It’s been an open secret in recent weeks, but Apple has today confirmed at WWDC 2020 that it will release future Macs with its own ARM-powered silicon processors.
The move, according to Apple, will allow it to have much better performance whilst also using less power – something ideal for its line of laptops (such as the MacBook Pro).
It will also mean that the gap between the iPhone/iPad and its Mac desktops and laptops is closed. macOS will now support running native iOS apps alongside macOS apps. For developers, this means that they can release one app and target the entire Apple ecosystem easily – currently, if they wanted to release an iOS app as a Mac app, they would need to wrap it with Project Catalyst.
The first Mac that will feature the new Apple-produced chip will be released by the end of this year. Apple says the transition from Intel to its own chip will take about two years.
Apple will assist developers with the transition with its Universal App Quick Start Program. This gives developers access to beta builds of the upcoming macOS Big Sur, and limited use of the “Developer Transition Kit” – basically, a Mac Mini that includes the Apple A12Z Bionic chip instead of an Intel chip.
Microsoft and Adobe have confirmed they are working in transitioning their apps to natively take advantage of the new processor. Other third-party developers can add support by converting their app to the new Universal 2 binary. Alternatively, macOS Big Sur will convert apps that haven’t updated to the new binary format.
Intel, however, is not going away entirely. Apple also confirmed that it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs “for years to come” and confirmed it has new Macs that feature Intel chips. Potentially, this could mean that Macs will have an option to use Intel or Apple Silicon chips.