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Apple officially announced some time ago that it would switch to its own processors. Although specific products were not presented, a MacBook Air with an ARM heart from Apple could still see the light of day in 2020. Especially at the beginning, users would have to do without a lot.

Apple

Macs with Apple processors: users have to compromise

Apple wants to say goodbye to Intel processors and will rely on its own ARM SoC in the future. The change will not happen overnight, but over a longer period of time. Anyone who has been involved from the start will therefore have to make a few compromises and forego functions. Heise’s colleagues listed five points that made it difficult to switch.

  • What Happens to Windows? This is of course a big unknown. Windows can be installed as a second operating system on Intel Macs. This is not possible with ARM Macs because Apple does not use Boot Camp. The Microsoft operating system should initially also not be able to run in a virtual machine. It remains to be seen whether an opportunity will be created later.
  • Linux as an alternative to Windows? This would be possible if the community quickly adapted the operating system to the ARM architecture. Then you could not install Windows but Linux if you want to use a second operating system besides macOS.
  • Will all software work? Probably not. Apple has made it possible for programs that are not optimized for ARM to run on the new devices – but everything will certainly not work smoothly. In the long run, the developers would have to go along and adapt their software for ARM. If this does not happen, it will probably disappear.
  • What happens to Thunderbolt? Apple has announced that Thunderbolt will also be supported with ARM Macs. Which version exactly, the company remains guilty. All devices will certainly not be compatible from the start. After all, the manufacturers have to provide suitable drivers.
  • No more external graphics power? Current Macs can be increased in performance with external graphics cards. This possibility, which is used in the professional area, would be eliminated. It is currently not clear how Apple could connect external graphics cards to the ARM chips – and whether that will happen at all. The graphics unit is namely integrated in the processor and theoretically that would not be necessary.

The new macOS Big Sur:

As was the case when switching from IBM to Intel processors, switching to ARM is a lengthy and cumbersome process. For Apple, the decoupling from Intel is necessary in order to survive in the future.