Apple Silicon, the Right Tool for the Remote Work Economy

A lot has been written about the new Apple Silicon M1 chip, so I won't bore you too much with how amazing it is. Suffice to say, the M1 powered MacBook Pro is fast, and the battery lasts forever, and it will be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. It's not perfect however. It currently only supports one external monitor, Parallels is a work in progress, MacOS Big Sur suffers from an annoying screensaver bug and other glitches, which can all add up to make a bumpy ride at times. If this is what Apple's Silicon can do with their entry level class of products, then I can't wait to see their high-end releases over the next 18 months. 

But why are we writing about it? All of our CT Grid users are on Windows after all. We're writing about it because the M1 and its future competition (there is none today) will be the tool for the new era of remote work ushered in by COVID-19. A laptop that has great performance with all day battery-life is a game changer. That deep work session you fell into on your sofa, or in your kitchen, or in the park, or anywhere, will no longer get disrupted by a LOW BATTERY message followed by a swift shutdown of your laptop. You will be free to go anywhere to do your work. To give you a sense of what I mean, our automated tests run 8 times faster on the MacBook Pro M1 (16GB) vs my beefy desktop (16-core Ryzen, 64GB), and it literally doesn't break a sweat. I am able to get a full day's worth of work without plugging into the wall once. Everything loads significantly faster and CT Grid is no exception, it's just a great overall experience.

CT Grid runs in the browser and therefore works on any platform. A large section of our user base also uses our CTGrid Excel Add-In which only runs on Windows. We've experimented with Windows 10 ARM in a preview release of Parallels with M1 support and it runs 32-bit Excel with the CT Grid Add-In just fine. What's mind blowing is that Windows 10 ARM running in a VM on the M1 MacBook Pro is faster than it is on an ARM based Microsoft Surface. Apple has once again leap frogged the incumbents in an established industry. 

Commodity traders and brokers work in Microsoft powered organisations. Bloomberg, Reuters, and all those Excel Add-ins and feeds will only run on Windows. So will we see a shift of CT Grid users moving from Windows to Apple any time soon? I don't think so, at least not in the near to medium term. But we'll be ready when they do.