In their keynote at the WWDC20 developer event, Apple announced that its Mac computers will transition to Apple's own custom-designed processors.
Formerly, Macs ran on the PowerPC platform, and then on Intel processors from 2006 to the present. From now on, new-generation Macs, like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, will run on Apple's proprietary processors.
Apple says its new proprietary processor for Mac brings together technologies developed for its A series processors, of which 2 billion units have been shipped in the past 10 years, such as the high performance of the iPad Pro and the power savings of the Apple Watch, and also introduces new technologies aimed at desktop applications.
The transition to Apple processors will bring industry-leading energy efficiency (computing performance per watt) and better graphics performance to the Mac. The Mac will also be able to use a Neural Engine, a machine learning component used in the iPhone and iPad.。
The transition to a proprietary System on a Chip (SoC) with an ARM instruction set will allow app developers to develop a single app in the new Xcode and release it for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Apple noted that desktop apps (universal apps) that run on ARM-based A series processors have already been developed by Adobe and Microsoft and run well on macOS Big Sur on the A12Z processor for iPad.
Using Xcode 12, app developers can develop a single universal app that combines Intel processor support with native use of proprietary features of Apple processors.
For traditional x86 apps, if the developer does not offer updates for Apple processors, Rosetta 2 can be used at installation time or for just-in-time translation.
Also supports virtualization and Linux.
Big Sur allows iOS and iPadOS apps to run as-is with zero effort on the developer's part. · No need to ensure cross-compatibility or optimize for the desktop.
The GPUs will also be made by Apple. All Macs will now have the graphics performance to handle 3D games.
The transition to Apple processors will begin with the new macOS Big Sur.
To prepare developers for the transition, Apple will offer its Universal App Quick Start program. This includes documentation, forum support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and a developer transition kit (DTK).
The DTK includes a Mac Mini powered by the A12Z Bionic chip. It has 16 GB RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and Mac I/O ports.
The complete Universal App Quick Start program, including the DTK, is priced at $500 and will begin shipping next week. It is intended for developers who have subscribed to the developer program, and the DTK must be returned to Apple, so it is not a way to buy a $500 Mac mini for ARM.
The first ARM Mac will be released later this year. The transition will take place over a two-year period.
The public beta will start in July.
Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come. New Mac products coming soon will include models with Intel processors.
This article was originally written in Japanese. All images and content are directly from the Japanese version at the time of publication.