Apple is moving away from using Intel chips in its Macs – not outright thought but in a staged manner. The company suggests that the whole transition will take around two years – giving developers time to bring their apps to the new platform.
The first operating system to support ARM Macs will of course be macOS Big Sur which was unveiled at WWDC. Apple also redesigned Xcode with its twelfth release and also introduced new technologies for developers to port their apps to the new Mac platform.
In its press release, Apple noted that the transition to custom ARM chips (Apple silicon) will unify its products. The company notes that a common architecture for all Apple products will help developers improve their development efficiency.
The ARM architecture will also help developers bring their iOS and iPadOS apps to the Mac without any reworks. With macOS Big Sur, Apple is also improving Catalyst – the framework that enables iPad apps to be pushed to Mac – by offering a more native Mac experience.
Apple emphasized heavily on macOS Big Sur which brings tons of new tools for developers. Xcode 12 has inbuilt native compilers, debugging tools, and editors – a set of tools that, according to Apple, will allow developers to have their new apps ready in “a matter of days”.
However, some developers may not be able to move their apps to the new platform or the development of some apps may have been completely halted, in that case, Apple will use Rosetta 2 – its emulation software to run apps created for the Intel platform on Apple silicon Macs.
Apple has begun shipping its Developer Transition Kit (DTK) which is basically a Mac Mini with iPad Pro’s A12Z processor. The DTK packs 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD, and of course comes with macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12 pre-installed.