So, there was a bunch of good stuff in this year's WWDC keynote. The most interesting thing to me of course – is the long-awaited Mac transition to ARM (Apple Silicon).
I wrote a note about this prior to WWDC. Turns out Apple went above and beyond to make this a ”pleasant” transition. I really didn't think they were going to put the effort in to make the x86 architecture work. Well, Rosetta and universal binaries are back!
A universal binary will contain bits for both ARM and Intel. For many developers, it could be as easy as just flipping a switch in Xcode. For apps that don't yet have a universal binary, Rosetta will translate the app to native ARM instructions during installation. It'll be interesting to see how this works out in practice. Apple will introduce a range of in-house chips that are targeted specifically for the Mac. The transition for the whole Mac product line is to be complete in just two years.
Apple also took the opportunity to ramp up the version number of macOS for the first time in 15 years – macOS 11 Big Sur is the next big release. A completely warranted move in my opinion. This release really represents the ”Mac renaissance”. Besides supporting Apple Silicon it has gone through some significant design changes.
I've joined the Universal App Quick Start Program and will be receiving a Developer Transition Kit (DTK) to test my Mac apps on the new architecture. It looks like we might see the first ARM-based Macs hitting stores as soon as the end of the year.
Related post: iOS apps on the Mac