During the recent WWDC 2020 virtual conference, Apple announced it will transition Macs from Intel processors to their own Apple Silicon (or ARM) processors.
Apple to Soon Ditch Intel for Its Own Processors
The transition is expected to commence with new models as early as end of 2020. In addition, Apple is also shipping Developer Transition Kits, which include a Mac Mini with a A12Z chip so they can get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. The A12Z chip is currently running the latest iPad Pro model.
This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.
MacOS Big Sur – Next Major macOS Release
Moreover, Apple also introduced macOS Big Sur, which is said to deliver ‘its biggest update in more than a decade’ and provide a smooth transition from Intel-based chips to the new Apple silicon (or Arm).
The move to Apple’s own processors, will make it easier to port an iPad or iOS app to a MacBook Pro or iMac for example. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance.
To help developers get started with Apple silicon, Apple is also launching the Universal App Quick Start Program, which provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12.
What Does This Mean for Video Creators and Photographers?
Well, at the moment it’s not something you should worry too much about. On the other hand, the move towards Arm chips, will close the door to Hackintosh-ing. And that’s big – plenty of creatives still use Hackintosh computers (i.e Intel or AMD machines that run MacOS, in a hardward that is ‘not officially approved’ by Apple) because of expandability and better dollar-to-performance ratio. Sadly, come the Arm chips, you will probably not be able to run macOS on any non-Arm chip.
And vice-versa – running Windows on a Mac will pretty much be a thing of the past; unless you go the virtualization route, which brings its own problems, that I’d rather not go into…
You May Want to Hold-Off on that new MacBook Pro 2020…
Also, if you are planning to by a new MacBook Pro or iMac Pro in the next few months, you may want to hold off until we see then new Arm-equipped Macs later this year. FCP X and other MacOS-based apps for video creators will certainly be optimised to run on the new chips come years end.
However, one should not underestimate the possible deals on current-gen MacBook Pro’s and other Macs we may be getting come the Holiday season…
This will be a 2 year transition according to Apple, during which the company will support Intel-based Macs/MacBooks and such.
Hackintosh is Done! And so are many 3rd party apps
With the new Apple silicon chips, the Apple ecosystem will become even more closed – and many third party apps may simply ‘disappear’ from the App store. And, while this is too early to call, the signs are present. The rumours of Apple ditching Intel have been circulating for a while, but few expected the transition to start so soon – in less than 6 months. Which may leave a lot of developers hanging…
But enough downsides – what about the upsides of the Arm chips?
Well, they will be supposedly more power efficient than the Intel counterparts, and since Apple will be controlling their manufacturing and part sourcing in-house, they will probably be cheaper to make.
New MacPro with Arm?
Well, what about the professionals you ask? The $50,000+ max-spec MacPro isn’t really going anywhere, and it will still be a hell of a machine for video editing, animation, graphic design and tons more.
However, the move towards Apple silicon may give us a new, updated MacPro somewhere in the next couple of years? And while this is more of a wishful speculation rather than certainty, the writing is on the wall – Apple is closing their system even further for better or worse…
Watch the full WWDC 2020 Special Keynote event below: