Monday, June 22nd 2020

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple today also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.
To help developers get started with Apple silicon, Apple is also launching the Universal App Quick Start Program, which provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and the limited use of a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), a Mac development system based on Apple's A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC).

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development. The transition to Apple silicon represents the biggest leap ever for the Mac.

"From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we're announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I've never been more excited about the future of the Mac."

Family of Mac SoCs to Deliver Powerful New Features and Best-in-Class Performance
For over a decade, Apple's world-class silicon design team has been building and refining Apple SoCs. The result is a scalable architecture custom designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that leads the industry in unique features and performance per watt, and makes each of them best in class. Building upon this architecture, Apple is designing a family of SoCs for the Mac. This will give the Mac industry-leading performance per watt and higher performance GPUs—enabling app developers to write even more powerful pro apps and high-end games. And access to technologies such as the Neural Engine will make the Mac an amazing platform for developers to use machine learning. This will also create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem.

macOS Big Sur Enables Transition to Apple Silicon
In macOS Big Sur, Apple is offering a range of technologies to make the transition to Apple silicon smooth and seamless. With everything built into Xcode 12, such as native compilers, editors, and debugging tools, most developers will be able to get their apps running in a matter of days. Using Universal 2 application binaries, developers will be able to easily create a single app that taps into the native power and performance of the new Macs with Apple silicon, while still supporting Intel-based Macs. With the translation technology of Rosetta 2, users will be able to run existing Mac apps that have not yet been updated, including those with plug-ins. Virtualization technology allows users to run Linux. Developers can also make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

Quick Start Program Lets Developers Get Started Today
Apple Developer Program members can start moving their apps to Apple silicon today by applying for the Universal App Quick Start Program. The program provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and includes the limited use of a DTK, which will enable developers to build and test their Universal 2 apps. The DTK, which must be returned to Apple at the end of the program, consists of a Mac mini with Apple's A12Z Bionic SoC inside and desktop specs, including 16 GB of memory, a 512 GB SSD, and a variety of Mac I/O ports. Developers can apply to the program at developer.apple.com, and the total cost of the program is $500.
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61 Comments on Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

#1
Caring1
The walls are getting higher.
Posted on Reply
#2
jawad
worst idea ever... another new thing out of the standers which will make a third software line...
Posted on Reply
#3
Fouquin
Was wondering when this would find its way here.

Some notes:
  • EFI is not transitioning to the ARM platforms.
  • Cost reduction of ARM platforms could be substantial, with the A12Z mini development kits targeting roughly 60% of the entry price for a current gen Mac Mini.
  • Apple's standard support is 7 years from last date of sale. Combined with the 2-year transition plan encompassing still yet to be released Intel Macs means x86 MacOS should be seeing extended support through 2030. Hackintosh isn't dead yet folks.
  • SoC to x86 translation is seamless with a performance penalty as of now. Most native apps work translated.
  • The A12Z is a nearly three year old SoC design. Newer chips will suffer lower penalties.
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#4
jayshay
You have to give the DK back so can't factor in that $500
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#5
Bruno Vieira
Nice to have an notebook without sudo or be able to install 3th partie sorftware, locked by the appstore?
Dual boot? No everyone wants to program in a vm.
Will I be able to compile xcode programs at will or there is a dev edition for the mac os arm?
No thanks I'm on android and linux/windows for a reason.
Posted on Reply
#6
DrCR
Fouquin
EFI is not transitioning to the ARM platforms.
Could you elaborate on this? It's not like smartphones use BIOS, surely. [Yes, I know, "don't call me Surely."]

I'm satisfied in Apple providing updates to their smartphones like no other. 7 years seems low for a laptop/desktop though. Let's be honest, at this point a good 10 y/o machine still does just fine for general websurfing/youtube/et alii home use.

It would be a shame to me if Apple doesn't make use of Ryzen to at least some extent e.g. iMac Pro and Mac Pro.
Posted on Reply
#7
Ashtr1x
More lockdown, more proprietary garbage. They build everything on their own, it's almost fully vertical. That means a gigantic blackbox. They solder everything to the chassis (Battery, Keyboard), solder to Mobo, less I/O options more gatekeepers like T2 blackbox. And ARM is fully custom always not like x86 which we enjoy today with massive amount of choice from CPU to the Case. That's the best thing what happened to a computer and it's innovation not walled garden BS. Just look at ARM phones, locked up like a drum except a few phones which allow Bootloader unlock and Google is copying Apple very hard in the same like locking up filesystem away from user with Scoped Storage garbage and M$ using UWP crap to lock up. I just wish this all ends or at-least we have freedom for some decades going forward.

