The great unification of iOS and macOS is now underway. By the close of the year, you’ll be able to run all current iOS applications on Apple Silicon MacBooks…
Apple’s big switcharoo to ARM-based silicon for its MacBooks and iMacs, confirmed earlier this year at WWDC 2020, is one of the biggest shake-ups to take place inside Apple’s computer ecosystem in over a decade.
Tim Cook says it will take two years before ALL Mac computers are running on Apple Silicon. But it is Apple’s legion of developers that will help smooth over the initial transition, beginning before the close of 2020 with the arrival of the first Apple Silicon-powered MacBooks.
And The Reason is Xcode…
Apple has hundreds of thousands of developers, and they all use Xcode, so switching their apps over to ARM is as straight forward as updating them for a new version of iOS or macOS.
This is the key. It is also something that gives Apple a massive advantage over Microsoft, a company that has also begun using ARM-based silicon inside some of its machines – like the Surface Pro X.
“Everybody uses Xcode now. There are no other developer environments that have any traction now in Mac development,” said Mark Bessey, speaking to The Verge. Bessey is a long-time Apple developer.
Apple’s advantage, however, is born from the sheer popularity of its iPhone. The App Store has hundreds of thousands of quality applications, and all of these applications can be easily ported over to Apple Silicon. In fact, the process has already started.
This means that once Apple’s first Apple Silicon machines land at the end of the year, users will have access to a raft of applications and content. Apple’s iPhone and Mac platforms will be one and the same. Unified. And this opens the doors to some truly amazing possibilities for developers and users alike.
For instance, a developer will now be able to make an app for iPhone but also deploy it on Apple Silicon too, as well as iPad. The app would then run seamlessly between all devices. Scale this process up and it is easy to see why Apple is so keen on switching over to its own custom silicon – the ecosystem advantages are enormous.
Universal Apps – AKA The Holy Grail…
Prior to the announcement of Apple Silicon, iPhone developers and Mac developers were effectively two distinct tribes. But with Apple Silicon, the two platforms will no longer have borders and this, according to market commentary, as well as basic common sense, is obviously a pretty big deal. You now have the framework for true universal applications.
You could develop an app for iPhone and then add some tweaks and extended features to it for when it is used on Apple Silicon machines. Apple’s app store, apparently, will help with the organization of Apple Silicon apps and standard macOS applications. Eventually, though, all applications for iPhone and macOS will be the same and run on either platform seamlessly.
Battery life of Macbook Air with Apple Silicon will be 19 hours.
— Sherlock Lau (@liuz1226) July 20, 2020
Could all of the above help Apple pull off what Microsoft failed to do with its Surface Pro X machine? It’s really starting to look that way. The Surface Pro X was a beautiful machine with plenty of power under the hood, but it lacked core applications.
Apple’s approach to ARM-based chips solves this issue entirely. When the first Apple Silicon MacBook lands at the end of the year, Apple’s developers will already have created and/or ported over a load of applications from iOS and macOS, giving the first early-adopters access to potentially tens of thousands of applications.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the first Apple Silicon MacBook. I can’t wait to see how Apple changes the design. Who knows, we might even a MacBook with a touchscreen? ARM chips run cooler, so whatever happens, we know that the first run of Apple Silicon-powered MacBooks will be ultra-thin and very lightweight.
The end of 2020 cannot come fast enough!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.