The Best M1 Apple Silicon MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Features

BY Parth Shah

Published 10 Nov 2020

2021 macbook pro and air features

Apple’s MacBook lineup finally has a change of heart. At a virtual ‘One More Thing’ event, the company officially unveiled a new line of MacBook models with Apple’s custom silicon – M1. Both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are identical in look and feel to their predecessor. The real change is within the processor that powers the Mac. Apple has replaced the Intel-based CPUs with in-house custom silicon to power the next generation of the MacBook lineup. Let’s take a look at all the new MacBook Pro and Air features.

Best Features of M1 Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

The swap from Intel to Apple Silicon leads to performance and graphics gains as well as hitting new benchmarks in battery life. Considering the current situation, Apple is also giving attention to the integrated webcam in both the MacBook Models.

1. New M1 CPU Inside

Apple is targeting two years of the timeline to replace all Intel-based MacBook models with Apple Silicon. The journey starts today with the addition of the M1 chip inside MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. But then again, why is there so much fuss about Apple’s transition? Read along to find major advantages and features of the 2021 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.


2. Faster CPU Performance

M1 features an 8-core CPU consisting of four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Each of the high-performance cores provides industry-leading performance for single-threaded tasks while running as efficiently as possible.

As a result, the 2021 MacBook Air is 3.5x faster than the one it’s replacing. The improved performance will allow users to perform intensive tasks such as 4K video editing and large RAW editing on a small and slim ultrabook.

Speaking of MacBook Pro, Apple is claiming 2.8x performance than the 2020 MacBook Pro model. In raw numbers, this means the new MacBook Pro can play an 8K video without skipping a beat. You edit high-resolution photos with lightning speed and developers to build apps nearly 3x faster than before. And all four high-performance cores can be used together for a huge boost in multithreaded performance.

3. Improved Graphics Performace

With integrated graphics in the M1 chip, Apple is taunting 5x graphics performance on both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The 8-core GPU will enable future buyers to play graphics-intensive games like ease.

Featuring up to eight powerful cores capable of running nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously, the GPU can handle extremely demanding tasks with ease, from smooth playback of multiple 4K video streams to rendering complex 3D scenes. With 2.6 teraflops of throughput, Apple claims to deliver the world’s fastest integrated graphics on a personal computer.

graphics improved on Macbook air and pro

4. All-Day Battery Life

With the jaw-dropping boost in CPU and graphics performance, one would expect to take a hit on battery life on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Well, that’s not the case here. Apple is claiming 15 hours of web browsing and 18 hours of video playback while keeping the MacBook Air’s fanless design cool and calm.

MacBook Pro with its thicker design can run 17 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of video playback on a single charge.

5. Better Webcams

Apple’s decision to improve webcams on MacBook Air and Pro couldn’t have come at a better time. For years, users have been asking Apple to upgrade the abysmal webcam performance on the MacBook.

The webcam resolution remains unchanged at 720p only. The real advancements come from the inclusion of ISP on the Mac. The image signal processor (ISP) in the M1 chip helps you look your best for every FaceTime call and video conference. Three built-in microphones make sure what you say gets heard whether you’re on a call, dictating a note, or asking Siri about the weather.

6. Instant Wake from Sleep

M1 silicon’s advancements allow MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to instantly wake the device and OS from sleep. According to Apple, the wake-up time is on par with the current iPhone and iPad models.

You can attribute the instant wake to the 2x SSD performance on the late 2020 MacBook Pro and Air models. Users can experience class-leading read and write performance on new MacBook models. This one is helpful to those dealing with large files and external storage all the time on MacBook.

faster SSD on MacBook Air and Pro

7. Responsive Web-browsing Performace

All the Apple apps are already optimized to take advantage of the M1 silicon. As a result, you can expect 2x Safari web-browsing performance on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro compared to its predecessors.

8. Wi-Fi 6 Support

The 2021 MacBook lineup finally make a jump to the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology. Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi. It’ll still do the same basic thing — connect you to the internet — just with a bunch of additional technologies to make that happen more efficiently, speeding up connections in the process.

You can expect up to 9.6 Gbps speeds compared to Wi-Fi 5’s 3.5 Gbps. This may seem overkill now but remembers, most users stick with their MacBook purchase for a longer period of time.

9. Compatibility With All Your Favorite Apps

You can expect to run all the Intel-based apps on the new MacBook Air and Pro. Apple has launched the Univeral Apps (Which allows developers to run a single app on both Intel and Apple Silicon laptops) and Project Rosetta to allow you to enjoy all the apps on the new Mac architecture.

Developers will have an option to run iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac platform. You can expect to see thousands of apps and games landing on the Mac App Store in near future.

10. Thunderbolt 4 Add-on

Thunderbolt 4 enables ultra-high bandwidth to ultra-versatility. Thunderbolt enables data transfer, charging, and video output all through a single port.

11. Unchanged Price

With all the advancements, Apple is keeping the price as same before. The latest MacBook Air starts at $999 ($899 for education) and the MacBook Pro will retail at $1299 ($1199 for education) to all. The pre-order starts today with the shipping date scheduled for the next week.

Which MacBook model are you looking forward to buying this holiday season? Which feature sounds tempting from the list above? Sound off in the comments section below.