Anandtech will start hyping it up with their useless garbage SPEC scores, which shows A series are from space but in reality of Application perfomrance of finishing the task on an Android Qualcomm based phone vs A series no difference. I just hope this even pushes more innovation on x86, thank you AMD for doing that with ZEN and I hope Intel innovates so that we can still keep our machines build by ourselves and used like what we wish.
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#8
Fourstaff
The long awaited unification between Mac PCs and iPhones. People outside the walled garden will shout and engage in mud slinging, people inside the garden will enjoy newfound integration benefits.
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#9
R0H1T
Fouquin
Hackintosh isn't dead yet folks.
Don't bet on that, you're trying to see the future 10 years with just the next 2 years of transition planned & Apple's previous gen (OS) support? It'd be a mistake if anyone's looking to do Hackintosh & getting into the Mac OS ecosystem now, with an x86 config, probably a big mistake IMO.
Fourstaff
The long awaited unification between Mac PCs and iPhones. People outside the walled garden will shout and engage in mud slinging, people inside the garden will enjoy newfound integration benefits.
Nope was looking forward to this for a long time, will finally get to see what Apple can pull off without major TDP restrictions.

Also this should put the CISC vs RISC debate to rest for a while, at least here ~

New #1 Supercomputer: Fujitsu’s Fugaku and A64FX take Arm to the Top with 415 PetaFLOPs

The ISA doesn't matter, never did. It's all about performance, optimizations & of course the ecosystem.
Posted on Reply
#10
Fouquin
DrCR
Could you elaborate on this? It's not like smartphones use BIOS, surely. [Yes, I know, "don't call me Surely."]
They didn't reimplement EFI at all. MacOS has been retrained to use iBoot like iOS. It just loads the signed kernel directly.
DrCR
It would be a shame to me if Apple doesn't make use of Ryzen to at least some extent e.g. iMac Pro and Mac Pro.
There's no point. You want to talk about working backwards and adding unnecessary platform complexities... Building around Ryzen this late in the game and redoing years of optimizations is a waste.
R0H1T
Don't bet on that, you're trying to see the future 10 years with just the next 2 years of transition planned & Apple's previous gen (OS) support? It'd be a mistake if anyone's looking to do Hackintosh & getting into the Mac OS ecosystem now, with an x86 config, probably a big mistake IMO.
Well you are free to think that but I've heard from more than one person behind the scenes that it's not dying soon.
Posted on Reply
#11
Darmok N Jalad
I still just want to see what they can do with their own chip designs. And so much can change before x86 Macs are completely dead. They even said they still have x86 Macs they’ve yet to announce.
Posted on Reply
#12
Chrispy_
What's in it for developers?
Unless I'm missing something, Apple have just condemned the Mac lineup to the same "mobile-first" software plague that severely harmed the desktop PC a decade ago.
Developers aren't going to write full-fat software Just for MacOS, for free, no. The Mac lineup is going to get the lowest-common-denominator treatment where porting an iOS version to desktop is the path of least resistance.
If Apple throws billions in the direction of the software giants that cover the majority of the market, they may get somewhere.
Posted on Reply
#13
Darmok N Jalad
Chrispy_
What's in it for developers?
Unless I'm missing something, Apple have just condemned the Mac lineup to the same "mobile-first" software plague that severely harmed the desktop PC a decade ago.
Developers aren't going to write full-fat software Just for MacOS, for free, no. The Mac lineup is going to get the lowest-common-denominator treatment where porting an iOS version to desktop is the path of least resistance.
If Apple throws billions in the direction of the software giants that cover the majority of the market, they may get somewhere.
Most Apple customers spend money. They are also more willing to move along with the changes. People can see that however they want, but Macs have never had a high percentage of the desktop market, yet the essential software is there. Adobe already has a working port for CC, LR, PS, and MS has a working port for Office. All of Apple's native apps are ported already, including FCPX. I don't think it will take all that long for active software to make the switch. Also, they said anything built with today's tools will work on either x86 or ARM Macs.
Posted on Reply
#14
rvalencia
"Build the wall" - Apple
R0H1T
Don't bet on that, you're trying to see the future 10 years with just the next 2 years of transition planned & Apple's previous gen (OS) support? It'd be a mistake if anyone's looking to do Hackintosh & getting into the Mac OS ecosystem now, with an x86 config, probably a big mistake IMO.

