Apple has used WWDC 2020 to announce the abandonment of Intel processors. There has been speculation about this for a long time and now it is time for Apple to start using their own processors.
The chips called “Apple Silicon” are based on the ARM architecture and not on the x86 architecture used so far. Thus, the same technical platform is used as for iPhones and iPads.
Previously used software may become unusable due to the new architecture. Although Apple has integrated an emulation unit called Rosetta 2 into the new operating system, this can lead to performance and compatibility problems. Software developers such as Microsoft (Office) and Adobe (Photoshop), however, are supposed to be working on adapted programs. Developers can rent a Developer Transition Kit, a special Mac Mini with A12Z processor (known from the iPad Pro 2020) as well as 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, for 539 Euros. Interesting in any case is that iPad and iPhone apps will also become compatible.
The ARM architecture is mainly known for its energy efficiency, but not for its good performance – compared to x86 processors. ARM chips are currently running at 2 to 3 GHz clock rates, while Intel CPUs are even coming in above 5 GHz. Also Hyper-Threading and some instruction sets provide a higher speed of x86. ARM processors are therefore often used in mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. In desktop PCs rather less. According to Apple, the ARM architecture can of course be used to build better devices again. We can be curious how good the new devices will actually be.
The first Macs with Apple’s silicon architecture are expected to appear at the end of this year, and all devices are to be converted within the next two years.