Apple took to the virtual stage yesterday during its much anticipated annual WWDC keynote to announce new features for developers, consumers, and businesses. Saying they made some big announcements for the future of Apple platforms would be an understatement. By far though, the most important announcement was Apple’s transition to Apple Silicon in Macs.
Bye Bye Intel:
Apple announced they will be switching to Apple Silicon processors in their Mac products. Though probably the least understood by the average user, this will have the largest impact of all the announcements made during the WWDC 2020 keynote.
In 2005, Steve Jobs took the stage to discuss a similar change, from PowerPC to Intel. Apple, wanting to offer the best and fastest experience to both consumers and professionals had to take 3 main factors into consideration: Performance per watt (or efficiency), compatibility, and the future of the Mac platform. PowerPC processors were at one time the cutting edge, beating Intel in many use cases, but as with all things in technology, the pace of progress can change rapidly, changing the market with it. Apple saw that switching to Intel would allow for its users to do more with less power and heat (efficiency), it would allow for developers to code more easily for some Mac and Windows applications (compatibility), and it would give them a roadmap to follow for technological progression in processors which Intel led for over a decade (the future of the platform). It would be a great expense for both Apple and developers to make this switch, but Apple saw that ultimately it would pay off, and they were right.
Fast forward to 2020, Apple is faced with the same situation. Intel formerly led the industry in performance per watt, compatibility, and its own product roadmap. However, much like in 2005, the pace of progress has highlighted that Apple has another decision to make to offer its users the best experience. So who will take the reins from Intel? Well, Apple itself, of course. Using the same technology that makes the latest iPhone not only the fastest phone on the market but also the most efficient, Apple has what is possibly the best processors on the market and it was only a matter of time before they brought them to their computers.
So what does this mean for the Mac? It’s hard to understand without context why this is so significant, but as simply as I can put it imagine a Mac with an all-day battery, that is fanless and silent and is also at least twice as fast as everything on the market. It’s more efficient because it uses the iPhone architecture, you get compatibility making it easier for developers to make one app for both iOS and MacOS, and you get a roadmap for progress for what the future of the Mac platform looks like. Are you starting to see the similarities?
This is a big deal for Apple, a big win for consumers and it could give Apple an edge in the business segment that could change the marketplace as a whole.
Why could this be such a big deal for Apple in Business?
To understand why this change could be so impactful to the business landscape, we need to highlight the advantages Apple gains against the competition. With this transition to Apple Silicon, it’s easy to predict in a short period of time Apple will have a significant advantage in 3 key aspects; Outright Performance, Security, and Native Application Development.
When designing a computer everything is about finding balance. You could have a MacBook Pro that is as fast as a Mac Pro, but it would weigh 40 lbs and last 15 minutes on battery. This is why Apple has a whole product line, you buy what fits your use case as a business. Your sales team isn’t creating feature-length movies, but I can bet they want their computer to last long enough to work through a flight. I’d also be willing to bet that your production team could care less about battery life and heat, they want ultimate power to get their work done and do more. The switch to Apple Silicon gives Apple the ability to service both. Because Apple Silicon today has incredible Performance per Watt, it means that they can design computers with all-day battery for the sales team, it also means that it scales up so the businesses who need the fastest platform on the market, Mac or PC, may have to go Mac. Apple’s bet is that their processors will be the most efficient AND the most powerful outright, and if they’re right, it could be years for the competition to come close.
Security and privacy are core tenets of Apple’s product design. Apple’s decision to go in-house for its processors was very obviously driven by this as well. iOS is often considered the gold standard for data security, and Apple wants to create more parity between these platforms. For business that could mean some great data security features that are only available to iOS users natively today such as BYOD profiles, data segregation, and more device controls. In a short time, if you want your company data secure without having to spy on your users, a Mac may be the best choice.
Finally, Native Application development. Everyone wants an app. Why? Because they work better! Application development is expensive though, and as a result, the desktop versions of Apps are often not much more than web-apps, limited in functionality and not taking advantage of the efficiency, security, and experience of the platform. Apple is giving developers the tools, combined with the hardware to make one app that works on both macOS and iOS. Since many companies already have iOS apps, this means minimal development will be required to give Mac users apps that fully utilize all of the advantages of this updated platform.
When is it happening?
Now! Kinda. Developers will have the tools to start this transition today, and Apple has said that within 2 years all new Macs will have Apple Silicon. Curious about how you can manage your existing Mac fleet or how to make sure you are prepared for the switch? Contact us! We’re Apple in business experts who also happen to just love this stuff – firstname.lastname@example.org.