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SPECIAL MENTION: Apple’s 2020 announcement that it was transitioning away from Intel processors for its Mac desktops and laptops in favor of self-designed ARM chips similar to those used in smartphones and tablets sent shockwaves through the tech industry. A year and a half later, it’s abundantly clear that Apple made the right move. Apple’s new processor, the M1—which was first available in devices released late last year—ushered in a quantum leap in performance for the iMac, MacBook, and other products, in part by making it possible to marry hardware and software to a previously impossible degree. The company’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max, both aimed at professional users, stand to push the envelope even further. —Alex Fitzpatrick

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