One of the major announcements at Apple’s 2020 Worldwide Developer Conference was their transition from Intel chips to their new Silicon chips for future Mac product lines. The goal of the new processors is to increase performance while reducing power consumption. They will be similar to the A-series chips used in iPhones and iPads. They are also expected to provide exceptional graphics performance.
As an indicator of the improved performance expected from the Silicon chips, consider the performance of the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models, with the A12X and A12Z chips, respectively – they’re close in speed to the 2018 MacBook Pro. Apple has also been using their Silicon T1 and T2 chips to power certain components of several Mac models for the last few years, so the change isn’t as abrupt as it might appear. Using their own technology, rather than Intel chips, will also allow Apple more control and regularity in their update schedule.
This transition is set to occur over the next few years, with the first Silicon chip Macs expected in late 2020. The transition will be an interesting time for software developers. When Apple transitioned from PowerPC to Intel chips in the mid-2000s, it was with the aid of a Mac application called Rosetta, which effectively translated software from one system to the other. A similar transition tool will come available with the upcoming release of MacOS Big Sur this fall. It is called, predictably, Rosetta 2 (hey, Apple’s technology is innovative – their product naming conventions, maybe not so much). It’s reported that Adobe and Microsoft have already begun updating their applications to run natively on Apple Silicon.
For anyone who has recently purchased an Apple computer, fear not, you’re not being left out in the cold: Apple will continue to support and release software updates for the Intel-based Macs for years to come. Nonetheless, this is an exciting announcement for Apple fans, and we at Mac Ranch look forward to watching this technology evolve over the next few years. If you’re having trouble with an older Mac and considering holding out for the Silicon chips before you buy new, stop in at Mac Ranch – we can tune up your current machine to get you by until the new generation. You just have to promise to bring in your new one for us to play with!