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The Apple M4 Chip: Revolutionizing the Tech Industry

Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ event in May unveiled the new Apple M4 silicon. This marks the first time Apple has introduced a chip for tablets before Macs.

The Apple M4 details are out, giving us a glimpse of what to anticipate from this chip. We also know when it will be integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

Let’s delve into this intriguing hardware and discuss what Apple has disclosed.

APPLE M4: THE ESSENTIALS

What is it? It’s Apple’s latest in-house silicon. What’s the price? It won’t be sold separately but will come installed in various Apple devices. When is it available? Announced on May 7, 2024.

APPLE M4: AVAILABILITY

The Apple M4 chip was unveiled at the ‘Let Loose’ iPad event on May 7, 2024. It will hit the market the week of May 13, 2024.

APPLE M4: FEATURES & EFFICIENCY

The Apple M4 is a second-generation chip, like the M3, and is built on TSMC’s 3nm process node. It boasts a 10-core CPU and 10-core GPU, an upgrade from the M3’s 8-core CPU and GPU. It can handle up to 38 trillion operations per second in its neural engine, Apple’s NPU equivalent. With 28 billion transistors, up from the M3’s 25 billion, it can support up to 128GB of unified memory.

The Apple M4 also supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing, dynamic caching, and mesh shading, similar to the M3.

As for performance, we’ll have to wait for our tests, but Apple claims a 50% CPU performance increase over the M2 and a GPU performance that’s up to 400% faster. According to Apple, the iPad Pro will deliver M3-level performance with significantly less power consumption.

Apple M4
Apple

APPLE M4: RECENT UPDATES

The Apple M4 made its debut at Apple’s iPad event in May. This month, it will be featured in new iPad Pro models, making the pro tablet more powerful than the top-selling MacBook Air.

The Apple M4 chip, built on a ‘second-generation’ 3-nanometer process, promises the same performance as the M3 but with significantly better efficiency. This allows the iPad Pro to deliver desktop-like performance without draining the battery.

In terms of specs, the M4 chip offers the same advancements to the iPad Pro that the M3 brought to MacBooks and the iMac last year. This includes mesh shading, hardware ray tracing, and dynamic caching. The M4 features a 10-core CPU and 10-core GPU, with Apple stating that the CPU is 50% faster than the M2’s, and the GPU is 400% faster than the M2’s GPU.

Naturally, with the AI boom, Apple is promoting the neural engine in its M-series chips. This is Apple’s term for the NPU in its SoC. Capable of 38 trillion operations per second, it’s among the quickest NPUs available. This will be particularly beneficial for creators using generative AI or AI-boosted tools in apps such as Adobe Photoshop.

APPLE M4: A CHALLENGE FOR MICROSOFT AND INTEL

The launch of the new Apple M4 chip sees Apple gaining ground on Microsoft and Intel in performance. The timing is interesting, with Microsoft Build, the tech giant’s annual conference, just around the corner. While it’s mainly a developer event, the pressure is on Microsoft to counter Apple, particularly with Windows on Arm.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X Elite chips, promising performance on par with the Apple M3, could be Microsoft’s best shot at keeping pace with Apple, despite being a step behind.

Then there’s Intel. Their latest processors, the Intel Core and Intel Core Ultra series, aren’t setting any performance records and lag significantly behind Apple’s M-series chips in terms of efficiency and battery life. It’s unclear how Intel plans to address this, but they certainly need a response to the Apple M-series silicon, and the latest Intel Core Ultra chips don’t seem to be the answer.

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