AWS adds another Arm CPU to its cloud: Apple's M1

Updates bare metal Macs-a-service and claims up to 60 per cent better price performance vs cloudy x86 Macs


Amazon Web Services has added Apple’s Arm-powered M1 CPU to its range of cloudy desktop offerings.

The silicon's been pressed into service as a refresh of the bare metal Mac-as-a-service that AWS launched in 2020. Those instances – dubbed "EC2 M1 Mac instances" – used a Mac mini.

That diminutive hardware has again been uplifted into the Amazonian cloud. AWS's Sébastien Stormacq described the offering as powered by a "M1 SoC with 8 CPU cores, 8 GPU cores, 16 GiB of memory, and a 16-core Apple Neural Engine".

That's notable because 8GiB of memory is Apple's base configuration – 16 GiB is an upgrade that costs US$200.

AWS can more than likely afford that upgrade.

Pricing wasn't discussed as M1 Macs are a preview for now. Access is possible if AWS approves your application for use of the new instances.

If you're allowed in to play, macOS Big Sur (11) and macOS Monterey (12) are on offer and AWS suggests you'll experience up to 60 per cent better performance for the price compared to cloudy x86 Macs.

The cloud colossus suggests you'll put the cloudy M1s to work on chores such as building apps for Apple's ecosystem. There's no word on when the service will exit preview and be available to all comers. AWS is also silent on whether it will put Apple's new and more powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max processors to work in its cloud. Doing so would require AWS to run MacBook Pro laptops, as they're the only hardware currently using the silicon. The rumor mill suggests the Mac Mini will receive the Pro and Max sometime in 2022. Your correspondent fancies he may well be writing about their arrival in the Amazonian cloud a year from today. ®


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