It’s Official: The Mac Is Transitioning to Apple-Made Silicon

It’s Official: The Mac Is Transitioning to Apple-Made Silicon
Image: Apple

Apple officially announced that it will move away using Intel processors in its computers to its own custom-designed chips, and it says those processors will be faster than Intel’s and consume less power. The company is designing a family of SoCs for their Mac product line, so there will be a common architecture across all product lines, from iOS to Mac.

All of Apple’s apps on Big Sur will run on Apple’s custom chips, too. Microsoft will make Office work on Apple’s custom ARM processors, and Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro will also run on Apple silicon. “Most apps will just work with no changes from developers,” said Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc.

Big Sur will also include Rosetta 2, which will automatically translate existing Mac apps that haven’t been updated for Apple’s ARM chip. It will also be able to translate games, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, to run on MacOS Big Sur. It won’t look as nice as on a dedicated GPU, but it still looks pretty nice on an integrated GPU at 1080p.

Historically, gaming and Macs have not been synonymous for many reasons, but it’s largely come down to the software. While many games are available on macOS, big releases are prioritised for Windows OS and console, and many don’t see a Mac release. If Rosetta 2 works the way Apple says (and showed) it does, then it will make Mac computers more gaming-accessible.

This is kind of a big deal, especially since Apple is including AMD GPUs with its laptops and desktops. So if Rosetta 2 can make Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a resource-heavy game, run smoothly on its own CPU and integrated GPU, then it should look even better with a dedicated AMD graphics card. Combined with Apples claims of better performance and power efficiency than Intel processors…Intel, AMD, and every other PC OEM could finally be challenged in the gaming realm by Apple.