Mac Overview Updated October 11, 2021

Mac

See All Stories

2,171 'Mac' stories

February 2010 - October 2021

History

The Mac is Apple’s lineup of computers, and it can be considered the company’s oldest product. The name “Mac” comes from the original Macintosh, which was introduced in 1984 and is also considered the first personal computer for the masses to have a graphical user interface. The first Macintosh hit the stores on January 24, 1984, costing $2,945.

Among all these years, Apple has introduced many different Mac models, ranging from desktops to laptops to professional tower machines. The current lineup consists of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. However, there have been other Mac models were discontinued, such as the eMac, MacBook, and iMac Pro.

The history of modern Macs began in 1998, a year after Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Apple had dozens of Macintosh computers at that time, but Steve decided to rethink the entire lineup. In 1998, Apple announced the iMac G3, which ditched the floppy disk and serial ports in favor of USB connectors.

Macintosh and iMac G3.

Unlike the Macintosh, the first iMac was considered a huge success — not only for its technology, but also for its unique design with colorful translucent plastic. Apple quickly expanded the Mac lineup with other models, which included the iBook and PowerBook (which became the MacBook and MacBook Pro) and the PowerMac, which is now the Mac Pro.

macOS

What makes a Mac the Mac is the macOS operating system, which has also had a long history since the introduction of the first Macintosh. Initially called Mac OS, the operating system was rebuilt when Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

The first version of Mac OS X was released on March 24, 2001 with a new interface that is still present in some ways in current versions of macOS. Apple’s desktop operating system comes with many free applications such as Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, and GarageBand.

With macOS, users also have access to deep integrations with other Apple devices. For instance, you can answer calls and send SMS from your iPhone using your Mac. Handoff lets you switch from one device to the other and pick up where you left off. Apple Watch users can unlock their computer without entering a password, and you can even copy and paste between devices.

macOS Big Sur running on a Mac.

Apple’s desktop operating system is also integrated with services offered by the company, such as iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple TV+.

The current version of macOS is macOS 11 Big Sur, which features a refreshed design with more transparency and vibrance, as well as features like Control Center and new widgets. Big Sur has also added more privacy controls to Safari and messaging effects to iMessage. This version of macOS requires a Mac computer introduced in 2013 or later.

macOS Monterey (version 12.0) was announced at WWDC 2021 as the successor to macOS Big Sur. This year’s update, which will be available this fall for users, brings Universal Control, redesigned Safari, Focus mode for notifications, and more.

Architecture Transitions

The Mac has had three major architecture transitions in its history. Apple’s first computers ran on Motorola processors, but the company decided to migrate to the new PowerPC platform in 1994. While this brought benefits at the time, the PowerPC processors were not delivering what Apple expected.

It was in 2005 that Apple confirmed the transition from PowerPC to Intel. Intel processors had become faster and more efficient than PowerPC, which enabled the development of new Mac computers that were more powerful and also more compact. Developers have been given access to a Developer Transition Kit running Mac OS X Tiger with Intel Pentium 4 to update their apps before the transition begins.

Power PC, Mac OS X, and Intel processor.

Apple said that the transition would begin in June 2006 and be finished by the end of 2007. However, the transition to Intel was fully completed in August 2006 when the company replaced the PowerMac with the new Intel Mac Pro.

As the years went by, Apple once again felt the need to have more powerful and efficient processors for its computers. This time, the company was already working on its own chips for the iPhone and iPad. In June 2020, Apple confirmed that it was changing the architecture of the Mac, now from Intel to ARM chips, which are called Apple Silicon.

Apple offered a Mac mini DTK running on the same A12Z Bionic chip as the 2020 iPad Pro. This way developers could once again update their apps ahead of the transition. In addition to being more powerful and energy efficient, the ARM architecture of Apple Silicon chips has enabled Macs to run iOS apps for the first time.

Apple M1 chip.

The first Apple Silicon Macs were released in November 2020 with the M1 chip, and Apple says the transition should be completed by 2022. Rumors suggest that the first M1 chip variant ( which is rumored to be called “M1X”) will be introduced later this year with faster graphics.

Current Mac lineup

Apple currently sells a variety of Mac computers, which includes MacBooks, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. While some of the Macs have already been updated with an Apple Silicon chip, others remain with Intel processors.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is Apple’s most affordable laptop and it has become popular for its light, compact design. It’s powered by the M1 chip and is offered with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, plus it has a 13-inch Retina display and Touch ID.

Unlike the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air has a Magic Keyboard with function keys and no Touch Bar. The laptop has only two Thunderbolt 3 compatible USB-C ports and a headphone jack. Prices start at $999 in the US. It’s offered in silver, space gray, and gold.

M1 MacBook Air.

Apple introduced the latest generation of the MacBook Air in November 2020 and there are no rumors of a significant upgrade coming in 2021. It’s worth mentioning that the laptop has no fans due to the high efficiency of the M1 chip, which also delivers incredible performance when compared to the previous MacBook Air with Intel processor.

MacBook Pro

There are currently three different versions of the MacBook Pro, which are the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with Intel. All three models feature a Retina display, Touch ID, and Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar.

