every category at once. It is even the best Windows PC, despite the multiple layers of emulation that are happening. The battery life is incredible, I haven’t experienced any slowdowns, I don’t hear any fans spin up (because there are none). It’s hard not to be excited about this.

Update (2021-01-27): Cameron Lucy (via John Gordon):

Many users have reported a worrisome issue with the M1 chip devices. The computers crash suddenly and restart randomly. Some MacBook models also get their screen, inexplicably turned black.

Update (2021-02-05): John Voorhees:

The M1 is an impressive opening act of a story that has just begun. For the first time in a long while, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement around the Mac and what’s coming next. I’m looking forward to what’s next for the Mac, but at the same time, couldn’t be happier with the Macs I’m already using, which makes 2021 a fantastic time to be a Mac user.

Update (2021-07-02): Dr. Drang:

I didn’t buy a MacBook for years because I was afraid of the keyboard. Now I have an M1 MacBook Air with the good keyboard, and after 3-4 months the L key has gone wonky.

Adam Chandler:

The reviewers mislead me. I was convinced this would be a life changing experience.


The device takes about 4 minutes to boot despite being a 100% clean install of MacOS with no custom software.


The battery life is around 5 hours in actual usage.


This machine is always hot and always running its fan.

Update (2021-07-03): Dan Masters:

Two friends bought M1 MacBooks over the last week upon my advice. So yeah – don’t ever call me anti-Apple again; I’m pro-user.

What really sealed the deal was how Windows laptops priced 2x-4x more are still stuck on HD displays. Seriously, Windows OEMs?

Update (2021-07-09): Ben Lovejoy (Hacker News):

Apple has claimed in a new interview that the M1 MacBook battery life was so good they originally thought the battery indicator was buggy, failing to respond as the remaining life fell.

The claim is made by Apple marketing VP Bob Borchers, who also suggests that future generations of Apple Silicon might be good enough to turn Macs into gaming machines[…]

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Peter Steinberger’s blog post is really good:

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