Apple Details its Plan to Switch to ARM

Posted on June 22, 2020 by Brad Sams in Apple with 68 Comments

The rumors are true and Apple announced today at WWDC that the company will be moving to its own processors for future products. The company’s’ A-series chips have been used in iPhones, iPads, and its Apple TV boxes for years and the transition to the laptop/desktop is about to finally happen.

This should not come as a big surprise, the company has been touting how powerful their homegrown chips have been for years and they love to compare them to Intel’s offerings as well. By moving to use their own chips in their laptops/desktops, they are further consolidating the integration across software and hardware and reducing their reliance on third-parties for improving the performance of their devices. Further, by owning the chip process as well, they can release products on their own schedule, no longer when Intel/AMD says that they can update their hardware.

This is a monumental shift for Apple but it’s not the first time they have done this either. Most will remember when Apple switched from IBM’s processors to Intel and there are even a few other changes further back than the IBM transition. Apple knows the hurdles ahead of them and has outlined a plan to help move users, developers (and hopefully apps), to the new architecture.

To help make the transition, Apple announced Rosetta 2 and a host of new frameworks, including the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps, on the new hardware. The company also showed Adobe and Microsoft Office running on Apple Silicon (A12Z bionic) too.

There is also a new dev kit but more importantly, a transition kit that uses a Mac Mini with the A-Series chip inside to start building apps, or transitioning your apps, to Apple Silicon. These kits will start shipping this week and you can sign up here.

The first Mac with Apple Silicon will ship this year and they expect the transition to take two years. Apple will continue to support MacOS on Intel chips for several more years.

The big question will be if consumers and developers follow Apple? Considering that the company has a loyal following, it will likely have an easier time making the move than Microsoft has experienced with its attempts to support an ARM ecosystem. But with all major changes, time will tell if this was the right move for Apple or if Intel/AMD was the better path forward.

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