After years of cooperation, Apple says goodbye to Intel. The company will develop its own Mac chips. But what exactly is that, and what changes for you? In this article, you can read everything you need to know about Apple Silicon FAQ.
FAQ Apple Silicon: Questions and Answers about Apple’s Own Chip
Earlier this year during WWDC 2020, Apple made a historic announcement: the company will now make its own Mac processors. The so-called Apple Silicon chip will have major consequences for the future of the Mac. In this article, we answer the most important questions about Apple Silicon.
- What is Apple Silicon?
- What are the benefits?
- Will my apps still work?
- How is the cooperation between Apple and Intel?
- When will the chip come out?
- What is our purchase advice?
1. What is Apple Silicon?
Apple Silicon is Apple’s own chip for the Mac. After the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, it is now time for Apple’s laptops and desktops to also run on an Apple processor. This ends the fifteen-year collaboration between Apple and Intel, which until now always supplied the processors for Macs.
Just like the A14 chip in the iPhone 12, you can think of the Silicon chip as the beating heart of a MacBook or iMac. By producing this completely in-house, this chip can perfectly connect to the software of the Mac, which has the necessary advantages.
2. Why is Apple going to make its own chips?
It is of course not for nothing that Apple switches to its own processors. Unlike Intel, Apple makes the chip purely for the iMac and MacBook, and that brings the necessary benefits. You will notice this in the first place due to the higher speed. Macs will become even more powerful with this new chip.
This boost in performance also ensures that Macs with Apple Silicon can better handle demanding applications, such as major games and video editors. Despite this increased power, the chip is extra energy efficient. This should ensure a longer battery life of MacBooks, without having to put a larger battery in the device.
Apple is also taking another important step in the field of security. With the company overseeing the manufacturing and development of the chip from start to finish, the risk of security vulnerabilities should be reduced.
macOS Big Sur was created with chip technology in mind – the big 2020 update to the macOS operating system. The standard programs in Big Sur can therefore immediately benefit from the speed boost that the chip brings.
3. Will all my apps still work if I switch to Apple Silicon?
According to Apple, the switch to its own chip is not a big step for developers. They can (according to Apple) convert their apps from Intel to Silicon in just a few days. But even if apps are not custom-made, it is still possible to run these apps on new Macs by means of a software trick.
Finally, Apple Silicon makes it possible to run universal apps. This is especially good news for app developers, as they only have to create one app for different Apple devices. For example, an email app on the iPad also works on your Mac.
In the background, the equipment all run on the same processor technology. The new chip will therefore make it much easier for developers to release an app on iOS, iPadOS, macOS and watchOS. This also makes maintaining apps easier.
4. What about the cooperation between Apple and Intel?
Now that the word is out and Apple is finally switching to its own chips, the collaboration between Apple and Intel is also different. Years ago, Apple designed the Thunderbolt connection together with Intel. Although the company is saying goodbye to Intel’s chips, the two companies are still working together.
Earlier this year it was announced that the new Macs with their own chip will still be equipped with the Thunderbolt USB-c connection. That’s good news, as many users have bought a lot of Thunderbolt accessories over the years.
Apple chose this because users are still satisfied with the speed and flexibility of the Thunderbolt connection. The news came together with the unveiling of the new Thunderbolt 4. The successor uses the same connection and is not faster, but according to Intel, it is more stable.
5. When will the new chip be released?
The first Mac with its own Apple Silicon chip will most likely be announced at Apple’s November event on November 10. There are rumours about a new MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, the iMac will continue to run on Intel for the time being.
However, that doesn’t mean that all Macs will run on this processor from that point on. It is expected to take about two years before all-new Apple computers are equipped with their own chips.
6. Can you now buy a MacBook that will last for years?
Yes and no. If you are planning to buy a new MacBook, it is good to be aware of the pros and cons of MacBooks with Intel chips and the new Apple Silicon chip.
Apple just released Macs this year that run on Intel chips. They will also be supported for years with new macOS updates. Buying a Mac with an Intel processor now also ensures that existing apps run properly. Yet at the same time, you run the risk that in a while some new apps will not work on it.
MacBooks with Apple Silicon can run iOS apps on the Mac, while Macs with an Intel processor cannot. Yet it is true that the transition period to a new chip is likely to cause a number of teething problems. Years ago, when Apple released its first Mac with an Intel chip, it didn’t go smoothly either. For example, bugs caused poor performance and apps that suddenly stopped working.
In that sense, it may be good to buy a MacBook with an Intel chip right now. That way you can have a look at how the first MacBooks with Apple Silicon will do. Moreover, as mentioned, you can assume that Apple will support all its MacBooks with updates for years to come, regardless of whether they run on a chip from Intel or Apple itself. However, the future of the Mac does not lie with Intel.