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Apple’s ARM-based Macs will look more like iPhones than ever before

Apple made waves at WWDC this year when they announced that they would be making their own Mac chips, switching away from Intel processors that the company has been using over its laptops and desktops since 2005.

While Apple may be new to computer chips, it has been making its own processors ever since the original iPad and iPhone 4. This is actually one of the biggest benefits of Apple’s design strategy: Apple builds chips, Apple makes the software, and Apple designs the hardware. – all parts of the process are under Apple’s control. Now Apple is potentially ready to take the same benefits to its Macs.

The transition to ARM ̵

1; which the company refers to as “Apple Silicon” – is the third major hardware platform for the Mac. The most recent was the 2005 transition from PowerPC chips to Intel, which then-CEO Steve Jobs explained was for a simple reason. Apple needed the more powerful performance and better battery efficiency that Intel’s chips offered; PowerPC’s roadmap was simply not good enough for the devices Apple wanted to build.

After that change, Apple’s laptops underwent a radical change in design. The ultra-thin MacBook Air and the unibody design for their MacBook and MacBook Pro ranges are bursting at the seams, all of which have had a huge impact on the overall computing industry while still being faster than ever before. Now Apple is quoting the same promises of improved processing power and better battery life as the motivation for the latest switch to ARM, which may indicate that a similar leap forward in design would come.

However, that leaves the big question: how fast will Apple’s ARM chips actually be?

Unfortunately, we do not really know yet. And while Apple makes excellent chips for iPhones and iPads, the most powerful ARMs on the market right now are ultra-portable laptops like the Surface X or Samsung Galaxy Book S – a far from even high-performance laptop like the MacBook Pro, to say the least. about Apple desktops like iMac or Mac Pro.

In addition, it is a matter of software. A new hardware platform means that developers have to port things over, which can lead to problems with incompatible apps or just straight programs that are missing. We’ve seen it before with the Surface X, which had its beautiful design undermined by a poor selection of software that could actually be used with it.

However, Apple has some aces up its sleeve. As long as Mac developer Mark Bessey tells The limit, an important difference is that “everyone uses Xcode now. There are no other development environments that have any traction now in Mac development, which means that switching to ARM is as easy as updating their app for all new versions of macOS and Xcode for most developers.

Then of course there is the iPhone. All apps already running on iOS work naturally on the new Macs, which means there will be a huge amount of software ready to go on the first day. Bessey also speculates that bridging the platforms together could see a burst of new Mac apps that are universal across iOS, iPad and macOS. Where developers may not have had an incentive to create a built-in Mac app before, the new ARM-based architecture means it will be much easier to extend iPhone and iPad apps to the desktop platform.

It’s an exciting time for Mac. And who knows? Maybe Apple will continue to borrow ideas from the iPhone and finally add touch screens to its next computer wave as well.

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