On a historic day, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Monday that the company's computing platform would be moving to a homegrown "Apple Silicon".
Cook said the Mac's journey with custom chips is more than 10 years old, its chip architecture from the iPhone provides the best performance per watt, and the new system's design strives to bring the best balance of power and performance.
Apple Silicon will use a variety of custom technologies, including neural networks, GPUs, Secure Enclave and more, he said.
As with mobile platforms, Apple wants to bring new processors to the Mac that balance performance and power consumption. Components like the Secure Zone provide excellent protection, and components like the high-performance GPU deliver the experience you expect.
In terms of compatibility, all the applications that run on Intel hardware platforms will work on the new Mac and custom processors.
Everything developers need is built into xCode, all they have to do is open the project and recompile, and the transformation takes only a few days.
Rosetta is the technology Apple used to transition from PowerPCs to Intel processors, and now Rosetta 2 enables Macs to better migrate seamlessly from Intel processors to Apple Silicon platforms.
macOS Big Sur will include Rosetta 2, which automatically converts Intel apps into Apple Silicon apps on installation.
Apple promises new levels of performance and lower power consumption by moving to internal processors, and is designing its own set of SoCs for the Mac that have unique features for the Mac but a common architecture across its product lines.
Apple's move to its own ARM chips coincides with the company's release of macOS Big Sur, which includes a major redesign of macOS and feature updates to the built-in apps for Messages and Maps.
Recent reports have suggested that Apple's switch to ARM is due to a slowdown in Intel's performance gains. Apple has reportedly been testing ARM-based chips in Macs and has found a significant performance improvement over Intel alternatives.
Apple's transition to ARM follows a similar move by Microsoft to test Windows on ARM nearly a decade ago.
Microsoft began this effort before the release of Windows 8 in 2012, even releasing a Windows RT operating system designed for ARM-based hardware.
Since then, Microsoft has transitioned Windows 10 to ARM and has partnered with Qualcomm to integrate a custom SQ1 processor into its Surface Pro X devices.