Living with the M1 air as a developer 7/1/2021

ARM dev on the apple M1 macbooks feels pretty normal

So I've been using a macbook air as a personal dev machine for ~8 months. Admittedly it doesn't get as much attention as it should in my roster, but I've still put enough use into it to feel like i can give it a proper hands on review.

First some random hardware thoughts:

  • For such a slim machine the speakers are astonishingly good

  • The keyboard while lightyears better than the previous flat apple ones still leaves something to be desired as far as key travel

  • The single display limitation is super annoying

Since my last article quite a bit has changed on the software side. Perhaps most importantly (in todays containerized world) is that Docker is out of tech preview. Generally speaking this means you can do most docker things you would expect, provided of course that ARM images are available.

VSCode is out of preview so you can get a proper ARM build. I didnt notice an appreciable performance difference from the intel compiled version (really a credit to rosetta 2 and its tight memory controller integration) but it still feels right to be running as much unemulated software as one can.

Finally and perhaps most useful, homebrew also has a generally working M1 install so you can htop to your hearts content.