So, based off of my last post, professionals may have a hard time working around the limitations of the new ARM based Macs. But what about your average user and their family, will they notice? The truth in this, is probably not.
Since the release of the M1 and M1Pro we’ve seen good performance and the computers actually being competitive regarding equivalent x86 models. With Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation software, the migration isn’t that painful for average users. Most apps work fine and don’t get a huge slow down. And for browsing, general productivity work, the average user won’t even notice the difference.
Where does the ARM transition put Apple and others regarding virtualization and Windows? Well, the truth is, it doesn’t look good for anyone who NEEDs to use Windows. Apple’s Rosetta 2 software is flexible, but it’s unable to translate all the code that would be needed to run x86 copies of VMware or VirtualBox, and consequently, virtualize an x86 environment (be it 32 or 64 bit). Apple also seems to be including their own virtualization software in MacOS 16 “Big Sur”, as shown when they were running a Debian based VM on it.
So, The Transition Kit that was presented Monday. No custom desktop CPU, no Thunderbolt ports, but 16GB of ram and 512GB SSD. Hey that’s still 10 GB of ram more than what comes standard on the iPad Pro with the same CPU!
But let’s talk realistically about this device. First of all, its not meant to represent anything that would be going into immediate production. It’s essentially a bodge where Apple redesigned an iPad Pro logic board to fit inside a Mac Mini case. Port wise, It will have 2x USB-C (3.1) ports, 2x USB-A (3.0) ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port. Networking, it has 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 5.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. Essentially, it really is an iPad Pro stuck into a Mac Mini case. The HDMI port, Gigabit ethernet, and possibly the other USB ports are basically just your bog standard USB-C hub that provide the same exact ports that you can buy on Amazon for about $40. Only difference is that it is built into the logic board.
So, Apple finally confirmed that it’s moving to ARM CPUs, something that was predicted for years by analysts. But what does it mean to consumers and professionals? Where does this leave professionals that need to use Windows? Those are some of the questions I’ll try to postulate in this and subsequent posts (Yes! I’ll be more active here!).