- Apple announced that it's going to start
making its own custom-designed chips
for the Mac at WWDC 2020.
- Were announcing that the Mac is transitioning
to our own Apple Silicon.
- It's only the second time ever
that Apple's made a shift like this.
The last one was when it shifts from PowerPC chips
to Intel chips in 2005, and it was a big change.
It made Macs more like PCs,
so much so that those Macs could even run Windows.
But this change is very different,
and it's gonna make your Macs a whole lot more
like an iPhone instead.
Apple may be new to making Mac chips,
but it's actually been making processors
for a really long time.
It's actually one of the biggest advantages
to Apple's process.
Ever since the iPhone 4 and the iPad a decade ago,
Apple makes the software, Apple makes the hardware
and Apple makes the chips that it all runs on.
Every part of the process is under Apple's control,
and now Apple's potentially poised
to bring those same benefits to the Mac.
Apple's complete control over its devices
is why your iPhone can get updates
years after Android manufacturers have given up on support,
or why your iPhone can feel so snappy
even though it has far less RAM and system resources
than an Android flagship.
Apple gets to custom design its chips
for each of its devices instead of relying
on the same Snapdragon processor
that every other flagship's using.
Compare it to something like the Google Pixel
and the benefits of Apple's approach are clear.
Google makes Android, and it can do incredible things
on the software side like the amazing AI camera stuff,
but it's struggled for years
just getting the hardware right.
Or look at Samsung, which is an expert at hardware design,
but it's struggled with software
and its weird Android add-ons for years.
One analyst even estimates that Apple
spends four times as much on built-to-order parts
for its iPhones than it did just five years ago.
In other words, today's iPhones
are more uniquely Apple than ever before.
The switch to ARM, which the company refers to
as Apple Silicon, marks the third
major platform shift for the Mac.
The last one was in 2005 when Apple switched to Intel chips,
which then-CEO Steve Jobs explained at the time
as being for a very simple reason.
- We are gonna begin the transition
from the PowerPC to Intel processors.
Why are we gonna do this?
Because we wanna be making the best computers
for our customer looking forward.
- PowerPC just couldn't keep up with Apple's ambitions
of smaller, faster and longer-lasting computers.
It's easy to see the impact that those Intel chips brought:
new designs like the MacBook, the MacBook Pro
and the ultrathin MacBook Air,
which have come to define a generation of laptops
over the last 15 years.
And the switch to ARM promises
even better power consumption than Intel,
which means that we could have a similar jump forward
for even thinner and lighter designs
with better battery life than ever before.
There are other benefits too.
Apple won't have to rely on Intel's roadmap
for new chip designs, something that's seen delays
that have slowed down the entire computing world
over the past few years.
And by not having to rely on a third party for chips,
Apple can cut down on its costs for those processors
by up to 40-60%, although knowing Apple,
I wouldn't get your hopes up that you'll see those savings
passed on to the price of your next Mac.
While all that sounds great,
there's still a big elephant in the room
when it comes to the ARM transition:
how fast are Apple's ARM chips actually gonna be?
And the answer's unfortunately: we don't know.
Apple's made some big promises here,
claiming that its chips will offer better performance
and lower power consumption than Intel's,
across both desktops and laptops.
And there are rumors of a 12-core chip in the works
that would be vastly more powerful
than Apple's best chip right now,
the A12Z, which powers both the iPad Pro
and Apple's own original ARM developer kits.
But Apple makes a lot of different types of Macs,
and ARM computing is a relatively new field
when it comes to building desktops and laptop computers.
The most powerful devices we've seen
are tablets like the iPad Pro
or early laptops like the Galaxy Book S
or Microsoft's Surface X.
No one's actually made even a high-powered laptop
powered by ARM chips, to say nothing of desktops
like the iMac or a full-fledged professional device
like a MacBook Pro or the Mac Pro.
There's also the issue of software.
A new platform means that developers
are gonna have to port their apps over
or rely on Apple's Rosetta emulation software,
and much like that Intel transition in 2005,
things are probably gonna be rocky for a bit.
A lot of these questions are still unanswered.
We don't know how well Rosetta 2 is going to work
and some developers might just not port their apps at all.
You only need to look at the Surface X
to see that transitioning from x86 to ARM
can lead to big issues with app support.
I'll let Dieter explain more about that.
- (sighs) So let's talk about apps.
So the apps that run best on the SQ1
are the ones that have been compiled to ARM64.
