Highland 2.9 runs natively on Apple’s speedy new M1 processor, the chip in its latest Macs.
Naturally, we wanted to see how much faster it runs on the new hardware. The challenge is that Highland 2 is already very, very fast. It’s hard to find an operation that takes long enough to measure with a stopwatch.
So we went back to an earlier challenge, looking at how long it takes to open Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Weighing in at more than 500,000 words, this plain text document is 4,132 pages long when formatted. When developing Highland 2, we used it as a test case because it’s literally 20 times longer than the average feature length screenplay. We figured if Highland could handle such a massive file, then it could handle any screenplay we threw at it.
In our 2018 test, we compared Highland 2’s performance against other word processors. Microsoft Word struggled, taking more than six minutes to open the file. Apple’s Pages fared better, at 47 seconds. Highland 2 opened it in just 9 seconds.
Computers have gotten faster, so we decided to evaluate performance on both an early 2020 Intel MacBook Air and the new M1 MacBook Air. We measured how long it took to open War and Peace and scroll to the bottom (to be certain it’s fully loaded).
|2018 MacBook Pro||2020 MacBook Air||2020 MacBook Air M1|
|Word||6m 35s||4m 55s||3m 8s|
This chart shows the results more clearly (shorter bars are better).
Getting rid of Word makes the improvements to Highland and Pages more apparent.
Three seconds is honestly a bit conservative for Highland 2. As you can see in the video, we’re stopping the timer when we reach the bottom of the document, but it’s clearly already loaded.
- The new Macs are faster for all three apps.
- Word continues to be laughably slow for very long documents.
- If you’re writing a sequel to War and Peace, Highland 2 is still your best bet. And it remains a fantastic choice for screenplays.
You can find Highland 2 on the Mac App Store.