This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Along with three Macs with Apple's proprietary M1 chip, the next macOS, Big Sur, has been announced to be available starting November 12. The new chip and the new OS are so closely related that Apple claims that "the foundations of Big Sur are optimized to unlock the power of M1" (although Big Sur will also cover existing Mac models with the Intel chip).
What's interesting here is what the company touts as "a greater range of apps than ever before," or the breadth of apps it supports. That category can be broadly divided into the following categories: one is apps made specifically for the M1 chip. And existing apps for Macs with Intel chips can be used directly with Rosetta 2, and iPhone/iPad apps are said to be available on macOS for the first time.
Furthermore, "All of Apple’s Mac software is now Universal and runs natively on M1 systems." There are a few concepts that have been introduced that are unfamiliar to Mac users over the past few years, but they are actually all things that Apple explained at WWDC20 and afterward. Let's review them in the order below.
First of all, a Universal application is a single app that contains native code for both the Intel chip and the M1 chip (a type of Apple-designed chip, Apple Silicon). This is a reincarnation of the "Universal" that was once offered when the Mac moved from Power PCs to Intel processors, and the new one is an assortment of binaries for Intel and M1.
In short, it works on both old and new Macs regardless of hardware compatibility because it is a "set of dedicated code for two different chips", but the file size of the application will be larger and the download time will take extra time instead. By the way, it is also pointed out that it is possible to create a universal application corresponding to three generations of Power PC, Intel, and Apple Silicon (whether it is practical or not).
Next is Rosetta 2, which is also a reincarnation of Rosetta, which was provided during the migration of Intel chips from Power PCs. This time, the Intel binaries will be converted to Apple Silicon binaries.
With that much work being put on the CPU in real-time, there are concerns about performance degradation. When the Developer Transition Kit for the Apple Silicon transition was first distributed, it was estimated to have a performance drop of around 25-40%, but if the CPU performance and graphics performance of the M1 chip are several times faster than the Intel chip, as Apple nominally claims, then the app experience may be rather faster.
As for the third iPhone/iPad apps, in principle, they all run on Apple Silicon Macs, but Google and other major app developers have opted out of offering them on the MacApp Store, and many gaming apps were rumored to be unavailable as well.
So far, that's what Apple is saying, but what you may be wondering about is what they haven't mentioned. Specifically, Boot Camp (the ability to install Windows 10 on a Mac and switch between macOS and Windows at startup), which could be critical for some users' purposes. There was no mention of this at the One More Thing event on November 10 from Apple.
And when it comes to virtual machine apps that perform the same function as Boot Camp, it's clear that "virtual machine apps that virtualize the x86_64 computer platform will not work" in Rosetta 2 above, meaning that apps like Parallels and VMware will not be available on M1-powered Macs, at least not in the current version.
Will Rosetta 2 be able to run all existing Intel macOS apps smoothly? Can we access many iPhone/iPad apps on the MacApp Store? Also, will BootCamp be offered in the future with the M1 chip + Big Sur? (Even if it's technically cleared, it's unclear if Microsoft will offer Arm's version of Windows 10 licenses to the general public) We await further news.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.