That means they're 64 bit and that they've been designed
to run on this chip.
Those apps are fast and they don't
hurt your battery life much,
and they are pretty rare, actually.
There are a bunch of Windows apps,
and especially the newest and most powerful Windows apps,
that are 64 bit but designed to work for x86 and not ARM,
and they don't run at all.
I'm also talking about games.
Games are a full-on nonstarter.
I don't mean that they're slow.
I mean they literally don't start.
So here's a game that I love, it's called "Into the Breach,"
and it's a disaster.
What is happening on the screen here?
Well, okay. You can play "Angry Birds 2".
See, everybody has that one app that they need,
and mine's Lightroom, and you have to do a ton of research
to figure out if your app actually works on this computer.
There's no list that you can just go look it up on.
I will give Microsoft some credit
for making an ARM machine that's fast enough
and that runs real Windows 10 instead of RT
or Windows S or whatever.
And again, this is one of the best-looking computers around.
But the apps are not ready yet.
- With all that uncertainty,
there are a couple of good signs though.
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president
of software engineering, says that he expects
that most developers will be able to get their apps
up and running within a couple of days.
And during the keynote, Apple demoed several key apps
already running on ARM.
- So of course, when we updated our apps for Big Sur,
we built everything as native for Apple Silicon.
Some of the biggest Mac developers
have already gotten started.
Let's take a look at Word.
Here's Lightroom running native on Apple Silicon.
Here's a five-gigabyte Photoshop file.
Final Cut Pro.
Here it is running on Apple Silicon for the first time.
- Plus, Apple has a major ace up its sleeve
that neither the 2005 Intel transition or Microsoft had:
Developers have been building iPhone
and iPad apps for years,
and all of those apps will run natively
on the ARM Macs on day one,
which means that Apple will have a huge back catalog
of apps ready to go from the start
and tons of developers that are already experienced
at writing software for Apple's devices that run on ARM.
- That means that there's millions of applications
that are gonna be available for these machines
that were never available before.
- [Chaim] That's Mark Bessey,
a former software engineer at Apple.
He's been developing Mac software for years,
and actually worked on the original
PowerPC-to-Intel transition back in 2005.
- From the transition standpoint,
that's actually good new, right?
If I have an app that I depend on
and it doesn't get converted right away,
but they also have an iOS version of the same app
then I'm okay, right?
It may not be the best experience, but it's a solution.
- Some things won't be the same.
It's hard to imagine PC game manufacturers
porting their games over to an entirely new platform
when they're building their games to run on Intel.
But you will get tons of iPhone games.
And similarly, Boot Camp,
to let you run Windows on your Mac,
is totally out the window,
at least based on what Apple and Microsoft have said so far.
But we'll also probably start to see
new and different types of apps,
apps that are more suited to the new platform,
and coincidentally look a whole lot more
like iPhone and iPad apps than ever before.
We've already started to see this transition
with last year's introduction of Catalyst apps,
which allowed developers to combine elements
of their iPad and iPhone apps into Mac apps.
- And I think for developers,
it also makes the Catalyst solution
kind of a really compelling idea, right?
Like oh, yeah, we have these two code bases,
one for iOS and one for Mac,
but really they're about 90% the same,
and maybe we just build one app
and we add just enough Mac-like stuff to the iPad version,
so it has menus and separate windows
and supports full screen mode and all of that,
and then we just have one code base.
To me, the transition to ARM means that the Mac
is actually a much safer bet now,
and it's probably more likely that people
will make Mac applications than it has been
in at least the last five years.
- And we're only gonna see more of that as time goes on,
apps that blur the line between Mac app and iPad app
as the two platforms come closer and closer
and closer together over time.
So between the new ARM chips and the new software changes
that are coming with macOS 11, Big Sur,
it's an exciting time for the future of the Mac,
one that will likely see Apple's laptops and desktops
start to look more like its mobile devices than ever before.
And who knows, the changes might not just stop
at chips and software.
We could start to see some of the hardware innovations
from those mobile devices start to make their way
over to computers, too.
I'm talking about a touchscreen Mac,
and with all the other major changes coming to the Mac,
Thanks so much for watching.
If you wanna find more about Apple's announcements,
check out Dieter's new processor video
diving into the new stuff in iOS 14.
And keep it locked here to The Verge.
We'll have tons more on all the Apple news from WWDC,
all the new software, the new hardware,
in the months to come.