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WWDC: Apple to ditch Intel, new MacOS, Adobe onboard

Posted on: Monday 22nd of June 2020

Apple has just announced its plans to switch from Intel CPUs in Macs to chips of its own design, based on the ARM architecture (RISC/British-designed, already used in iPhone). This means that Apple is now designing its own chips for iOS devices and its Mac desktop and laptops. Apple’s chips will combine custom CPU, GPU, SSD controller and many other components. The Apple silicon will include the Neural Engine for machine learning applications. Expect the immediate future impact to be: thinner, lighter MacBook, better thermal performance for laptops… and much tighter integration with iPad and iPhone.

Apple’s move to ARM has been prompted by Intel’s slowing performance gains. Apple has reportedly been testing ARM-based chips in Macs and found big performance increases over Intel alternatives. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the transition will take two years from Intel to Apple silicon and the first Arm based systems will be available by the end of the year. Cook said Apple will support Intel-based Macs for the foreseeable future.

Apple has unveiled the next version of macOS: macOS 10.16, known as Big Sur. The new operating system brings the biggest redesign since the introduction of macOS 10, according to Apple. macOS Big Sur borrows a number of elements from Apple’s iOS, including Control Center, where you can change brightness and toggle Do Not Disturb, and a new notification center, which groups related notifications together. It retains the menu bar and dock, but the overall feel of the design is a hybrid between iOS and macOS. The icons and glyphs used on iOS and iPad OS has been added to the macOS system too, making the operating systems feel a lot more connected. All apps have received a new design, and the menu bar and menus across the system have been updated with a new design.

Apple has already updated its own applications to support the new Apple chips natively, including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Third-party developers can get started by recompiling their apps in the new version of Xcode. Microsoft and Adobe already have their applications Office and Creative Cloud, respectively, running on Apple silicon. Apple demoed all of macOS Big Sur’s features on a Mac running ARM, a so-called ‘Apple Development Platform’.

Developers need only load the newest, built-in version of Xcode and recompile to get their apps up and running, which Apple says will take the majority of developers “just days.” Helping in this transition is Universal 2 which enables developers to use the same binary on Intel- and Apple-based Macs.

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