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Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

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These Female Hummingbirds Don Flashy Male Feathers To Avoid Unwanted Harassment

Where tropical rainforests meet the Panama Canal flits the White-necked Jacobin—a large, aggressive, and rather showy hummingbird. While females don olive green feathers and a mottled chest of white, gray, and black, the males captivate birdwatchers with deep iridescent blue plumage and brilliant white bellies and tails. 

However, about 20 to 30 percent of female White-necked Jacobins resemble their masculine counterparts, according to a study published today in Current Biology. Turns out, looking like a male means the fluttering females are much less likely to be harassed by them, which improves their access to food. 

“Sexual selection is the dominant narrative in the field for why we expect to see ornamentation in birds,” says lead author, Jay Falk, who conducted the study while completing his PhD at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. “But that doesn’t tell the whole story here. If we want to look at ornamentation in White-necked Jacobins as a whole, including females and males, we have to use social selection.” 

Social selection is a proposed alternative to Darwin’s theory of sexual selection. It was suggested by a group of scientists in the early 1960s who noted that the traits of sexual selection, such as ornamentation and weaponry, also occurred in non-sexual contexts. The alternative term ‘social selection’ encompasses all social interactions that influence the selection of traits, including sexual interactions. 

While Falk and his team did not discover the phenomenon of some masculine-traited female white-necked Jacobins, they are the first to determine why it happens. “There have been quite a few museum specimen studies, but none trying to look at the behavior which is really needed to understand what might be adaptive about this trait,” says Falk. 

[Related: Hummingbirds can see colors we can’t even imagine.]

They found that the change in plumage helps some females and all youths escape social harassment that would otherwise prevent them from feeding. This would mean social competition, not sexual selection, is the main driver of ornamentation in female White-necked Jacobins. 

To determine this, Falk’s study was conducted in three parts. During the first phase, the evolutionary biologists captured over 400 hummingbirds over the course of five years, took note of their physical characteristics and drew a bit of blood for genetic identification. They found that not only do all males and some females display the brilliant blue hues, but so do all young hummingbirds regardless of gender. 

“There was this interesting thing going on with all the juveniles looking like adult males, which is unusual,” says Falk. “Because of that, we already had an idea that sexual selection was not playing a significant role.” 

Falk then had to prove male hummingbirds did not have a preference for ornamented females, to truly rule out sexual selection. He placed two feeders in the field and rotated a taxidermy of the nectar-feeding birds on each. The taxidermy mount was either a male, an ornamented female, or a non-ornamented female. Cameras then captured how their real-life feathered friends reacted. 

“Basically, we found that when there was a non-ornamented female present, the males had a very strong preference in terms of mating behavior with those mounts,” says Falk. This was a very strong indication that sexual selection was not responsible for some of the hovering females’ unique coloring. 

While reviewing the 78 hours of footage—which also captured how living hummingbirds interacted with one another—the ecologists noticed the traditionally feminine  avians were 10 times more likely to be chased from the feeders than the flashy fliers. 

[Related: Hummingbirds get their wild coloring from ‘air-filled pancakes’ in their feathers.]

Thus, for the final portion of the study, the ecologists placed rice grain-sized trackers between the birds’ wings to keep tabs of when, and  for how long, the birds stopped at any of the 28 feeders placed throughout the Panamanian town of Gamboa.

After 278 days and 88,500 feeds, Falk analyzed the data and found male-like females visited the feeders more often and for longer periods of time than the non-ornamented females. This disparity was even more pronounced at desirable and competitive feeders with a higher concentration of sugar. Basically, to have a relaxing, fulfilling meal, the best bet for the birdies is to look as manly as possible. 

Plus, he wouldn’t mind watching the winged-critters for a bit longer. “I just really love white neck Jacobins at this point. I feel like in terms of their personality among hummingbirds, they’re just kind of like these jocks. I’ve even seen one of them do a backflip which felt like they were just showing off.” 

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

Don’T Be Duped By Performance, Apple’S M1 Silicon Is All About Platform Control

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2023. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts from all developers earning over $1 million per year. Up until recently, this commission rate applied to all developers. However, the newly introduced Small Business Program will soon ensure that Apple will only take 15% from those developers under the threshold.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Correction (November 22, 2023): This article originally stated that Apple takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. This article was written before Apple announced changes to the App Store commission rate for some developers through its Small Business Program, starting in 2023. The article has been amended to reflect these changes.

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