The latest release of ARM Apple products has shown a glimpse into the future of mobile computing. The newest macs include an updated mac mini, an updated macbook air, and a new macbook pro. The lineup is important because it has begun the transition of Apple into the ARM world and could make other tech companies follow the lead. The mobile computing world could be completely changed by the widespread adoption of ARM chips into the mainstream.
The M1 chip is a milestone for apple because it finally decouples their products from being limited by Intel’s technology. Intel’s lackluster performance in the past few years has chained Apple to less performance than the tech giant desired. The new M1 chips will allow Apple to fully unlock the potential of their hardware without any hardware or software roadblocks. The new macs have already seen huge performance boosts that completely lap the performance of previous Intel macs by a significant margin. Apple could eventually reach levels of optimization that would make their hardware king of the entire mobile computing industry.
Unfortunately, the raw optimization coming to consumers could come at a cost to users of older macs. The ARM switch means that Apple has a huge incentive to focus on ARM features only and to conveniently leave the Intel systems in the dust. Anyone using an Intel mac could eventually face a situation where a new mac update is only designed for ARM and nothing else; However, this push could have negative consequences in the short term. Many non-priority programs could lose support on mac or face weird software issues that require significant developer work which might push away some consumers.
The consumers let down by the ARM switch may get a nasty surprise from the mobile computing industry. Tech companies such as Google and Microsoft have also been working toward ARM chips in the meantime and the new Apple releases will only incentivize them to speed up development. The tech industry could see a widespread ARM wave within the next three years. The more companies that adopt ARM technology will make companies that have not adopted outdated. The adoption to ARM could have huge advantages for large tech firms.
Customs chips could be announced for all major tech hardware companies which would allow for other companies to decouple from Intel much like Apple. Microsoft and Google could soon launch their own ARM adapted products that also have a huge performance boost from previous Intel products. The large amount of ARM architecture might then spur developers to start targeting development for ARM platforms. The future of ARM looks bright for the entire computing industry, but there are some losers in the great computing switch.
A dedicated community of mac users have been creating “Hackintosh” or custom Apple machines for many years now. The switch to the M1 chip will be a deathblow to all “Hackintosh” activities for good. The complete control afforded by the new M1 chip allows for even more MacOS security checks that could require special Apple configured hardware to work. The current “Hackintosh” process already requires a decent amount of work but tricking a hyper-specific hardware security check requiring ARM would be devastating. This ARM technology has finally given Apple full control of their products and subsequently left any MacOS hacking communities to die.
Overall, the mobile computing industry could become an ARM paradise given enough time and those who fail to adapt will be killed.