AWS’ New EC2 Instances On Apple’s M1 Mac: 5 Key Features

From the hourly price tag to the key Apple workloads being targeted, here are five big features and things to know about the new Amazon EC2 M1 Mac instance: Mac2.

The New Mac2: Cost, Key Workloads And Price Performance

Amazon Web Services has launched its new Amazon EC2 M1 Mac instances that allow customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the cloud for the first time—extending the flexibility, scalability, and price benefits of AWS to all Apple developers.

“The wait is over,” said Sebastien Stormacq, principal developer advocate for AWS in a blog post today. “I have the pleasure of announcing the general availability of EC2 M1 Mac instances.”

First announced at AWS re:Invent 2021, the Amazon EC2 M1 Mac—known as the Mac2—aims to enable developers building for Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV to build much faster.

The new Mac2 instances are dedicated to Apple’s Mac mini computers which lets the Mac mini appear and behave like another EC2 instance.

[Related: AWS Marketplace: 8 Huge Cost Savings And Business Benefits]

AWS’ Red-Hot EC2 Innovation Engine

The Seattle-based cloud computing worldwide market leader has already launched a slew of new products and tools in 2022 to better enable developers, technologists, channel partners and customers around AWS’ ever-growing portfolio of offerings.

In May, AWS launched the general availability of its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) C7g instances powered by AWS-designed Graviton3 processors. AWS also recently unveiled Amazon EC2 Hpc6a instances—a new instance that is purpose-built for tightly coupled high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.

AWS’ innovation engine is helping to drive sales at the double-digit clip for the company.

For its recent first fiscal quarter, AWS generated sales of $18.4 billion, representing a 37 percent spike in growth year over year.

AWS is now running at an annualized revenue run rate of $74 billion with no big roadblocks ahead to slow down its growth.

From the cost of the new instances to the key workloads, CRN breaks down the five biggest features of the new Mac2 that developers, channel partners and customers need to know about.

Costs 65 Cents Per Hour

The on-demand price per hour for AWS’ new Mac2 instance is approximately $0.65 cents per hour.

This means the new instances give users a dedicated host for about $470 per month.

The Mac2 consists of the M1 System on Chip (SoC) with 8 CPU cores, 8 GPU cores, 16GB of memory, and a 16 core Apple Neural Engine.

The new EC2 M1 Mac instances are less costly compared to AWS’ Mac1 instance that leverages Apple’s earlier Intel-based Mac mini, which costs about $1.08 per hour.

60 Percent Better Price Performance Over x86-Based EC2 Mac Instances

The Mac2 delivers up to 60 percent better price performance over the x86-based EC2 Mac instances for iPhone and Mac app build workloads, according to AWS.

The availability of Mac2 lets developers and technologists access machines built around the Apple-designed M1 System on Chip (SoC).

“If you are a Mac developer and re-architecting your apps to natively support Macs with Apple silicon, you may now build and test your apps and take advantage of all the benefits of AWS,” said AWS’ Stormacq.

AWS says developers building for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV will benefit from faster builds.

Development teams can provision and access macOS environments within minutes, dynamically scale capacity as needed, and benefit from pay-as-you-go pricing.

Key Workloads To Run On New EC2 Mac Instances

The Amazon EC2 Mac instances are designed to build, test, sign and publish applications for Apple platforms such as iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, macOS, and Safari.

The Mac2 allow customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the cloud which extends the flexibility, scalability and potential cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers.

Customers of the solution already include Pinterest, Intuit, FlipBoard, Twitch, and Goldman Sachs.

AWS said these large customers have seen up to 75 percent better build performance, up to 80 percent lower build failure rates, and up to 5-times the number of parallel builds compared to running macOS on premises.

Developers creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari can provision and access macOS environments within minutes and scale capacity as needed.

What Other AWS Services Does It Integrate With?

The new Mac2 integrates with other AWS services, including Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) for file storage, AWS Auto Scaling and AWS Secrets Manager.

It connects to an customers’ Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), boots from Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes, and uses EBS snapshots as well as Amazon Machine Images (AMIs).

The Mac2 also uses other AWS services such as Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Systems Manager.

The Mac2 instances are dedicated to Apple’s Mac mini computers attached through Thunderbolt to the AWS Nitro System, which lets the Mac mini appear and behave like another EC2 instance.

Region Availability And Technical Technology

The Mac2 instance type is available in Amazon’s U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Singapore).

AWS is preparing several events to help developers, channel partners and customers learn more about the Mac2 instance use cases and configuration.

AWS is preparing a one-day, in-person developer conference later this year that will be packed with technical content and workshops.

Additionally, AWS held an online webinar in June around learning how to take advantage of EC2 Mac instances for iOS development. The content is available for to consume on-demand after a free registration step.