Apple has finally announced the major change that we were all expecting regarding its Mac lineup. As part of the announcement, the company finally confirmed that it is moving away from Intel to “Apple silicon”. Unlike the rumors, the company presented a complete roadmap regarding the switch including new software. Apple clarified that it is set to launch a family of Mac SoCs in the coming years. The software included the new macOS Big Sur with native support for Apple silicon, redesigned core apps, and more. It also included changes in Xcode, Universal 2 binaries, Rosetta 2, Virtualization, improved Catalyst, and complete developer hardware. Let’s check out the major Apple announcement from WWDC 2020 regarding its in-house Silicon here. Also Read - Apple WWDC 2020: watchOS 7, macOS 11, tvOS 14 announced
Apple WWDC 2020: Mac finally moving to in-house silicon
First up, the company shared a clear timeline regarding the switch away from Intel. It noted that it will take about two years to transition away from Intel to Apple silicon. The company will first launch its in-house silicon powered devices from “later this year”. To kick-start things, the company also revealed its “Developer Transition Kit” (DTK) that comes with Apple A12Z Bionic processor. Other specifications include 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and multiple mac I/O ports in the Mac Mini form factor. The DTK will also feature beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12 for developers. Also Read - Apple WWDC 2020: iOS 14 brings home-screen widgets, app library, iPadOS brings system-wide search
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Interested developers can apply for this “Universal App Quick Start” program on developer.apple.com for $500 now. Beyond the hardware, developers will have access to documentation, forum support, code samples, and more. The company also revealed that it will start shipping the DTK from this week. Also Read - Apple WWDC 2020 begins today, here's how to watch the livestream
Another highlight of the announcement noted that Apple silicon will allow developers and users to run unmodified iOS and iPad apps on macOS Big Sur. In fact, the company went ahead to share some demonstrations on stage regarding how the entire thing works on stage. This will likely be a game-changer offering an even tightly-knit experience.
The company also clarified that it will continue to offer new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs “for years to come” along with new hardware development. Apple noted that this move will allow them to create even better Macs with “industry-leading performance per watt”. Some new features coming to the Mac include a neural engine for machine learning and more.
The foundation of the switch
The entire switch will depend on “Universal 2” app binaries where a developer can create one single app to run on Apple silicon and Intel-based Macs. Big Sur will use Rosetta 2 to run existing out-of-date Mac apps on Apple silicon. Other powerful features include virtualization to run Linux on the new silicon. The company also noted that developers need to return the DTK at the end of the program.