Macintosh & ARM (Apr 23)

Bloomberg News reported today that Apple will start using their own A14 ARM chips in new Macintosh models. It will be a gradual transition away from Intel, starting in 2021.  This chip switch has been rumored for years.

Apple is “working on” a way to run current apps on the new chips. It’s almost certain to be similar to previous pivots (68000 to PPC, then PPC to Intel). First, there will be an emulator with mediocre performance. It gradually will get worse, then end after 5 to 7 years.

The future ARM Macs will be better at running iOS apps. That’s great if you want a big-screen, more powerful version of your iPhone or iPad. It’s not so great if you are running current Mac software.

Whether Goldenseal Pro will run on ARM Macs depends on Apple.

      • If they continue long-term support for Cocoa and Objective-C, then we can make it work with another year or two of effort. We’d start that when sure of Apple’s plans, and after the Windows version is done.
      • If Apple unveils something new for developers, then it depends on the details. Could be better, could be worse.
      • If Apple switches entirely to Swift and SwiftUI, there’s no way we can convert our code. After 33 years, it’ll be end of the line for our Mac version.
      • Ditto if Apple sorta supports Cocoa, but are half-assed about it. Cocoa is already a nightmare, and our staff is not eager to go back there. Since this is the likeliest case and Swift-only is 2nd, I’m glad we stopped work when we did. A waste of only 3 years instead of 4 or 5.

To keep current Mac users, Apple will need to support Microsoft Office and Adobe products for sure. Everyone else doesn’t matter very much. Specialty apps like ours don’t matter at all.

So, we just have to wait and see.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director


Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.