Wired: Apple’s Intel breakup will reshape Macs—and beyond

Brian Barrett, Wired:

Apple outlined several failsafes to ensure as few bumps along that road as possible. It will ship Rosetta 2, an emulator that will let ARM-based Macs run Intel software from any lagging developers. It will allow for virtualization of Linux, although Apple has been mum as to whether Macs will continue to be able to load Windows through Boot Camp or virtualization software. Most intriguingly—and unexpectedly—iPhone and iPad apps will be able to run natively on a Mac.

And, on the Roseta 2 emulator:

“It translates the apps when you install them so they can launch immediately and be instantly responsive,” said Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi during Monday’s keynote. “Rosetta 2 can also can also translate code on the fly when needed, like web browsing. It even handles the most complex pro apps and their plug-ins.”


There’s also a question of at what point certain apps, in particular those that aren’t actively maintained, simply stop working on ARM-based Macs.

Terrific article. I’ve been watching developers download and install macOS 11 Big Sur (yes, it’s macOS 11), then jump through the hoops to build ARM versions of their existing apps. Without the actual Mac mini Developer Transition Kit in hand, hard to know if the ported apps actually work, but (grain of salt) assuming the ports do work on ARM hardware, this looks like a reasonably pain free port for mainstream apps.

I’ve got an app in the hopper, waiting to try for myself.