Is Apple’s M1 Bold Change?

Bold change is how Apple CEO, Tim Cook, referred to Apple’s M1 CPU chip in its upcoming line of computers.

Having milked for years the vector of billion-dollar product strategies Steve Jobs set out for Apple, Tim, still walking in the shadow of Steve’s vision, is all too eager to refer to any change at Apple as groundbreaking and bold. Convincing only a lamen audience (and board) unable to discern between downstream and upstream innovation.

Infinite Downstream

Let me remind you, none of the lines-of-business Apple leads today are the result of Tim’s purported vision. They are Steve’s, except for Apple Watch, a board member’s suggestion while Steve was still alive.

Longer

From a buyer’s perspective, the M1 chip certainly offers promising advantages.

Initially, most importantly, battery life. But having experienced how quickly batteries age from the time Apple’s top battery expert left a couple of years ago, I expect to see the same rapid degradation in new laptops within four years.

Keep that power brick handy.

Faster

The CPU power improvement is nice but hardly necessary today. Except for video rendering tasks, today’s computers are seldom CPU bound. They are I/O and memory-bound, inherent to the Unix operating-system at the foundation of macOS and iOS.

Today’s computers seldom use maximum CPU power unless applications have not been written well and have not been tuned to timeslice and idle correctly.

Bloated libraries force third-party applications to use more CPU power than needed, and memory leaks combined with not releasing allocated memory forces costly swap-outs that leaves the CPU idling waiting for I/O to complete.

Even some of Apple’s own applications use copious amounts of CPU cycles doing nothing. Like Safari consuming 17% of CPU for me typing this article.

CPU cycles are wasted with the same irreverence by which we waste our environment.

Who Cares?

The need for a computer with more power today is like buying a BMW with more horsepower. Fun, but increasingly becoming less relevant when the speed limit on every road is calibrated to people who cannot drive and 70 miles per hour is the max.

The diffusion caused by this mischaracterization of advancement deflects from the real and higher-order expectation of innovation today. Time is of the essence, real innovation must move the needle upstream helping humanity adapt more deliberately to nature’s entropy.

Meaningful Change

Hence, meaningful innovation comes from applications by which humanity can more rapidly and more closely align with the principles of nature and adapt to the irreversible change nature bestows upon us.

A faster car and a faster chip will do nothing but waste precious time and resources improving what really matters. In other words, a better foundation is nice only if you can put a better house on top of it. Today, the value of M1 is Apple’s not yours to pay for.

Technology has a lot of growing up to do. And what I want to hear from the CEO of arguably the most powerful company in the world is a clear answer to how Apple is developing technology to improve human adaptability to nature’s entropy.

Doing things we do not need faster will not improve humanity and will relegate Apple, just like so many other companies, to a rebel without an evolutionary cause.

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