wwdc 2020 Gadgets

Apple introduces Apple Silicon processor. Is this goodbye to Intel?

Back-end innovations to the Mac are at the centre of the #WWDC20 keynote as Tim Cook announces Apple Silicon, a new ARM-powered processor

“It’s a historic day for the Mac,” announces Tim Cook towards the end of the Worldwide Developer Conference 2020 (WWDC20) keynote event. “From the very beginning, Mac redefined the entire computer industry; the Mac has always been about innovation and pushing things forward.”

The Mac, explains Cook, has had three major transitions in its history: the move to PowerPC, the transition to macOS X, and the move to Intel. That said, a new lease of life on the Mac reveals a transition to Apple Silicon, its own ARM-powered silicon in the Macs in the future.

Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, says building and refining Apple Silicon for about a decade, adding, “The result is a scalable architecture that is custom-designed for our products.” The idea is that Apple products generates greater performance per watt. It started with the iPhone’s chipsets, from A4 to A13, and then iPad’s A5X to A12X, and then Apple Watch’s S5.

Srouji explains that to talk about performance, one must talk about power because all systems built today are constrained by power consumption, thermals, or both. Desktops, for example, deliver the highest performance but consume the most amount of power.

Apple introduces Apple Silicon processor. Is this goodbye to Intel?

So Apple Silicon will give the Mac industry-leading performance per watt and higher performance GPUs — enabling app developers to write even more powerful pro apps and high-end games. And access to technologies such as the Neural Engine will make the Mac an ideal platform for developers to use Machine Learning.

So what does this mean for Mac?

Developers, as part of the WWDC 2020 celebrations, will be able to get access to a Developer Transition Kit which comprises a Mac mini enclosure with Apple’s A12Z chip, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Notably, macOS Big Sur will facilitate this transition to a considerable extent. With everything built into Xcode 12, such as native compilers, editors, and debugging tools, most developers will be able to get their apps running in a matter of days. Using Universal 2 application binaries, developers will be able to easily create a single app that taps into the native power and performance of the new Macs with Apple silicon, while still supporting Intel-based Macs.

 

With the translation technology of Rosetta 2, users will be able to run existing Mac apps that have not yet been updated, including those with plug-ins. Virtualisation technology allows users to run Linux. Developers can also make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

This will also create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimise software for the entire Apple ecosystem.

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple Silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 3:15:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/wwdc-what-is-apple-silicon-new-processors-for-mac/article31894495.ece

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