In a historic move this week at WWDC, Apple announced that it’s transitioning the Mac to its own silicon chips. It’s called Apple Silicon and offers industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies.
The company plans to ship the first Mac with Apple Silicon by the end of the year, beginning a two-year transition period. But this doesn’t mean Apple is dropping support for Intel chips; Intel-based Macs will continue to receive support and software updates from Apple. In fact, new Intel-based Macs are still in the pipeline.
The move to in-house processor for the Mac opens door for iOS and iPadOS apps to run natively on macOS, as they share the common ARM-based architecture. It’ll be easier for developers to write and optimize apps across every Apple device.
This will give the Mac industry-leading performance per watt and higher performance GPUs, according to Apple. Rosetta, the translation technology used for the PowerPC transition to Intel-based Macs, has been updated as well. Rosetta 2 will automatically translate existing Mac apps that have not yet been updated to work without modification. This means developers can also make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any changes.
Apple is launching the Universal App Quick Start Program for developers to ease the transition of their apps. The program provides access to documentation, forum support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12. There’s also a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which is based on Apple’s A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC) in a Mac mini enclosure. The DTK must be returned to Apple at the end of the program. Joining the Universal App Quick Start Program costs $500.