Following the announcement at WWDC, Apple’s move from Intel to ARM in the next two years offers Tim Cook and his team the opportunity to reshape the Mac platform with new architecture, new code, and new practices.
One of the first visible steps is to remove Boot Camp and reduce the flexibility of Mac hardware. Apple believes that users shouldn’t worry, but what’s good for Apple isn’t always good for developers or consumers.
We’ve seen this recently with Basecamp’s Hey email app and the issues you’re having in navigating Apple’s app store policies, especially around the functionality of the app Apple wanted to see and Basecamp’s use of a non-Apple external payment service (where Apple collects thirty percent of revenue).
This was a high-profile case, but not a one-time case. Apple has set its own rules for entering the App Store, from earning revenue through functionality to the look and feel of its apps. And the App Store is the only way to reach and interact with Apple’s customer base (something that is under antitrust investigation by the EU Commission),
That contrasts with the Mac platform.
Yes, there is a Mac App Store where developers can submit their applications to the Apple ecosystem … but the Mac platform is much more open to load applications from other sources, it is much more open to different payment systems and it is much more open to make different decisions that Apple would make.
As Tim Cook continues to redefine what it means to be a Mac, one of the most notable influences is the iPad. The iPad Pro has not only moved into the spirit of a MacBook with the launch of a Magic Keyboard and a touchpad for the tablet, but the MacOS and iPadOS user interface is increasingly similar.
The closed system of mobile devices is still something that Apple is especially proud of. As the Mac platform moves to ARM and the expected launch of the first MacBook Pro with ARM later this year, will Apple take this opportunity to follow the iPhone and iPad on this path?
Apple may never complete that journey, but it has already taken steps down that path, with the latest happening during WWDC last week. Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp will not be available on Mac ARM machines. When these computers arrive, they will not support Bootcamp. This is the software that allows alternative operating systems to run on Mac hardware. Instead, the only route will be to use virtual machines running within MacOS. Tom Warren for The Verge:
“Apple later confirmed that it does not plan to support Boot Camp on ARM-based Macs in a Daring Fireball podcast.” We are not directly starting an alternative operating system, “says Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.” Virtualization it’s purely the route. These hypervisors can be very efficient, so the need to start directly shouldn’t be the concern. ” “
Boot Camp is a vital tool for many, and Apple’s guarantees of “shouldn’t really be a concern” will be welcome if you are explicitly using your Mac the way Apple intended. But that is not everyone. The Mac platform, especially, among others, the ‘Pro’ class, are workhorse machines with specific needs. Apple’s drive toward its future could easily drive those users off the platform, just as the move from 32-bit to 64-bit was easy for most, but a critical business mistake for others.
MacOS confirmation for ARM is yet to take a week, but Apple is already removing a key feature. The change clearly benefits Apple and gives Apple more control over the platform.
Is this the only move that Apple will make? The background music for MacOS is that “things are changing” and in the case of Apple’s software policies on Hey, “these app store rules are fixed.” It remains to be seen to what extent Apple will ‘lock’ MacOS. Will it stay long as it is, or will Tim Cook and his team move toward the business model that has proven successful on the iPhone and iPad?
Now read more about the latest cooling issues on MacBook Air …