Why the new Apple M1 Macs are entirely unsuitable for certain critically important industrial applications

The times we live in are truly exciting for technology lovers, every day we are faced with amazing new products and new destructive revolutions. The most recent seemed to be the one implemented by Apple in the field of computer microprocessors, with the introduction of the M1 chips based on ARM architecture it gave the idea of having wiped out decades of x86 in one gulp.

Unfortunately, as always happens with Apple, if on the one hand the AppleFanBoys have exaggerated the amazing performance of the new chips too much, on the other Apple has also continued with its policy of closing the fence of its digital ecosystem.

In short, Apple has done something extraordinary from an engineering point of view, raising (actually lowering with less consumes!) the bar of energy consumption and battery life, while providing similar performance to the x86 counterparts thanks to the goodness of the dedicated co-processors and to the software optimizations of its macOS operating system.

Apple computers equipped with the M1 chip can no longer be used and maintained completely in 100% offline environments

That said, as we savvy Linux users well know, everything that bears the bitten apple brand has a dark side to offer as well. If we already know all too well the problems related to the pricing policy practiced by Apple, the famous Apple-Tax with golden-weight RAM and SSD upgrades, and if we were well aware of the usual closures imposed by Apple’s ecosystem, we could not certainly imagine that the new Apple Macs equipped with M1 processor were totally unusable in environments where security is a primary fundamental requirement.

In particular, new Apple computers equipped with the M1 chip can no longer be used and maintained completely in 100% offline environments or in ways that reasonably ensure that the computer is free from state-ordered tampering.

In fact, also:

The ability to ensure that your device, once manufactured by Apple, is now no longer remotely controlled by Apple (and the governments with whom they cooperate), has been taken away from you in their latest models. (No one ever been able to have confidence in this fact on an iPhone or iPad.) Even if you trust Apple 100%, the fact that the state can effectively put a gun to their head and demand that they disable or surveil certain specific devices means that this platform as a whole is can no longer be made trustworthy, even with extreme and professional measures.

Jeffrey Paul – On Trusting Macintosh Hardware

We love Linux and we love Cryptocurrencies, two big reasons to stay as far away from Apple’s new machines as possible. We would have been there anyway, as good ThinkPad lovers, but now the reasons are serious and real: the new Macs are not able to guarantee us the levels of freedom and security we require. So, no go.

The Apple Mac M1 is no longer your machine. This machine is now insecure by design

If you, like us, are involved in cryptocurrencies, you know how is important to have an air-gapped system, to have a security system, and a fully private system. Linux is the answer and so a machine where you can install Linux on. So, an Apple Mac M1 can’t be a fully secure, private, and air-gapped machine, and you can’t also install Linux on it. Stay away from that until Apple changes something in their policies. And they will do.

It’s no longer your machine; wipe its storage and that machine won’t function without explicit permission from Apple. Apple wants your machine to be secure: secure from everyone except Apple (and the governments to whom Apple must answer). Apple wants your data to be private: private from everyone except Apple (and the governments to whom Apple must answer).

Jeffrey Paul – On Trusting Macintosh Hardware

Unfortunately, the conclusion is terrible, one that we would never have expected from a company like Apple, especially now that they flaunt the privacy and security of their devices during every advertisement.

These systems are now insecure by design: there is no way for them to be made secure.

Jeffrey Paul – On Trusting Macintosh Hardware

Already the fact of not being able to install Linux on the new Apple Mac M1 had cut us off as buyers, but the new Apple policies regarding the total closure of the eco-system, in addition to these embarrassing innovations such as insecure by design, have pushed us further away. more from the products of this company. And it’s a shame, because, go and see the old posts of this blog, we were also born with the first Linux installations on Mac computers and we had a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, given the totalitarian drift of Apple, we will be content with having a little less battery and being less ‘cool’ in the eyes of the people, and we will continue to do everything else (even monstrous video editing) on our portable Ryzen.

And God bless AMD!

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