Apple's transition to ARM-based processors, or Apple Silicon as the company is referring to its custom CPUs, is officially underway with the developer transition kits already in the hands of some devs.
Naturally, some of the developers couldn't resist testing its performance, despite specific agreements that accompanied the hardware. 9to5Mac was the first to notice some benchmarks showing up on Geekbench (via Gizmodo).
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The move is certainly a long term play for Apple, which gives the company a much greater degree of control over another piece of the supply chain for its laptops. Apple fans will hope that there is little to no fall-off in performance even as the chips should reportedly deliver superior battery life.
Keeping in mind that these Developer Transition Kits are basically a modified Mac mini using an A12Z chip originally used in this year's iPad Pros, the results so far are looking pretty good.
The single-core performance is coming in at right around 840 and the multi-core is averaging around 2,900. This is slightly below the average performance for the base MacBook Air (2020) on single-core (1,005), but well above its multi-core score of 2,014. It's also worth noting that the Developer Transition Kit is running the benchmark through Rosetta 2 emulation, which is known to have a performance hit.
Overall it's an incredibly promising initial result given Apple's aggressive goal of shipping its first Mac with Apple Silicon before the end of the year.
Of course, the hardware is just part of the story. While these benchmarks didn't take long to come out, the next leaks we will be looking for from developers is the difficulty or lack thereof in getting apps ready for the new hardware. This has been a stumbling block for Windows' ARM-based aspirations and will be crucial for Apple to hurdle in its own efforts.