As I’m sure you’ve heard at WWDC Apple announced it’s move away from Intel CPUs to their own proprietary processor that it’s already using in it’s iPhones and iPads. It’s a rumor we’ve been hearing for a while since Intel’s performance increase over the last few years has been incremental. After hearing their plan I have a few take a ways and reasons why I think this might be the best move for Apple after considering some industry trends.
This isn’t the first time that Apple will be making a massive platform shift, in 1990 they went with PowerPC CPUs instead of Intel. This is the reason Macs were niche products, nothing really worked on them. In 2005 they switched to Intel an ecosystem that had scale which they leveraged. 15 years later Apple is looking to scale up again, this time on the back of their world class chip team.
Today, smartphones are a far bigger market than notebooks and Apple’s CPU team is ahead of the competition. Creating your own silicon customized to your software is a massive advantage, there is a reason why Microsoft is also doing Surface Edition Chips and Huawei pushed for their own processors.
Later this year when the first Macs are launching running the new chips existing apps should work fine. Apple has been pushing this one OS concept for a year now and most apps will just take a day or two to convert.
It will take years to get everything moved over.
The big difference is that Adobe and Microsoft like most software providers, have switched to a subscription service. Users pay to be up to date. Last time you had to buy a new version of the software to help cover their costs for converting the program. This more recent business model will speed up the shift.
A year ago Apple started working with developers through an the Catalyst API that helped to convert iOS apps the run on Macs. Since these apps were already running on Apple’s chips, they’ll be unphased. Making this leap last year significantly improves the user experience this year.
The new mac should come with touch
Since many of these iOS apps didn’t work very well on Macs because they lack a touch screen, the new macs will likely come with touch. They’ve been merging iOS into the Mac: in the future almost all Mac apps will be iOS or Catalyst and have the same sandboxed security as iOS.
The industry trend that Apple is playing perfectly is that the future of software is web based. People can use Google, Facebook, WeChat on iOS devices, as long as their web services remain un disrupted most people won’t care.
Apple started this move a year ago. If we look back at how they succeeded with the iPhone, they initially didn’t launch it with 3G. This gave developers the time to build for the platform before people had to rely on it fully. Apple is repeating this pattern today, and the business models of the software ecosystem today are ready to support them.