It's been about two years since the original M1 SoC was introduced to make Apple independent of outside CPU makers. It's been a success and it's certainly upset Intel.
Having had Apple equipment since 1993, I've gone through the Motorola 680x0 to PowerPC transition, the PowerPC to Intel x86 transition, and now, the Intel to Apple Silicon (ARM) transition.
This is the most difficult transition because developers weren't sure what to do. After almost two years, there isn't as much native software as I had hoped. Being that Apple cut off 32-bit software with Catalina, I'm not sure why developers aren't more ready.
Game developers aren't really testing the waters. The biggest current game I've seen is Life is Strange 2, which was ported by Feral Interactive, and published by Square Enix. It seems to run well enough to believe that it is M1-compatible, not running through Rosetta 2 emulation. However, Steam, GOG Galaxy, and Epic Games Launcher all appear to be x86 applications.
Creative software is quite different. Capture One Pro by Phase One is native and so are Affinity Publisher, Designer, and Photo applications. HitFilm Express from FXHome seems to not have a problem, though I haven't really tested it.
It looks as though Microsoft Visual Studio is compatible, if not 100% native.
Bottom to Top, Top to Bottom
I've almost always had top of the line machines, but here I am with a MacBook Air. Why?
It's powerful at a reasonable price.
Remember when US$1499 bought you a 15.4 MacBook Pro with integrated graphics and a dual-core CPU? It wasn't that long ago.
I bought a MacBook Air 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage for US$1399, refurbished.
My previous MacBook Pro had a 3rd generation quad-core i7 with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. My Omen by HP had a 7th generation quad-core i7 with 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of storage and it didn't seem much faster.
While I'm writing this entry, iStatMenus is telling me that the core temperature is 30 degrees C, which is in contrast to 44 degrees C on the Windows machine or 64 degrees C on the old MacBook Pro. That old MacBook Pro could boil water. When processing video, it would be at 100 degrees C.
Of course, there are many updates since 2012 besides the CPU and GPU.
The sound is amazing. The display is so much better than the old 1440x900. The keyboard is okay. I liked the PowerBook G4 keyboard and none since have impressed me.
Change is Necessary
I bought a couple of cable adapters and an OmniCase Mini USB-C Storage Docking Station from JSAUX. The company's products have been as reliable for me as products from Anker have been.
The OmniCase Mini is a unique product. It has one USB type-C port, two type-A ports, an HDMI port, and slots for microSD and SD cards. US$34.99 wasn't a lot. It also comes with a type-C cable, and a few adapters, and a SIM card tool. Obviously, if you're looking for a full-blown docking station, there are plenty from US$100 to US$500. If you want an extra type-C port for power pass-through, you'll have to pay more than the US$34.99.
Equally useful and tiny is a Crucial X8 2 TB SSD that I recently bought. It has a type-C connector, but also has a type-A adapter.
It may help to remember that the original MacBook Air came with one port--for charging, for connecting, for everything that needed a physical port. The Dongle circus had arrived in town.
With two type-C ports, it's twice as convenient.
I'm slowly getting everything together, although it's only been about a week. It took a while with previous machines. I'm sure I'll be satisfied with this purchase.
Update 2022.05.22: This machine continues to impress. The operating system is not where it needs to be and neither is vendor support for native applications.
Daily use without the power cable is amazing. That 3rd generation quad-core i7 with GeForce 650M was constantly sucking power. It was also a very good heater.
I haven't needed the USB-C hub as much as I expected. I transferred most of what I needed the first two weeks.
I've tried a few more games, mostly through Itch.io and GOG. They work well. Steam itself is full of glitches, but that was also a problem for the i7 running Catalina. 64-bitness is not something Valve wants to do well.
Update 2022.06.06: The M2 MacBook Air was announced today. It's more powerful and more expensive. It can be configured with 24 GB of RAM and 2 TB of storage. That would be a plus. In the past, some would complain that the machine they just bought last year was outdated and practically cry that it didn't work correctly any longer. I don't do that. This machine is a 2020 model and it's just fine.
I've had the machine over a month now and it took a while to get things in order but it is a wonderful computer that does most everything I want. I want some good games for it but that will take some time. Life is Strange 2 is the biggest title I have right now.