So, just how much as Apple changed in the new M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro compared to their Intel-powered predecessors? The good folks at iFixit reveal all in their latest teardown.
Based on what I’ve been reading, many have been expecting some big internal changes to accommodate the new M1 chip, with perhaps the Mac’s and iPad’s internal architecture converging. Given Apple’s predisposition to keep things as simple and as easy as possible, I was expecting minimal changes.
Turns out I was right.
iFixit’s teardowns of the M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro reveal familiar designs.
“While Apple touts its M1-powered Macs as nothing short of a revolution, internally, they could hardly be any more similar to their predecessors,” writes iFixit’s Sam Goldheart.
Inside the MacBook Air, the changes all revolve around the mainboard and the cooling. The M1-powered Air no longer has a fan, instead using an aluminum heat-spreader to dissipate the heat generated by the M1.
The M1-powered Pro has a heatsink and fan setup that’s similar to the one found on the Intel-powered MacBook Pros.
Again, Apple has kept the designs as simple and as unchanged as possible.
Then there’s the mainboard with the M1 silicon. Along with the M1 processor, the mainboard is home to chips from an array of suppliers, from Texas Instruments, Intersil, Winbond, Siliconix, National Semiconductor, and Intel (the Thunderbolt 4 controller).
One chip no longer present is Apple’s T2 security chip. The Secure Enclave has now been moved inside the M1, so this separate chip is no longer required.
How will this design stand the test of time? Only time will tell, but by keeping to a familiar design, Apple is minimizing on the amount of new problems it might be facing.