Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference 2020 three weeks later than usual at the company’s Cupertino headquarters in California. It was conducted virtually instead of at the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose.
Apple CEO Tim Cook officially announced from this week it will stop using Intel processors, instead using its own ARM-based, A-series chips in its Mac computers.
Cook said that the transition to ARM-based chips will take about two years to run its course, which is about the same timeframe as when Apple switched from IBM’s PowerPC architecture to Intel’s chips for its Mac computers. Apple has been using Intel chips for the past 15 years.
The major advantage of using ARM-powered chips is the ability for iOS and iPadOS apps to run natively on macOS in the future, reported The Verge. “Most apps will just work,” said Apple, meaning you will be able to run native macOS apps alongside native iOS apps side by side for the first time.
Cook said that Apple plans on shipping its first ARM-based Mac by the end of the year, but that Intel Macs will be supported for “years to come”.
“Apple is a customer across several areas of business, and we will continue to support them,” an Intel spokesperson told Engadget.
Cook also gave a glimpse at upcoming software changes designed to make the iPhone even easier to use. He previewed the next version of the iPhone’s operating system, known as iOS 14.
In recognition of the coronavirus pandemic, Apple’s next iPhone operating system will include an option to put a face mask on a personalised emoji. Upgraded software for the Apple Watch will also detect when wearers wash their hands, AP News reported.
Most of Cook’s presentation revolved around an array of new features that, for instance, could help iPhone users manage their apps better, find new ones, and use their phones to unlock and start their cars remotely. The last feature will initially only be available for a 2021 BMW model.
Apple also promised an upgraded version of its digital assistant Siri intended to make it smarter and less cumbersome, helping it fend off rival voice-activated concierges made by Google and Amazon.
Apple gave no indication whether the pandemic-driven disruptions in work in the factories that make iPhone parts will delay the release of the next model. The company typically unveils its next iPhones in early September and starts selling them toward the end of the month.
Analysts believe the release of the iPhone 12 will be come later than usual, but are expecting it still will be on sale well before the pivotal holiday shopping season. Earlier this month, the CEO of chip maker Broadcom, Hock Tan, told analysts he expected a delay in the production of a product made by a major North American smartphone maker. Broadcom is a major supplier for the iPhone.
Apple is expected to roll out as many as four different iPhone 12 models this year, including its first version that will be able to work on the next generation of ultrafast wireless networks known as 5G.
Apple’s stock hit a new all-time high on Monday before closing at $358.87 — a gain of 22% this year. The figure gives the tech company a market value of more than US$1.5 trillion.