Alongside macOS Big Sur, Apple also announced it will officially power future Macs (laptops and desktops) with Apple Silicon. Basically, Apple Silicon is an in-house chip akin to what is powering the iPhone and iPad family of devices. In other words: It’s a processor.
The big wins for you? Well, it’s faster, more efficient and should deliver crazy-long battery life. Apple is banking a lot on this and is effectively ditching Intel for future Macs. To unpack this a bit more, these Mac chips will not just be renamed iPad or iPhone chipsets. There’s a common architecture across all Apple devices, but these are custom systems on chips (aka Apple Silicon for the Mac).
Apple clearly had hardware and software teams working together. macOS Big Sur’s core apps are built to support Apple Silicon. Microsoft is working on Office and Adobe is working on all Creative Cloud apps. This is important as developers need to update apps to support Silicon. Currently, these are designed to work with Intel chips. Alongside the rollout of Apple Silicon in laptops and desktops, there will likely be an update period for developers making apps compatible.
Apple has a solution to have all applications working on day one of the rollout, though. Rosetta 2 is a pre-installed application (acting as an emulator and a translator) that will allow Intel-made apps to run on Silicon-powered devices. Additionally, Apple demoed Microsoft’s Office Suite and Adobe’s Creative Cloud running natively on a Silicon-powered Mac. To be more specific, that Mac was powered by the A12Z Bionic Chip —- the same one inside the 2020 iPad Pro. Impressive.
When can you expect to buy a Mac powered by Silicon? Apple’s launching a consumer Silicon PC this year and they’re still committed to Intel PCs for a few years to come.
This is a developing story and we’ll be updating as Apple continues to drop news during WWDC.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.