The entry-level MacBook Pro with M1 beats the other models with Intel processors in terms of performance, but it does have some limitations. The M1 models do not support multiple external displays and only come with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connections and a headphone jack, while the Intel models have four USB-C ports.

M1 MacBook Pro.

The M1 MacBook Pro is only available with 8GB or 16GB RAM, while the Intel models can be configured with up to 64GB RAM. Only the 16-inch MacBook Pro has dedicated GPU for better graphics performance. In the US, prices start at $1299. MacBook Pro is offered in silver and space gray.

Although the M1 MacBook Pro was released in November 2020, rumors suggest that new redesigned MacBook Pros are coming in November. Apple is expected to introduce new 14-inch and 16-inch models with Mini-LED display and more.

Mac mini

Mac mini is the cheapest Mac currently available since it’s basically a desktop without a built-in display or other peripherals. The current generation was introduced in November last year with the M1 chip and a starting price of $699 in the US.

It features one Ethernet port, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI 2.0, two USB-A ports, and a headphone jack. Thanks to the HDMI 2.0 port, Mac mini is the only M1 Mac that supports multiple external displays. It’s also the only M1 Mac with regular USB-A ports.

M1 Mac mini.

The M1 version is offered with 8GB or 16GB RAM, but Apple still offers an Intel version that can be configured with up to 64GB RAM. The M1 Mac mini is only available in silver, while the Intel model is only available in space gray. Apple is expected to update Mac mini with a faster Apple Silicon chip and a refreshed design.

iMac

iMac is Apple’s most popular desktop computer with an all-in-one construction. It features a 4.5K display in its 24-inch version and a 5K display in the 27-inch version. At the same time, Apple still sells an entry-level iMac with a regular 1080p display.

The 24-inch iMac is the first to feature the M1 chip, the same as in the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. This allowed Apple to introduce a completely redesigned model with a slimmer design, which is also offered in seven new colors. Customers can customize the new 24-inch iMac with up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.

The company still sells the 27-inch iMac with with 10th generation Intel processors. At the same time, there’s still an entry-level version of the iMac with a 21.5-inch 1080p display.

Apple ships the iMac with Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, plus a Lightning cable for recharging accessories. Prices in the US start at $1099 for the 21.5-inch 1080p model and $1299 for the redesigned 24-inch model with M1. The 27-inch iMac 5K starts at $1799.

Mac Pro

Mac Pro is a computer built for professional users who depend on extremely powerful hardware. Available in tower and rack versions, it has a completely modular design. That means users can replace RAM, SSD, GPU, and other internal components.

By default, it features four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports. However, the ports can be expanded using the PCI Express slots. Apple also ships the computer with a Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, but it does not come with an external monitor included.

All models feature Intel Xeon W processors, which are the most powerful processors offered by Intel. Consumers can configure Mac Pro with up to 28-core processor, 1.5TB RAM, and 8TB of SSD storage. In addition to supporting multiple dedicated GPUs, Apple also offers the Afterburner card — which accelerates the decoding of ProRes videos.

The company recently updated the Mac Pro with new graphics card modules, which include Radeon Pro W6800X and Radeon Pro W6900X.

2019 Mac Pro.

Mac Pro prices start at $5999 in the US. Rumors suggest that Apple will introduce a smaller Mac Pro with Apple Silicon chip in 2022, while the Intel version will remain available for longer.

Rumors about upcoming Macs

Top stories about the Mac

Mac Stories Today

After today’s “Unleashed” event, Apple added even more M1 Macs to its lineup as it continues its two-year transition to Apple Silicon. Despite today’s expansion, there are a few Macs that still run Intel chips being sold by Apple. Here they are.

expand full story

How to watch Apple’s ‘Unleashed’ October event on any device

Apple’s “Unleashed” event is set for today, October 18 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET. Expectations are for the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro notebooks to be unveiled and possibly more. Read on for several ways to watch Apple’s MacBook event on any device.

Intel’s Apple Silicon take has so far mostly consisted of mocking Macs and describing all the ways in which the company thinks PCs are better. But the chipmaker’s CEO now seems to be rethinking this stance, describing Apple Silicon Macs as “pretty good,” and acknowledging that Apple Silicon is ahead of Intel’s own chip designs.

However, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger seemingly thinks he can still win back Apple’s business – one way or another …

expand full story

Mac Stories October 13

Eve Online Mac support finally lands, with native play on Intel and M1 Macs

Eve Online Mac support has finally landed, thanks to a new native client for macOS. You could previously run the game under Wine, though that started becoming problematic with Big Sur, but you’ll now be able to ditch the emulators …

Mac Stories October 12

Apple has officially announced its October event and along with sharing the date, the company has continued its tradition of hiding a fun easter egg for iPhone and iPad users. After doing a slick AR experience for the iPhone 13 event in September, Apple’s done another one ahead of its October 18 event.

expand full story

One of the biggest limitations of Apple’s M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro is that you can only connect one external display. Popular accessory maker Hyper is out with a new HyperDrive accessory designed to remedy this problem, but there are some limitations…

expand full story

Mac Stories October 11

Ahead of Apple’s planned announcement of fiscal Q4 2021 earnings on October 28, Canalys has published its full data covering the same quarter (calendar Q3). According to the data, the global PC market grew by 5% during the quarter to 84.1 million shipments, following five quarters of double-digit growth.

expand full story

Mac Stories September 30

OWC launches new ‘Thunderbolt to Dual DisplayPort Adapter’ for Mac

The folks at OWC are out with a new accessory today that could prove useful for Mac users. The new Dual DisplayPort Adapter from OWC utilizes the latest DisplayPort 1.4 technology to turn one Thunderbolt port on your Mac into two DisplayPort connections for external monitors.

