ARM’d For The Future – Apple Chips

All that and a bag of chips. No not those kinds, Mike! Put the dip back. I’m talking about Apple’s decision to take their hardware to the next level. Apple’s designers shocked everyone at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, announcing that it will no longer utilize the Intel chips that have powered processors inside Macs since 2005. Instead, it’s begun to design its own Arm processors for their computers which they aptly named “Apple Silicon”. Perhaps it was a good thing that the annual San Jose conference was held remotely due to the pandemic because the news created quite the stir in the industry.

Bringing it all in-house, Apple is making the decision to pull the plug on the outsourced pieces of their operating system after 15 years of success piggybacking off of Intel’s chips to power their machines. That’s great, but what does it actually mean for you?

First of all, it means change. There’s no doubt there’s going to be a learning curve when the Arm-based chips are implemented across the 2020 devices. Macs are going to start to look a lot more like iPhones. Not in the physical design of course, but in the operating style. It’s will be a quick adoption for most users, but where we’re apprehensive is 3rd party programs and applications.

For developers, this switch means potentially massive alterations to source code which in most cases means an overall overhaul of their native program. In order for programs like Adobe to actually work with Apple Silicon chips they’ll need to heavily update their code for Macs, so you can expect a few hiccups in some of your programs while developers adjust independently to adhere to Apple Silicon requirements.

Intel chips are used in a plethora of systems worldwide. This cross-computer compatibility is great for programs that operate on various systems. By having their own chip, Apple will be able to further differentiate themselves from competition in the industry, especially those leveraging the same or similar processors. Some Macs already have Apple Arm processors, such as the T1 and T2 chips in computers like the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac Pro.

When we look to Apple for an explanation for the switch, we’re led to some great expectations for the 2020 line of computers and beyond. (Unconfirmed rumors state that we could see a 12” MacBook by the end of 2020 with the first Apple Silicon chip. It certainly gives us hope for an even better consumer product – something which Apple already excels at creating time and time again.

Features like extended battery life, stronger processing power (and efficiency), and more control over internal product progression are expected, just to name a few. In other words, cutting ties with Intel and moving manufacturing in-house allows Apple to make their own timelines with regard to product and software updates. They won’t have to wait or adhere to timelines set by 3rd parties, so they will be able to roll out updates and fixes even faster.

Financially, it’s to be assumed that Apple will also save money by cutting the cost of buying these powerful chips from another company to put them in their machines. Bringing the manufacturing in-house, Apple will likely be saving more cash (but it’s unlikely these savings will carry over to the consumer.)

When it comes to our overall thoughts on the new tech and decision to bring chip production internally, we think the pros far outweigh the cons. We’re excited to see what Apple brings to the table in their new machines! iPhone and iPads have already been running their own ARM chips supplied by Apple, so it’s safe to say the sweeping changes that 3rd party program developers are going to make shouldn’t be too daunting of a task, since most of these programs already inherently operate on the iPhone and iPad in one way or another.

“Apple has always made incredible products, there’s no question there. I’m optimistic and curious to see these new computers and how they run compared to prior Macs. As with most new pieces of tech, there will likely be some bugs and compatibility issues early on, but I’m sure they will be some excellent machines.” – says Mike Neilan, our Co-Founder and Director of Marketing + Operations.

We’re eagerly awaiting the opportunity to expand our state-of-the-art tech suite. Having a closer integration between software and hardware; Apple’s autogenous jump should provide an even more cohesive user experience which will allow us to create even better content. There will be an adjustment when these new chips come out – don’t get us wrong, but we don’t expect it to be overwhelming. The Apple Silicon ARM chips are going to usher in a new age of Apple dominance in the media industry and we cannot wait! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Brennan Marlow says:

    I’m excited for the new MacBook pros! I have an old one from 2015, I do video and photography as a hobby but if it turns into something more I would love to have a machine that can handle the workload, I’m excited to see what improvements the new processors will have over intel as well! So excited!!

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