Apple held its World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) 2020 as an online-only event last night. The company announced next-generation iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, Watch OS 7 and more at the event. The biggest announcement however was not software related, since Apple announced its move to shift to proprietary ARM-powered processors in Macs this year.
The move will result in a seamless ecosystem, with macOS supporting the native iOS apps and iPad OS apps.
Apple ditches Intel for its own Silicon chips
At the event last night, Cook revealed that Apple is all set to launch the first Mac with Apple Silicon at the end of this year. However, the Cupertino giant is expecting the complete transition to take place in two years. In the meanwhile, Apple has announced that new Intel-powered Macs are still in the pipeline, so the company is not exclusively making the shift to ARM-based machines just yet.
According to the brand, the biggest advantage of this move is that the ARM-powered Macs will be able to run iOS and iPadOS apps natively. Apple stated that ‘Most apps will just work’ on the new-age ARM-based Apple Silicon Macs. This will further enhance the overall ecosystem that Apple has built for its devices.
Apple Silicon promises better performance without battery compromises
The company further claimed that Apple Silicon will deliver higher performance levels without compromising on battery life. The company will use common ARM-based architecture across Apple’s products including Macs, iPhones and iPads. The move will make it easier for developers to code and optimise their apps for every major Apple device.
Apple has already updated its Pro apps like Final Cut Pro for the new Apple Silicon in macOS Big Sur, while Microsoft and Adobe are working on updating their products. Microsoft Excel Word and Excel can already run natively on new the ARM-based processor, with PowerPoint using Apple’s Metal tech for rendering. At the event, Apple also demonstrated Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop running on the new Macs with a 5GB Photoshop PSD running natively without hiccups.
Having heavy apps run natively will ensure smooth performance and lower battery consumption, which sounds really good in theory.
Rosetta 2 to make transition to Silicon seamless
In the past, when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel-based Macs, it used Rosetta to optimise existing apps for the new architecture until developers updated their apps. With macOS Big Sur, Apple is introducing Rosetta 2, which will serve the same purpose to make the switch from Intel-based Macs to ARM-base Apple Silicon-powered Macs.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering stated that, “The vast majority of developers can get their apps up and running in a matter of days.” Even if they couldn’t Rosetta 2 will automatically optimise existing apps at install time. This means even the apps that haven’t been updated should be able to work on new Macs without any modification.
To make it easier for developers, Apple has announced a new “quick start” program for developers with documentation and sample code as well as a Developer Transition Kit (DTK). The DTK will come with a Mac mini enclosure with Apple’s A12Z chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.