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Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

It was coming and finally, Tim Cook announces that Apple will be switching from Intel to its own Apple Silicon using ARM architecture. Quoting Tim as he said, “At Apple, integrating hardware and software is at the heart of what we do.”

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

So, now even though the transition will take two whole years but this ultimately help Apple to build its ecosystem all of its own designed hardware. Also, Apple’s advancements throughout the past few years has made its own chips even more powerful than Intel and benchmarks are a proof of it.

As previously I mentioned in my earlier articles, Apple’s A12Z Bionic chip used in iPad Pro is even more powerful than a 10th Gen Core i3 Intel CPU used in the MacBook Air. So, why not choose ARM-based chips instead? The ARM processors will offer higher efficiency and performance to the Mac for a better future, especially being built on the latest TSMC nodes, used by AMD as well.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

New Apple Chip

Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, went on to talk about the new Mac chips and told this effort has been in progress for a long time now. Srouji even talked about the relentless focus on performance-per-watt and how the CPU performance in iPhone has improved 100x since A series chips launched.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Also, keeping in mind the graphics, iPad X-chips will have faster graphics, the latest iPad chip has 1,000x faster graphics than the first iPad chip. There are 2 billion Apple chips shipped so far, and Apple wants to match desktop-level performance with lower power consumption. Apple will be adding advanced power management, secure enclave, high-performing GPU to every Mac, as well as a neural engine, ML system, etc.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Software support

Coming to the software front, the macOS Big Sur will “make the transition seamless.” So, switching to ARM will allow iOS apps to run natively on the Mac as well. The Macs will be able to run both the iOS and iPadOS apps without any modifications. The good news is that all of Apple’s native Mac apps are already updated to run on ARM as the entire macOS Big Sur demo was done on a Mac running an A12Z processor. 

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

All of the Apple apps, including the Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, will run natively on ARM. The developers, on the other hand, can get started on making their existing software compatible using Xcode 12 beta, that includes native compilers and debugging tools. Open projects and recompile, it will take a couple of days to rework and deliver Universal 2 binaries.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Even Microsoft is working on Office, and Apple is working with Adobe on Creative Cloud, many apps are already in work to make the transition seamless. Apple is even demoing PowerPoint with the new ARM-based macOS.

Adobe is already heavily participating alongside Apple, as Lightroom CC will also support on macOS, most probably because of its native support in iOS. Adobe Photoshop too was shown to be working on new ARM-based macOS.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

No words on Premier Pro but Apple shows its Final Cut Pro working and playing back 4K video on the new Mac. You can zoom in and out of photos and play 4K video with effects which is quite familiar with iPad, so no issues now with support to new macOS.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Rosetta 2

The macOS Big Sur will include Rosetta 2, Apple previously used the Rosetta feature when the Mac transitioned from PowerPC to Intel, now it will automatically translate Intel apps to Apple silicon at install time. It can translate on the fly for JavaScript and Java, the feature can even work with pro apps and their plugins. Also, there will be support for new virtualization environments for Linux, Docker, etc.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Andreas Wendker even went to demo Rosetta using Maya animation software on an ARM-based macOS and worked fine. He also showed triple-A games running on new Mac with Apple chip including Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p and it also worked flawlessly, which is incredible for an Apple chip to deliver.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

iOS & iPad apps will run on macOS

Interestingly, if you cannot wait for your favourite iOS or iPadOS apps to make the transition to the new macOS for the Apple Chip, you Mac can run iPhone and iPad apps easily, natively, completely unmodified. The iPhone and iPad apps can be used right from the Mac App Store.

Apple Silicon for next-gen Macs announced at WWDC 2020

Quick Start Program for Developers

To help developers going right away with the new ARM-based macOS, Apple has announced a quick start program to help developers make universal apps. This Quick Start program for developers will provide them with the documentation, sample code, and access to hands-on labs around the globe.

Developers also get access to the Developer Transition Kit that comprises of a Mac Mini running on Apple A12Z chipset, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. This kit will run the latest macOS Big Sur developer beta to help developers start helping Apple for this transition.

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Raunak Saha
A cs engineer by profession but foodie from heart. I am tech lover guy who has a passion for singing. Football is my love and making websites is my hobby.

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