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Transition to Apple silicon Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Article ID = 254
Article Title = Transition to Apple silicon Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 23rd June 2020
Article Last Updated = 9th July 2020
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?254

Article Brief Description:
Frequently Asked Questions about the transition to Apple silicon/processors/chips in their Mac range of computers

Transition to Apple processors Frequently Asked Questions

Apple officially announced at their WWDC online virtual event on 22nd June 2020 that they were going to transition to using their own hardware processors (which are ARM based) in their Mac range of computers instead of using Intel processors.
Q. Why is Apple transitioning to their own processors instead of using Intel's?
A. Apple stated that it is "to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies" that will "also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem", but there will also be the significant factors of "overall control", "costs" and "profit".
Q. When can developers start building applications for Apple processor based Macs?
A. Immediately, from 22nd June 2020, using the newly announced Xcode 12.
Q. What's the first version of macOS to support Apple processors?
A. macOS 11 Big Sur.
Q. Will macOS 11 support virtual machines/environments via Parallels, Fusion and VirtualBox?
A. Yes, but…
  • If your Mac has an Intel processor you should still be able to virtualise macOS, LINUX and Windows as normal.
  • If your Mac has an Apple processor you should be able to virtualise macOS and LINUX but possibly not Windows and you may not be able to virtualise older versions of macOS - we will update this article when we know more.
Q. If I can't run Windows in a virtual machine/environment on a new Apple processor based Mac, can I run Windows in Boot Camp?
A. Highly unlikely, no. Microsoft currently, only licences Windows on ARM processors to OEMs - thus you won't be able to install Windows on an ARM based Mac.
Q. Will macOS 11 support running iOS/iPadOS apps on a Mac?
A. Yes, but…
  • If your Mac has an Intel processor it has not been made clear whether you can or can't do this but it is most likely that you will not be able to - we will update this article when we know more.
  • If your Mac has an Apple processor you will definitely be able to run iOS/iPadOS apps on your Mac - they will be available to download via the App Store
Q. Will applications built for Macs with Apple processors work on older versions of macOS?
A. Developers can make their applications Universal 2 binary compliant. If the application is Universal 2 compliant it will run on older versions of macOS (exact versions to be confirmed at a later date, but might only be from macOS 11 onwards). If the application is built only for Apple processors it will only run on Macs that have Apple processors.
Q. Will applications built for Intel processors still work on new Apple processor based Macs?
A. Mostly, yes. Apple has created a new Rosetta 2 technology that allows for Mac Intel based applications to run on Apple processor based Macs. It is not currently clear whether Rosetta 2 will only support Mac Intel based applications available from the Mac App Store, or whether it will also support Notarised applications or even older non-Notarised applications that are 64-bit compliant - we will update this article when we know more. Lyman T on MacInTouch clarifies with, "anything that uses modern Vectors (AVX, AVX2, and AVX512) or Intel's new ML instructions won't work [with Rosetta 2]. Also anything that was to run inside the kernel won't (some low level driver extensions). So some very new applications and probably some very old (with little or no current maintenance) kernel stuff won't. Older (but not too old as to be 32-bits) plain vanilla apps will".
Q. Will plug-ins work on new Apple processor based Macs?
A. This can affect creative users especially those involved in graphics, video and music. As before with previous transitions, old plug-ins may not work in native or Universal 2 binary compliant applications on Apple processor based Macs - they may have to be updated to work properly. Apple has stated "With the translation technology of Rosetta 2, users will be able to run existing Mac apps that have not yet been updated, including those with plug-ins", so it remains to be seen how well Rosetta 2 copes with these technologies.
Q. If I have a Universal 2 binary compliant application but still need to run the Intel version via Rosetta 2 to use old plug-ins, is there a way to do this?
A. Yes. Locate the Application in the Finder > go to File menu > Get Info > tick the "Open using Rosetta" box.
Q. When are the first Apple Mac computers being released with Apple's own processors?
A. Consumers should see the first Apple Mac computers with Apple's own processors before the end of 2020. For now, there is only a special Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which is a Mac development system based on Apple's A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC), available to registered Apple developers only.
Q. Will all Apple Mac computers, including the Pro models, ultimately be upgraded to use Apple's own processors?
A. Yes. Apple stated that they aimed to "complete the transition in about two years" i.e. by the end of 2022.
Q. Will Microsoft Office be made compatible with new Apple processor based Macs?
A. Yes. Apple previewed Microsoft Office running at their WWDC online virtual event on 22nd June 2020.
Q. Will Adobe Creative Cloud be made compatible with new Apple processor based Macs?
A. Yes. Apple previewed Adobe Photoshop running at their WWDC online virtual event on 22nd June 2020.
Q. Will Intel's Thunderbolt technology be supported with new Apple processor based Macs?
A. Apple has given a statement to The Verge in which they say they "will support it in Macs with Apple silicon".
Q. Will Target Disk Mode be supported on new Apple processor based Macs?
A. No. But there will be a new, similar technology called "Mac Sharing Mode", along with other interesting changes in the boot process coming down the line.
Q. Will new Apple processor based Macs be cheaper than current models?
A. Sorry, this one's completely out the window - who knows. On one had we'd like to think they can scale costs down and thus they will be cheaper. On the other hand, this is the new Apple that sells a £50,899.00 Mac Pro and will still charge you an extra £400 for wheels - so if profit is the driving force we can expect prices to go up!

Article Keywords: macOS 11 Big Sur 1100 transition to Apple silicon processor chips SoCs Intel ARM Universal Binary 2 Universal2 Rosetta 2 backwards compatibility Rosetta2 Mac Macintosh Pro computers

This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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