Apple recently announced that its products would eventually not be Intel processors. Instead, future devices will feature a custom ARM chip based on a future Apple processor architecture. Apple offers that consumers will experience better performance and battery life, and that there will be greater compatibility between Apple’s various lines of devices. Additionally, Apple made statements that every upcoming macOS Big Sur app will work with this new custom silicon from Apple. It’s also important to note that this will likely also be a cost-saving measure for Apple, adding to the bottom line.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in his WWDC comment, this transition at Apple will occur over a two-year period. Apple’s first consumer products with an ARM processor will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a new 24-inch iMac, and they will actually launch this year. The first Apple device with ARM, a device similar to the Mac Mini, will be available on loan to app developers this week.
Several tech journalists believe Apple has set the death sentence for its own Intel-based products. Apple’s current line of Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs will certainly continue to work, but journalists are especially concerned that these devices are no longer supported. Brooke Crothers, Technology Contributor at ForbesHe commented: “There is little incentive for Apple to optimize in the future, that is, less need to ensure that Intel processors run smoothly and efficiently on macOS.” Users will constantly ask themselves if a problem with their device is due to Apple’s lack of support.
Apple has not stated that they will stop providing support, but it is certainly a fear. As Crothers noted, “Only that doubt kills the deal.” At least, Intel-based devices will no longer be your primary focus. Gordon Mah Ung, the executive editor of PC world He noted: “… optimizations will not flow as fast as it will be a legacy platform.”
These fears are not unwarranted. Apple transitioned from PowerPC to Intel-based systems in 2006. Apple continued to support the PowerPC architecture through the release of Leopard (OSX 10.5) in 2007, but did not provide support when they released Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6), leaving legacy users in the lurch. And without a doubt, Apple’s record in situations like this is not very good.
What you think Hothardware readers? Is a device like a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air worth investing in right now, when Apple will one day leave them behind? Are you worried that Apple will stop supporting these devices, or do you think Cupertino will endorse its products in the long term? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.