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Monday, November 29, 2021

Apple announces it will switch to its own processors for future Macs

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Apple is officially moving to its own silicon chips for some of its Mac hardware. Calling it a “historic day for the Mac,” Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed the transitions to PowerPC, OS X 10, and a move to Intel chips before unveiling its plans to use Apple’s own silicon in Macs in the future.

Apple is promising new levels of performance and far less power consumption with its move to in-house processors. Apple is designing its own range of SoC for Macs, with unique features to Mac, but a common architecture across product lines.

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Apple’s own pro apps will be updated to support the company’s new silicon in macOS Big Sur, and the company is hoping developers will update their apps. “The vast majority of developers can get their apps up and running in a matter of days,” claims Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

Microsoft is working on Office updates for the new Mac silicon, and Word and Excel are already running natively on the new Mac processors, with PowerPoint even using Apple’s Metal tech for rendering. Apple has also been working with Adobe to get these pro apps up and running on these new chips. Apple demonstrated Lightroom and Photoshop running on the company’s new Macs, with a 5GB Photoshop PSD running natively with smooth animations.

Photoshop running on Apple’s own silicon Macs.

Apple’s move to its own ARM chips comes just as the company unveils macOS Big Sur, which includes a big redesign of macOS and features updates to the Messages and Maps built-in apps.

Recent reports have suggested Apple’s move to ARM has been prompted by Intel’s slowing performance gains. Apple has reportedly been testing ARM-based chips in Macs and found big performance increases over Intel alternatives.

Apple’s transition to ARM follows a similar move by Microsoft to experiment with Windows on ARM nearly a decade ago. Microsoft started this work ahead of the Windows 8 release in 2012, and even released the Windows RT operating system that was designed for ARM-based hardware. Microsoft has since transitioned Windows 10 to ARM and worked with Qualcomm to integrate a custom SQ1 processor into its Surface Pro X device.

Developing… we’re adding more to this post, but you can follow along with our WWDC 2020 live blog to get the news even faster.

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