Apple’s new M1 ARM processor Macbooks caused quite a stir in the consumer tech world, but what does the latest architecture mean for resellers and service providers?
For Catalytic IT director Michael Lester, it’s a matter of “no news is good news.”
“We thought, with the M1 coming out that there was going to be a massive shift with a lot of things that we needed to get used to and adapt to, but the truth is, Apple’s done a really good job of making sure that things just continue and the compatibility works really well.”
There was a fair reason for the initial concern. A change like this can cause far-reaching ramifications when it comes to applications, especially those designed for business. If Apple’s Rosetta translation solution had not been up to scratch, it could have ended up causing headaches for those wanting to gain the widely-reported performance gains that the new processor provides.
However, Lester says that within his customer-base, those who are ready to upgrade have almost all gone with the ARM-powered models over those with the legacy Intel chips because most are purchasing the Air, rather than the Pro.
“You’re kind of forced to go (the M1) way if you want to get an entry-level Mac. The weird thing is you get an entry-level Mac, in many ways the performance is better than buying a new MacBook Pro. It's a total no brainer.”
While Lester sees that the most demanding users are holding off from upgrading to see what the next-gen of ARM Pro devices might look like, the portability and quietness of the Air are even attracting many users with higher performance needs to Apple’s entry-level option.
With the attention that the Air is getting for its performance benchmarks, it could provide a viable option for specific users within an organisation who need light media or graphics capability without having to go up to a heavy workstation or gaming rig.
Integrating these devices into a Windows-based IT infrastructure also means an opportunity for partners to provide expertise, Lester explains, as the M1 renders old strong-arm workarounds no longer viable.
“A lot of enterprises may have some Macs around the edges and they’re struggling to understand, 'where does this fit into my organisation and how do I manage it?’ Apple, for the last probably six or seven years, has been walking through what their approach to deployment is but the old methods worked for the longest time; if you still wanted to do a big thick Mac image, you could do it. It got harder and harder, but it was still possible. It's now not possible with the M1.
“We have started to hear a bit of bubbling in the edges of those enterprises who don't really do a lot of Mac and they are really struggling with ‘how do I deploy Macs’ and having to relearn. There will be some enterprises that haven't been keeping up with Apple's recommended approach and there may be a few roadblocks for these guys. But for us, we've been managing Macs that way for five to six years.”
With Apple’s eye on the enterprise, the growth of the hybrid work model and smaller companies opting for BYOD, having an understanding of Apple’s new processor architecture and how to integrate and manage those devices may be a vital tool to add to the box.