MacBook Air M1

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:02:00 GMT

Tags: #macos #applesilicon

I am an iPad Pro user since 2018. iPad Pro is a hardware wonder. I use the iPad Pro a lot. However, I am a developer. Because of that MacOS caters more to my needs. For years, there has been rumours about Apple transitioning Mac to ARM. I have experienced the power of an iPad Pro first hand and I was excited what could it mean for the Mac and MacOS.

Last WWDC, Apple announced the transition. I waited eagerly for the new hardware unveil.

I bought a MacBook Air M1 with 8 Core and 16GB of RAM. It arrived on Tuesday evening. I love it.

No Fan

My main computer is an iMac Pro. My portable computer for the past couple of years have been an iPad Pro. Both are extremely quiet machines. I rarely hear the iMac Pro fans. Sometimes the fan triggers when I tax the iMac to run the Micronaut Gradle builds with the --parallel flag and I use the iMac's cores to their fullest potential. But in general is an extremely powerful but quiet machine. And I love it because of that.

Before the iMac Pro, my main machine was a 2014 Macbook Pro. I still own that machine. I rarely use it now, unless I need to do programming outside home. That it is a loud machine. The fans are almost always engaged when I use it. I don't remember if it was always like that. But it is now.

The Macbook Air M1 does not have a fan. It stays in silence and that it is an awesome feature for a Laptop.

Battery

Mind blowing. For the battery improvements, it is worth the purchase. I am getting around 8 hours of my normal use (programming, email, browser, image editing, writing) of this computer. I will drain the battery of my 2014 Macbook Pro with the same usage in around 2 hours.

Keyboard and Trackpad

My move to iMac kept me way from butterfly keyboard era. Thus, I have never been down on Apple's keyboards. The keyboard reminds me of the Magic Keyboard. Backlit is nice. The trackpad biggest change for me. Much bigger than my 2014 Macbook Pro's trackpad.

Touch ID

I have used TouchID on iPads and iPhones. However, I never owned a Mac with Touch ID until now. Unlocking the computer with Touch ID is nice. But what I am enjoying is Touch ID in combination with 1Password. Unlocking 1Password is something I do multiple times a day and using my thumb to do it is a snappy feature.

Are apps ready for Apple Silicon?

Most of the developers of my apps provide already a universal binary. I will write a blog post about the apps I use. The apps which are not yet ready and run seamlessly thanks to Rosetta 2. You don't notice anything.

Java Development

My work is mostly JVM development. I will continue to do the heavy-lift portions of that job in my iMac Pro connected two big monitors. However, I have installed IntelliJ IDEA, AWS Corretto JDK via SDKMan in my Macbook Air M1 without issues. Same tools I use in my Intel Macs. I built Micronaut Security and it builds fast. I think the Java story will improve dramatically within the next year but even running under Rosetta 2 is not bad. I will write a blog post with Java build comparisons.

Incompatible apps

Docker Desktop crashes on startup. I use Docker mainly in combination with Test Containers. Thus, I am running my builds ignoring the tests which require Test Containers. I hope it gets fixed soon. It is a showstopper for many developers.

iOS and iPad apps

I work with people in three different time zones. Typically, people in St. Louis, London or Madrid. CalZones is a helpful app for iOS and iPadOS to deal with time zones. It was not in the Mac and now I can running it thanks to Apple Silicon macs.

I installed Overcast, my podcast player of choice for iOS and iPad OS. I synced my account, play podcasts. It works fine.

They look a little bit out of place but I welcome to have them. I need to play more with them to understand how I feel about them.

Cold

I often use my Laptop in a couch and it was important for me not get hot. My previously laptop got hot pretty fast. This laptop is cold.

Ready to go

Instant wake is nice. If you used an iPad, you know the appeal. Having the same experience in MacOS reduces the barrier to pick my Mac.

Fast

This computer is fast. Really fast!. I have used it for a day but I have the same feeling I got when I purchased my iMac Pro. This is how computing should be. Web browsing is blazing fast.

It does not get hot. It is quiet. It is fast. It is the future. It is now.