Mac Stories September 22

A Mac shortcut bug can enable an attacker to take over your machine when you open an email, using nothing more than a standard internet shortcut file.

Apple claims to have patched the bug in Big Sur and Monterey, but the security researcher who discovered the issue says that this is only partly true.

expand full story

Mac Stories September 17

Soulver is one of my favorite applications for the Mac, and it became even more powerful this week with the release of Soulver 3.5. This week’s update to Soulver adds support for publishing sheets via the web, integration with live and historical stock rates and currencies, and much more.

expand full story

Mac Stories September 9

A team of former Apple, Beats, and Uber employees are bringing a new 4K webcam to market that is being billed as “the first professional webcam.” Along with what looks like superior picture quality, the new device, named the Opal C1 includes a premium build, noise-canceling, beamforming microphones, plug-and-play macOS support via the exclusive Mac app, pro tools, and much more.

expand full story

Mac Stories September 7

Although the current generation Mac Pro is not an Apple Silicon machine, it is an extremely powerful computer that can be used for a number of heavy tasks such as rendering and running virtual machines. Even so, VMWare recently announced that it will not include Intel Mac Pro support to its ESXi hypervisor platform.

expand full story

Early last year, Apple applied for a patent for a curved glass iMac design, with one of the illustrations also suggesting the same design could be used for a display and dock for a MacBook.

That patent has today been granted …

expand full story

Mac Stories August 31

The Mac App Store is not as old as the iOS App Store, but it has been around for a long time — since 2010, to be specific. However, while the iOS App Store has become a huge success, new research shows that developers are becoming less interested in releasing new apps on the Mac App Store.

expand full story

Mac Stories August 27

Microsoft changes CPU requirements to install Windows 11; Mac support remains unclear

Microsoft announced Windows 11 earlier this year, which has a number of restrictions when it comes to running on some older hardware — or even Macs. However, the company today confirmed some changes in CPU requirements for Windows 11, but Mac support remains uncertain.

Yahoo Mail brings its iPad app to M1-powered Macs with latest update

Yahoo is out with its latest update for its Mail app for iPhone and iPad this week and the release brings the handy addition of M1 Mac support for a seamless and speedy experience.

Mac Stories August 25

New data from Canalys today shows that while PC shipments in the United States were up 17% last quarter, Apple saw a 3% decline in shipments compared to the same quarter last year. Apple was the only major PC vendor to post negative growth, and Canalys attributes that to iPad demand falling off.

expand full story

Mac Stories August 24

The latest data from Canalys estimates that Q2 2021 iPad shipments in Western Europe grew by a massive 73% year-on-year.

Canalys says that this is partly explained by the popularity of the M1-powered iPad Pro models, but that a second factor proved key during the pandemic …

expand full story

A leaker with a good track record says that the upcoming Apple Silicon 14-inch MacBook Pro CPU will be identical to that of the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

This would represent a significant shift from Intel Macs, where Apple had reserved the fastest processors for the larger machines …

expand full story

Mac Stories August 20

DaVinci Resolve officially launched M1 Mac compatibility back in March and today the latest update is out. Blackmagic Design says it unlocks more major breakthroughs including 3x faster performance, 30% longer battery life on M1 MacBooks, and 65% faster render times.

expand full story

Mac Stories August 16

NordVPN updated to run natively on M1 Macs

NordVPN is another app that is now running natively on the new M1 Macs. Version 6.6.1 for macOS brings a full-fledged performance and overall improved experience.

Mac Stories August 12

How to screenshot on Mac: Tips and tricks from the basics to advanced

Whether you just need to take the occasional screenshot on Mac, are a power user with an advanced workflow, or somewhere in-between, follow along for how to screenshot on Mac with the free built-in macOS tools or with third-party software. We’ll look at keyboard shortcuts, tips and tricks, advanced options, and customizations.

Mac Stories August 11

Apple has a number of new financing programs in the works to make shopping easier, and the first of those two efforts are now live. Qualifying Apple customers in Canada can now finance iPhone, iPad, and Mac purchases over 12 or 24 months with 0% APR.

expand full story

Mac Stories August 9

If you’re waiting impatiently for the upcoming M1X-powered MacBook Pro machines, a new supply-chain report says that 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro production is now underway.

There’s still no certainty as to when the new machines will go on sale, however …

expand full story

Powered by WordPress VIP