Apple has officially announced that they will be transitioning away from Intel’s CPUs to custom ARM processors over the next 2 years. The announcement has been bubbling for a quite a while, with rumors dating back online to as early as 2010, but during Apple’s WWDC 2020 developer conference, the company made the announcement official, with the first ARM-based Macbook coming later this year.
There was a lot of cool stuff for Mac users at Apple’s Special Event Keynote for WWDC 2020, but the biggest news by far was that Apple will be transitioning from Intel x86 to their own custom Apple Silicon over the next 2 years. They will still continue to support Intel-based macs up until then, but their first demonstration was with the A12Z Bionic System on Chip that now powers the 2020 iPad Pro.
Apple demonstrated the SoC’s performance by running Final Cut Pro and editing 3 different streams of 4K Pro Res footage on a 6K Pro Display XDR. All the demos showcased at the event including the new Big Sur MacOS were done using the custom silicon.
This transition will also mean a common architecture between all Apple products, and allow for developers to create and optimize apps for their ecosystem much more easily. Developers will now also be able to access Neural Engine silicon, which will allow them to use machine learning performance.
Apple is pretty confident that their custom Apple silicon will “give the Mac industry-leading performance per watt and higher performance GPUs — enabling app developers to write even more powerful pro apps and high-end games,” seemingly giving away that Apple will also ditch AMD silicon in the future as well.
The new Big Sur MacOS 11 update will be the start of this transition, smoothing it out as it were as it will feature a new design as well as support for many more features. There will also be support for Universal 2 application binaries, allowing for developers to seamlessly create apps that support both Intel-based and Apple Silicon-based Macs. Rosetta 2 will be used to allow existing x86 apps to still work despite the transition away from Intel-based Macs.
And that’s not just for apps, Rosetta 2 will also work for games. Apple showed off some Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay running at 1080p at a pretty stable frame rate, simply by using the Rosetta 2 emulation with no modifications at all.
So not only does this transition mean well for app and software developers on the Mac, but also means gaming performance will hopefully be increased.
What do you think? Are you excited for Apple’s transition? Do you have any worries? And what could this mean for Apple Mac gaming? Let us know your thoughts!