MacOS is going ARM

J.P. Scott
Jun 11 · 3 min read
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I guess your next computer is… a computer?

There have been rumors about a possible ARM-powered MacBook circulating for a while. But now it’s a sure thing. According to Bloomberg, Apple will be announcing the future of Mac, powered by the companies ARM processors at WWDC on June 22nd. The last time Apple transitioned to a new CPU was back in 2006 when they switched to Intel.

This is kind of a big deal, we’re likely on the brink of a massive shakeup in the world of computing.

So why ARM? Why now?

Think about the iPad Pro 2020 vs. the MacBook Air 2020.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. The MacBook will always be in the fight due to the app-gap. The software used on MacOS and Windows has been designed and compiled to run in an x86 environment.

Google has to deal with this problem from the other side while offering Android apps on their Chromebooks. Similar to iOS, Android apps are developed for the ARM processors found in phones, and Chromebooks are generally powered by x86 CPUs.

Google’s solution is to put Android apps in virtualized containers. It’s basically an emulated environment that the apps run in — separate from the operating system. It’s definitely a solution, but it comes at a cost. Containerized apps demand more performance than they should. It’s not a huge deal with lightweight mobile apps, but if you were running a few x86 apps, it could be. Especially if you’re on battery.

There are workarounds for incompatible software, but they won’t be needed indefinitely.

The iPad Pro has been the subject of debate since its inception in 2015. Is it a laptop replacement? A laptop alternative? Or is it just a tablet for media consumption and drawing? Why wouldn’t you just get a Microsoft Surface Pro!?

iPad Air vs. Surface Pro
iPad Air vs. Surface Pro
Photo provided by Author.

When the device first launched, it basically was a fancy tablet with pen support. But since then, the gap has been closing with each iteration. Now, with mouse support, it’s closer than ever to being a laptop replacement. But it’s still not quite there, and it’s because of the software.

Apple may use Google’s method of containerized applications to start — but it’s not going to take long for the landscape to change. If companies are too stubborn to transition their software to ARM, their competitors will.

Apple isn’t entirely relying on developers either. They’ve already been laying the framework for a transition.

The switch won’t be entirely smooth, but the future looks promising. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of Mac looks like.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store