Nope was looking forward to this for a long time, will finally get to see what Apple can pull off without major TDP restrictions.

Also this should put the CISC vs RISC debate to rest for a while, at least here ~

New #1 Supercomputer: Fujitsu’s Fugaku and A64FX take Arm to the Top with 415 PetaFLOPs

The ISA doesn't matter, never did. It's all about performance, optimizations & of course the ecosystem.
www.anandtech.com/show/14302/us-dept-of-energy-announces-frontier-supercomputer-cray-and-amd-1-5-exaflops
Incoming US supercomputers
Frontier project, Cray's AMD fusion solution has 1.5 ExaFLOPS (2021) with PCIe 4.0 lanes.
Aurora project, Intel's fusion solution has 1 ExaFLOPS (2021).

Fujitsu’s Fugaku ARM SoC has PCIe 3.0 lanes. A64FX has 512 bit SIMD support.

Sometime in 2020, AMD's CDNA Radeon Instinct includes Tensor cores.
Posted on Reply
#15
PowerPC
Bruno Vieira
Nice to have an notebook without sudo or be able to install 3th partie sorftware, locked by the appstore?
Dual boot? No everyone wants to program in a vm.
Will I be able to compile xcode programs at will or there is a dev edition for the mac os arm?
No thanks I'm on android and linux/windows for a reason.
Where are you getting this information about no sudo from? It'll still be running MacOS, the same OS that will be running in parallel on their Intel machines, the same OS that they had for decades. MacOS has never been restricted, why the heck do you think it'll suddenly change now? Professionals have been using it for decades and those are the core users for MacOS. MacOS is literally made for work like professional software development, that has literally nothing in common with what an IPhone or an IPad is made for. You have a LOT of developers/programmers who use MacBook Pros, it's not like Apple is just suddenly going to scare all those customers off. Apple knows their custormers, probably even better than 99% of companies. Literally the first thing Tim Cook said in WWDC when announcing this was that they are only doing this to make a BETTER product. Why can't you believe that this might not be just about money or "locking" something out. If they actually wanted to lock down Macs like IPads, they could have done it a dacade ago already. Intel or their own chip has no relevance in this discussion. But of course they haven't done it because Macs have a totally different use case from IPads or IPhones, and a totally different set of users that are actually professionals doing work.

I think this is actually the best thing they can do to differentiale themselves even more, to be in control of literally every design decision, from software to hardware in one laptop or computer. This has already always been the big thing about apple products for years, not they are just making the last logical step. Literally nothing points to locking anything for professional users, and I believe there's absolutely no way Apple would be this dumb and do anything to scare this huge group of users away. That would literally make no sense for their Mac product lineup, especially for the use case of something like a MacBook Pro compared to a an IPad. Those are literally two different worlds of users for Apple.
Posted on Reply
#16
rvalencia
PowerPC
Where are you getting this information about no sudo from? It'll still be running MacOS, the same OS that will be running in parallel on their Intel machines, the same OS that they had for decades. MacOS has never been restricted, why the heck do you think it'll suddenly change now? Professionals have been using it for decades and those are the core users for MacOS. MacOS is literally made for work like professional software development, that has literally nothing in common with what an IPhone or an IPad is made for. You have a LOT of developers/programmers who use MacBook Pros, it's not like Apple is just suddenly going to scare all those customers off. Apple knows their custormers, probably even better than 99% of companies. Literally the first thing Tim Cook said in WWDC when announcing this was that they are only doing this to make a BETTER product. Why can't you believe that this might not be just about money or "locking" something out. If they actually wanted to lock down Macs like IPads, they could have done it a dacade ago already. Intel or their own chip has no relevance in this discussion. But of course they haven't done it because Macs have a totally different use case from IPads or IPhones, and a totally different set of users that are actually professionals doing work.

I think this is actually the best thing they can do to differentiale themselves even more, to be in control of literally every design decision, from software to hardware in one laptop or computer. This has already always been the big thing about apple products for years, not they are just making the last logical step. Literally nothing points to locking anything for professional users, and I believe there's absolutely no way Apple would be this dumb and do anything to scare this huge group of users away. That would literally make no sense for their Mac product lineup, especially for the use case of something like a MacBook Pro compared to a an IPad. Those are literally two different worlds of users for Apple.
iOS is a minority in the mobile phone market segment.

