Earlier this month, Apple officially announced that it will switch its entire Mac computer lineup to in-house ARM processors over the next two years. The first consumer products are expected by the end of the year but the company already released a Developer Transition Kit so software developers can make apps for the new platform.
This developer kit is basically a Mac Mini system with the Apple A12Z SoC. Interestingly, benchmark scores of the developer kit are starting to hit the web and they're quite exciting. Developers aren't supposed to share these scores, according to the fine print of the Developer Transition Kit program, but there are already eight scores in the Geekbench database.
ARS Technica reports the developer kit is about 20 percent slower in the single-threaded Geekbench test than the MacBook Air with the Intel Core i3-1000ng4 processor, which is an entry-level product. In the multi-threaded Geekbench test, the ARM-based system is 38 percent faster though. What makes this even more interesting is that this was not the native ARM version of Geekbench, but an emulated version!
What's impressive about these leaked numbers is that they're not for Geekbench running natively in ARM mode. These tell us what emulation of legacy apps might look like on Apple silicon Macs—and it's likely early adopters of Apple's new ARM-based Macs will use Rosetta to run at least some apps, so it's a potentially useful insight.
Next there's also this report from Thurrott, which draws comparisons with Microsoft's Surface Pro X:
Right. The emulated performance of the Apple silicon is as good or better than the native performance of the SQ-1-based Surface Pro X. This suggests that the performance of native code on Apple silicon will be quite impressive, and will leave Surface Pro X and WOA in the dust.