New Macs and macOS at WWDC: ARM-based Macs with Apple processors officially coming soon

Apple is officially putting its own processors in Macs – and unveils macOS Big Sur for Macs old and new

macOS Big Sur
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's WWDC 2020 keynote confirmed that it will soon release the rumoured ARM-based Macs, which will finally see the transition from Intel chips to a custom-designed processor made by Apple. 

The first Mac to house Apple silicon will launch before the end of the year, with a two-year transition period anticipated for the switch over from Intel-based macs, resulting in a common architecture across all of its products. 

Apple confirmed that there are still Intel-based Macs in the pipeline, and that current Macs will be supported for years to come, while the first ARM-based Mac will launch before the end of 2020. The new processor will offer improved performance and will be more power efficient, while also allowing macOS to natively run iOS apps. 

Apple has accommodated the transition for developers by enabling them to make a single version of their apps that will run on both Intel-powered apps as well as the new ARM-based Macs, so users won't have to worry whether they're getting the right version for their machine.

The Quick Start program provides developers with tools and access to labs around the world for guidance on building apps for ARM Macs, as well as developer transition kit hardware so that they can make a start before the new ARM-based systems ship. 

ARM Macs

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's macOS Big Sur will support the new processor, while Microsoft is currently working on updates for its suite of Office apps to make them compatible, although Word and Excel are already up and running. Adobe is also on board which is a boon at this stage as the company has often been slow to move when it comes to big changes like this. 

Meanwhile, macOS Big Sur brings a new design to the Mac's software. The changes are immediately noticeable, though don't fundamentally change how you'll work with your Mac.

There are new icons and a cleaner look that bring a bit of the style of iPadOS to the Mac, though without feeling like a copy of the tablet interface – we like it!

All of Apple's apps have been updated, of course, and there some neat new changes in how you interact with common settings: Control Centre has been brought to the Mac, putting a load of useful options just a click away.