Apple announced on Monday that it is moving to its own ARM-powered silicon chips for some of its Mac computers, ending its dependence on Intel to supply processors for its flagship desktops and laptops.
At the firm's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), which was held virtually, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the first Macs with Apple chips would arrive by the end of the year. The company expects the full transition from Intel to Apple chips to complete in about two years.
Apple is promising superior battery life and new levels of performance with its move to in-house processors.
The company currently uses ARM-based processors in its iPhones and iPads. The decision to use its own silicon chips in Macs is the latest sign of the growing desire of big tech firms to cut their dependence on other vendors for hardware requirements.
Moving to its own chips will also enable Apple to have greater control over its software and hardware, in the same way it has with iPhone and iPad. Moreover, Apple can also optimise its own processors for whatever it wants Mac computers to be able to do.
"Silicon is at the heart of our hardware," Cook said during his keynote address WWDC.
"Having a world class silicon design team is a game changer."
Cook added that Apple still has some Intel-based machines in its pipeline that the company will support for "many years". Apple made its last big CPU migration in 2006, when it shifted from PowerPC processors to Intel x86 processors. However, Apple continued to support PowerPC processors for next seven years.
Apple says it will update its own pro apps to support the new processors in macOS Big Sur, and also expects developers to update their apps quickly. Developers can use Xcode 12, which will provide them all the tools to update their apps.
"The vast majority of developers can get their apps up and running in a matter of days," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering.
Apple also wants to ensure that all existing apps can work perfectly on Apple silicon-based Macs. It'll do that through Rosetta 2, which is designed to automatically translate code as necessary on the fly. That means even if an app has not been fully updated by its developer, it should still work without modification.
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