Out of the box, MacOS platform has inferior hardware raytracing.
Posted on Reply
#17
trparky
Whoa. Wait. According to the Apple KeyNote, Rosetta 2 will translate the program that's not Apple silicon native into a native program at install time. What does this mean? It means that essentially, code isn't going to be emulated. It'll be translated and then saved to be run again at full speed.

I watched the KeyNote and they were using the full Final Cut Pro and even that was running at full speed working with full 4K HDR video footage without skipping a beat.

I hate to sound like an Apple fanboy here, but I think they nailed it.
Posted on Reply
#18
rvalencia
trparky
Whoa. Wait. According to the Apple KeyNote, Rosetta 2 will translate the program that's not Apple silicon native into a native program at install time. What does this mean? It means that essentially, code isn't going to be emulated. It'll be translated and then saved to be run again at full speed.

I watched the KeyNote and they were using the full Final Cut Pro and even that was running at full speed working with full 4K HDR video footage without skipping a beat.

I hate to sound like an Apple fanboy here, but I think they nailed it.
H.264 and H.265 can be hardware accelerated regardless of CPU ISA.
Posted on Reply
#19
steve360
So Macbooks from 2021 are going to be effectively glorified iPads with permanently attached keyboards.

Yawn.
Posted on Reply
#20
Buftor
Competing with Intel and AMD is a huge achievement for Apple R&D. Too bad that their greediness will make this technology within the reach of very few.
Posted on Reply
#21
GoldenX
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse: Macbook Pro, 2000 USD with an ARM CPU and a mobile GPU...
Oh, and "Metal Only".
Posted on Reply
#22
londiste
trparky
Whoa. Wait. According to the Apple KeyNote, Rosetta 2 will translate the program that's not Apple silicon native into a native program at install time. What does this mean? It means that essentially, code isn't going to be emulated. It'll be translated and then saved to be run again at full speed.
Rosetta was used for PowerPC > x86 transition last time.
Posted on Reply
#23
watzupken
This official announcement is going to hurt Intel. They have been consistently losing business to ARM and AMD over the years. I suspect Apple is paying top dollars for customized chips from them and this is not good news for Intel, despite the fact this should not be something new to Intel since a couple of years back.

While I don't disagree that Apple's ecosystem is a high walled garden, it is also this walled garden that allows them to pull this sort of transition a lot easier than their competitors. With developers onboard with Apple's transition because its lucrative with a user base that tend to spend on apps/ games, this will also aid the transition.
Posted on Reply
#24
R0H1T
Fouquin
Well you are free to think that but I've heard from more than one person behind the scenes that it's not dying soon.
Well you said extended support till about 2030, not dying soon & 10 years are almost worlds apart. Not getting into the Mac ecosystem now, on the back of x86 & Hackintosh, is what I'm stressing.
rvalencia
Incoming US supercomputers
Frontier project, Cray's AMD fusion solution has 1.5 ExaFLOPS (2021) with PCIe 4.0 lanes.
Aurora project, Intel's fusion solution has 1 ExaFLOPS (2021).

Fujitsu’s Fugaku ARM SoC has PCIe 3.0 lanes. A64FX has 512 bit SIMD support.

Sometime in 2020, AMD's CDNA Radeon Instinct includes Tensor cores.
Yes & how does that relate to what I posted? My point was/is that many posters here think that x86 being CISC is somehow inherently superior to (RISC) ARM ~ which of course isn't the case. Then there's the other absurd theory that ARM is suited only for mobile or low power computing, & you have the world's fastest super computer being powered by ARM, so that one goes out for a toss as well.
Posted on Reply
#25
Fourstaff
watzupken
This official announcement is going to hurt Intel. They have been consistently losing business to ARM and AMD over the years. I suspect Apple is paying top dollars for customized chips from them and this is not good news for Intel, despite the fact this should not be something new to Intel since a couple of years back.

While I don't disagree that Apple's ecosystem is a high walled garden, it is also this walled garden that allows them to pull this sort of transition a lot easier than their competitors. With developers onboard with Apple's transition because its lucrative with a user base that tend to spend on apps/ games, this will also aid the transition.
As of 6 months, ago, Intel was capacity limited: newsroom.intel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2019/11/intel-supply-letter-customers.pdf

I don't think the impact will be too massive.
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