Apple is officially moving to its chips for some Macs. In a speech hailed as a “historic day for the Mac,” Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined the move to PowerPC, OS X 10, and Intel chips before unveiling Apple’s ARM-based chip. This is a big move and means macOS will support native iOS apps and macOS apps side by side on these new machines going forward.
Apple will release the first Mac with an Apple chip later this year and expects the transition to take two years. Intel-based Macs are still in production, so Apple isn’t moving exclusively to ARM-based Macs just yet. However, moving away from Intel-based chips in Macs is a big shift for Apple.
The biggest addition to this shift to ARM-based chips is the ability for iOS and iPadOS apps to run on macOS in the future. “Most apps will just work,” Apple says, meaning you’ll be able to run native macOS apps alongside native iOS apps for the first time.
Apple promises a new level of performance and much lower power consumption by moving to its processors. Apple is developing its line of Mac SoCs with features unique to the Mac. A common ARM-based architecture across all Apple products should now make it easier for developers to write and optimize apps for all major Apple devices.
Apple’s professional apps will be updated to support the company’s new chip in macOS Big Sur, and the company is hoping developers will update their apps. “The vast majority of developers can launch their apps in a matter of days,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
Microsoft is working on updates to Office for the new Mac chip, Word and Excel are natively running on Macs with the new processors, and PowerPoint even uses Apple’s Metal technology for rendering. Apple is also working with Adobe to make these professional applications work on these new chips. Apple demonstrated Lightroom and Photoshop running on the company’s new computers, with a 5GB PSD in Photoshop running natively with smooth animation.
MacOS Big Sur will also include a new version of Rosetta. Apple has previously used Rosetta to migrate from PowerPCs on Macs to Intel processors, and Rosetta 2 will automatically migrating existing applications during installation. This means that even if developers haven’t completely updated their apps, they should still work without changes. Apple is also using virtualization to run Linux on these new Macs.
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