Apple has finally announced at the WWDC keynote, that it is transitioning its Mac products, MacBooks Imax, things like that away from the Intel platforms they’ve been on forever and to what They call Apple silicon and what does that mean?
That means chips that Apple is designing that are very similar to what you would find in iPhones and iPads basically arm based chip.
So what does that mean?
That means for the first time there may be a non Intel powered MacBook Apple actually introduced the concept of named mac book when they switch from power PC to Intel way, way back when back when I started working at CNET so you know, it was a long time ago, and we’ve gotten used to having Intel powered Macs.
It’s laptops like the mac book, it’s desktops like the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro and the iMac.
So now Apple says through all this out the window, we’re gonna bring in all kinds of new equipment running our own chips, which means Apple will control The hardware design, the software designed in Mac OS and now the actual platform itself using its own using its own chips.
That’s important because that’s how they get a lot of the efficiencies that you find in iPhones and iPads by controlling each stage of the process and not having a big outside vendor like Intel, controlling when they can get chips and what those chips can do.
Now if you’re out there shopping for a MacBook or another Mac product, this of course raises a lot of questions.
Should I buy one now?
Should I wait?
When are the new ones coming?
Will they work with the old ones?
Apple does not have all of those answers yet.
They do say however that the very first Arm based or Apple silicon based Macs are coming by the end of 2020.
But the transition itself will take two years to complete.
And during that time they’re going to continue to sell and support Intel based Macs.
In fact they have some new Intel based Macs in the works that have not even been Announced yet, I’m gonna bet those are probably IMAX which have been rumored for a long time, especially because the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro were very recently updated.
The larger MacBook Pro the 16 inch dates from last fall, that’s not that old.
The iMac is a design that’s been sitting static really for a long time and could definitely use a refresh.
Now if you’re thinking of buying something you have to say to yourself, is it worth waiting for the apple silicon, the arm based version of let’s say, a MacBook, or should I get a new one right now if I really need it, if you have an immediate need, and you’re thinking of getting a 13 inch MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, I would feel fairly comfortable by now because those were both updated very recently.
In fact, in March and April Of 2020 so those are bad news you’re going to get for a little while.
I would suspect that the product that they will launch in 2020 by the end of 2020 is probably something like a Mac Mini because they are already offering Mac mini transitional development kits to app developers which will help you take your software and make a version of it that will run natively on this new Apple silicon, so that you’re not translating it through [UNKNOWN] basically try to emulate the software on a new platform where It may work but it may not work as efficiently or as well you may not get the same performance, and those initial kits are Mac minis.
So I bet that’s going to be the first thing across the line.
You know, if you’re buying something because you really are mission critical on things like Photoshop on Final Cut.
Maybe I’ll reconsider waiting to see when those are coming up in the lineup with the new versions because big companies like Adobe already have access to create new versions of things like Photoshop for the apple silicon versions of Mac’s and going forward the development of that software.
Might lean very heavily towards those platforms, so you probably get the best versions, if you get the version that works with again, the new Mac hardware, not the Intel Mac hardware.
If you’re looking for extraordinary battery life, I would wager that the new versions the arm based Mac may have better battery life Because notebooks currently, they have pretty good battery life but they are not blowing window laptops out of the way.
Everything kind of works the same.
And that may be in part because of that intel Gbit the same whether you get it in Mac, or in the PC and its efficient as it is and there is so much you can do in the operating system and the hard way to change that, once Apple can control the entire ecosystem, hardware operating system and platform.
Well that gives you a lot of options for efficiency.
If you use a lot of Apps on your Mac, not with based Apps.
Things that you do like Netflix or shopping at Amazon or using Gmail.
Things you do through a browser.
If you use a lot of actual Native apps, especially older one to ones that are not fully supported anymore.
Maybe they don’t make the app anymore, and you have an old version
Maybe stick with what you have or buy an Intel Mac while you can.
Because while most of these programs will work on future platforms, in an emulated translated kind of way, if you’re a small developer and you don’t have the bandwidth to make a new version for a new Apple platform, well then you may not get to that, especially if let’s say your company’s not even around anymore.
I’d say something similar about boot camp for Macs.
If you’re very concerned about running Windows on your Mac hardware, which is what boot camp people do, we have not heard anything about the support for boot camp on these future Macs.
I don’t know if we’ll hear it.
Then again, there are plenty of Windows based laptops running arm chips right now.
I’m not gonna say they run them well, but it is technically possible.
So that is something that could happen I would not bet the farm on it.
I also thought briefly about Mac gamers What are they going to do if you are a Mac gamer?
Yes, one of the few.
I think this puts an end to the still weak experiments in bringing more traditional PC gaming to Mac.
I will never See my dream of having Fallout 76 native on the Mac platform come to life but because it’s running essentially the same platform as iPhones and iPads, you could see a lot of those really cool.
Apple arcade games transition really welcome acts get even more ambitious especially if you’re paired with a controller, I think that’s potentially interesting there but for core gamers No, not really.
The key to all this advice, of course, is that there are so many things we don’t know.
We just know now that Apple is transitioning their lineup to these arm based chips.
The transition will take two years there’ll be a lot of overlap between the Intel versions and the Arm versions.
But you will apparently see the very first arm products coming at the end of this year.
I would bet based on things like the Mac Pro in previous years at the very very December end of the year, and again if I was going to put money on it, I’d say probably a Mac Mini But they could surprise us with even more stuff.
That said current MacBooks are great, if you’re really need one right now for yourself or for a student in your life, I would not feel particularly apprehensive about buying one.