Intel is having a rough go of things over the past 5 years. AMD has surpassed team blue in raw performance and now Apple has begun to ditch them entirely by once again producing their own in-house processors, cutting out the blue middleman.
Intel's hubris and resting on laurels aside, Apple's new M1 processor will create a ripple effect throughout the industry that many of us may not fully realize yet. In a nutshell, the ARM revolution is upon us and the sun is setting on traditional x86/64 processors. To briefly bring the uninitiated up to speed, your desktop and laptop computers run on traditional Intel/AMD "X86/X64" processors. Your phones, tablets, TVs, smart speakers, smart watches, and almost everything else with a digital "brain" runs on ARM based processors.
Think about how far your phone's processing power has come over the past decade. 99% of what you can do on a massive desktop computer sucking 500 watts from the wall can be done on your phone consuming 5 watts. Forgive me for oversimplifying, but this is the true strength of ARM based computing. Extreme efficiency. In fact, Apple's ARM based M1 chip can do with 10 watts what traditional X86 AMD/Intel CPUs require 40 watts. (The M1 is considerably more powerful than what's in your current phone)
Performance per watt is king, and Apple's M1 SoC (system on chip) is the new king.
Great for Apple, but how will this revolutionize the "entire" personal computing industry even for those that will never own an Apple product?
Apple has singlehandedly forced the issue of requiring 3rd party software developers (Microsoft, Avid, Adobe, etc) to recode their software to run on Apple's ARM based processors. This means software normally suited to run on big, bulky laptops and office PCs will now be only a few lines of code away from running on your non-Apple ARM based phone/tablet. For instance, Samsung phones run on ARM based Snapdragon and Exynos SoC's, and if huge 3rd party developers are already doing the grunt work of recoding software to run on Apple's ARM based M1 SoC, it's only a matter of time before the same software is offered in the Google Play store to run on your non-Apple ARM devices. There is financial incentive to offer the product to as many customers as possible "while their at it" recoding for ARM based Apple products.
"That's great, but my professional software will be impossible to work with on a phone screen." True, but your phone easily hooks up to most modern TVs and monitors, either wired or wirelessly. Pair it to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and leave your laptop at home. Now your phone runs the exact same software and it is always in your pocket.
At bare minimum, in the very near future, you will have the very real option of leaving your laptop at home entirely. Options are awesome.
This writeup only barely scratches the surface of the revolution Apple's M1 SoC will usher in. For my full thoughts, enjoy my podcast below.