As a huge courtesy of iStyle, the company received an Apple MacBook Air 13.3 M1 Chip 8GB 256GB model for testing purposes. Ever since Apple announced to start its own chip production, we’ve been following events regarding this matter with great interest so we’ve been very excited about the opportunity. It’s true that most people in the company work on PCs, but there are a few colleagues who voted and are devoted to Apple machines and of course there are usually huge controversies. The end of these “debates” are always to find out the fact that everyone has their own preferences and to use and work with an environment where they are most productive.
Basically, the biggest difference between the model we used and a Pro is that the Air has passive cooling, which means it doesn’t have a ventillator inside. In older models, those ventillators has often rivaled the sound of a gas turbine jet engine (“MBP 2015 Mid” own experience), the question was: how much the hardware will heat up with this cooling method in the long run?!. As long as we had the device, we did not experience any serious heating issues. In general, it is quite difficult to compete with an Apple product in terms of material use, because we can find flake light machine in a beautiful aluminum cover.
However, there were difficulties with the new chip. Apple is constantly improving its support for ARM, but NodeJS, for example, is only supported above version 15. Just as there are still Docker images that we use during development and for local development build we need to replace the existing docker image with an ARM so that we can actually use it on the machine. These are not really big tasks to solve if you have the support and of course you have to solve it once for a colleague, after that work can go on smoothly.
For us the biggest headache was a single-node governorate cluster called the minikube, which we prefer to use, but unfortunately we couldn’t in case of the M1. One solution for this can be kind.sigs.k8s.io which also „is a tool for running local Kubernetes clusters using Docker container _nodes_”. As we ran into various problems, we always managed to find some kind of work around to solve them. Although, not necessarily with a native solution, most problems could be solved with Rosetta2. For me it was a little confusing that you have to live with 2 terminals -but this is a forgettable fact- because you need one for Rosetta2 applications and one for native ones.
In my opinion Apple has taken a very good direction by stepping up and started to develop their own chips. In addition, their prices have become extremely affordable. Virtually a Windows machine with similar performance costs not much less than an M1 Macbook. Furthermore, as I see it the weight and battery life of the Air is a very good option especially for users for whom mobility is one of the main considerations.
Thanks again to iStlye for making the test machine available to us.