What you need to know
- Apple's M1-powered MacBook Air can build apps in Xcode faster than a decked out iMac Pro.
- You should buy a MacBook Air.
Apple's M1-powered MacBook Air, with 16GB of RAM, can build apps in Xcode faster than a 10-core iMac Pro with 32GB of RAM.
That's it. That's the post.
Well, it could be. But let's continue.
We learn this from Dave Lee's review of the new M1 Macs in which he shares a slide that outlines the time it took a number of machines to complete a build in Xcode. Some of those machines are big, powerful machines like the 10-core, 32GB iMac Pro. Others are the lowly, fanless MacBook Air.
And the Mac without a fan more than held its own.
Maybe Apple wasn't wrong when it called the M1 "a breakthrough" after all.
Based on that it's entirely possible that developers could dump their expensive iMac Pro and buy a $999 (base model, admittedly) MacBook Air and be perfectly happy. They'd need a display to attach it to, but still – the capabilities of this M1 chip are pretty insane. Imagine what M2 and M3 will be capable of!
Be sure to check the full video out below – it really is quite the watch! After you've read our M1 MacBook Air review, of course!
Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.
Great article! I'm seriously thinking about buying the new Air as my primary tool for developing iOS apps but I was unable to find any deeper tests of Swift compilation speed or working with bigger Xcode projects. Are you guys planning on something like this? Would be very grateful!
Well, these stats are an eye opener. I was going to finally upgrade from my 2009 i7 iMac once Apple upgraded the iMac this year, but after hearing about this transition, I decided I could wait a little longer for an Apple silicon based iMac. But now, after seeing how well these first M1-based Macs run Xcode, I may get a mini to play around with while waiting for the iMac.
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