Apple has been developing its own chips for its iPhones and iPads for years – now the processors are also coming into Mac computers. Software developers will have to adapt.
Apple is converting its Mac computers from Intel processors to chips it has developed itself. This means that future Apple computers will run on the same technical platform as the iPhones and iPad tablets. The first Macs with the new chip architecture should come on the market at the end of the year, announced CEO Tim Cook at the developer conference WWDC, which will take place completely online this year due to the corona crisis.
Large software providers such as Microsoft (Office) or Adobe (Photoshop) are already working on customized versions of their programs, emphasized software boss Craig Federighi. Apple expects the transition to take two years, Cook said. At the same time, Macs with Intel chips will continue to be supported – and new devices with processors from the semiconductor group are also planned.
There has been speculation for a long time about the replacement of Intel semiconductors with chips from Apple. The Mac manufacturer developed very powerful proprietary processors for its mobile devices. The architecture of the chip designer ARM serves as a model.
Mac apps designed for iPhone and iPad
Up to now, however, chips from Intel with the so-called x86 architecture have been used in Apple’s notebooks and desktop computers – as is mostly the case in the PC industry. This ensured the compatibility of applications across the platforms. Now software that is tailored for x86 chips should be easily converted during installation so that it also runs on the new Macs. Federighi emphasized that he assumed that users would not have to do without apps right from the start. In addition, the apps developed for the iPhone and iPad can run on Macs.
ARM processors are generally considered to be more energy efficient than x86 chips, which is particularly relevant for laptops and smaller notebooks. In recent years, there have been increasing indications that Apple had to slow down the renewal of its Mac product range due to the later availability of new Intel processors.
The Macs have a share of just ten percent in the PC market. This means that the loss of business for Intel can be borne financially. However, it could be a blow to the reputation of the chip giant that previously dominated the PC business. For the Macs, this is the third change in the chip platform after the transition from Motorola to IBM’s PowerPC in the early 1990s and to Intel in 2005.
With the new iOS 14 operating system, Apple has given iPhone users the opportunity to redesign their home screens with additional functions for the first time since their market launch in 2007. In addition to the usual app icons, iOS 14 will also be able to place larger so-called widgets, in which some information from some applications can be displayed – for example, news, weather or navigation. On the Google Android operating system, widgets have been part of everyday user life for years.
iPhone as a car key
Another innovation is “App Clips” – the possibility to use individual functions of an application without having to download it completely. For example, you could quickly buy something from a coffee chain or get additional information in a shop. Google tried something similar on Android a few years ago, but the idea didn’t catch on.
First of all, with the new BMW 5 Series, you will also be able to use an iPhone as a car key. The NFC radio chip is used for this, which is also used for contactless payment. The digital key to a car can also be passed on to others via Apple’s iMessage chat service, with restrictions of validity and individual functions. The car key function should also be activated for the current iOS 13.
With the new iOS, Apple is also daring a little more direct competition with Google. The voice assistant Siri should be able to answer more knowledge questions than before, and the iPhones will also have a translation app. At the start there are eleven languages, including German. Android and iOS, the only two relevant smartphone systems, keep following the individual functions. Android recently borrowed the operating gestures from iOS.
The map app also receives navigation instructions for cyclists – but initially only in a few cities. Routes for electric vehicles can also be customized. The Apple cards, which have been redesigned from scratch with their own data, will also be available for the United States, Great Britain, Ireland and Canada, with other countries to follow later.
More variety on the Apple Watch
There are several important innovations in dealing with data. Apple will soon show in the App Store which data an application collects and with whom it is shared. In addition, existing accounts for apps and online services will be switched to login with Apple, where the group can hide the email address if desired.
On the Apple Watch computer watch, there will be more variety and setting options for the dials and “complications” with individual app functions. Eventually she will also be able to measure sleep quality. In keeping with the Corona crisis, the watch will automatically recognize that someone is washing their hands and display a countdown so that the user does not stop too early.
Airpods earphones will be able to switch automatically between a user’s Apple devices in the future. The more expensive AirPods Pro also get spatial sound that is usually known from surround systems, for example in the cinema. Apple, like some other hi-fi specialists, uses software algorithms to create the 3D experience with just two headphone speakers.
In the networked home, security cameras and camera doorbells that are compatible with Apple’s Homekit platform are given a face recognition function. It can retrieve familiar faces from Apple’s photo app. When a user watches a movie on an Apple TV box, the bell will display their picture in a corner of the TV.