The bell is tolling for Intel Macs with the arrival of the first Apple Silicon specific fe...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited June 9
Apple has said it will continue to support Intel Macs for years, but many of the best new macOS Monterey features will only work on Apple Silicon. And so they should.

The best of macOS Monterey will need an M1 processor, or later
The best of macOS Monterey will need an M1 processor, or later


Apple justifiably has a strong reputation for supporting older devices, and much more so than other technology firms. Tim Cook also publicly committed to supporting Intel-based Macs even after the company has completed its transition to Apple Silicon ones.

That is all right and proper. But so is this -- Apple is already leaving Intel behind with new features that are exclusive to the M1 and whatever comes next.

The entire point of moving away from Intel was to create new Macs that could do what the older models couldn't.

Looking at the features of macOS Monterey that will require Apple Silicon, it does seem as if they are necessary because of hardware changes. Perhaps some are also about marketing and showing that Apple Silicon Macs are better.

But in each case we know so far, technology appears to be the reason. It's about overall performance, and it's also about sheer processing power, too.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple

Image and object capture

You may or may not like blurred backgrounds in FaceTime calls, but if you do like the effect, you'd better buy an Apple Silicon Mac. Only Macs with the M1 processor or later will be able to blur that background in real time.

Similarly, while Apple showed it more as an iPhone tool than a Mac one, M1 Macs will be able to use Live Text in macOS Monterey. With any image, whether it's on a website you're browsing or your own photos from five years ago, M1 Macs can read the text there.

That's intensive pattern recognition done on-device.

On-device rendering

For the opposite of recognizing images, Apple requires you to use an M1 Mac for all the visuals that are created for the new Apple Maps features.

Doubtlessly, Intel Macs will be able to show you directions and the same level of detail we get now. But all of the tremendous extras like rendered elevations and city exploration we're getting with macOS Monterey won't be on Intel.

M1 exclusivity is not limited to updated features, either. The new Object Capture -- where users can make 3D scans of items -- will not be available on Intel Macs.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple

On-device Siri and dictation

You can currently dictate into Siri on a Mac for up to around one minute. From macOS Monterey onwards, there will be no time limit at all -- so long as you're on M1 or later.

That's partly because dictation will now be done on-device instead. But as well as listening better, M1 Macs will speak better, too, in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish.

Forgetting Intel Macs

It would be good if Apple were clearer about what Intel users will and won't get. When Apple announces new features that require its latest hardware, it never stops a keynote presentation to throw in an asterisked footnote.

So this isn't a change for Apple, but it is a clear marker of just how quickly the Intel era will be no longer catered to.

That's not all that great for users who currently rely on Intel for specific workflows. It's terrible for users that rely on Boot Camp or virtualization solutions.

If you're in those groups, it's easy to be bitter about it. But the shift is beneficial to the vast majority of present Mac users, nearly all of the future switchers, and it brings visible benefits that we've not seen before.

When Apple moved the Mac to Intel, it got us faster Macs but not what you could call strikingly new or updated features. Of course, other than virtualization, or use of Windows natively on a Mac, that is.

Back to 2021, the sheer processing power of the Apple Silicon M1 is already enabling what Tim Cook promised at WWDC 2020. Cook was clear that "when we make bold changes, it's for one simple yet powerful reason -- so we can make much better products."

Follow all the details of WWDC 2021 with the comprehensive AppleInsider coverage of the whole week-long event from June 7 through June 11, including details of all the new launches and updates.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    omasouomasou Posts: 170member
    Once the M# chip(s) support dual monitors, I'm all in.
    AlexMorellowatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 257member
    omasou said:
    Once the M# chip(s) support dual monitors, I'm all in.
    Apple Silicon has always supported dual displays. With the Mini, it is two monitors, everything else, it is the built in display plus a monitor.
    patchythepiratemagman1979repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 39
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,296member
    omasou said:
    Once the M# chip(s) support dual monitors, I'm all in.
    Apple Silicon has always supported dual displays. With the Mini, it is two monitors, everything else, it is the built in display plus a monitor.
    Yeah, it's the 3+ monitor setups which people were complaining about.  Which will more than likely be solved for the upcoming ASi Mac Pro.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,159member
    The M1 chips were a quantum leap forward in processing power for Apple. It would be stupid for them to cripple the new machines just to maintain feature parity with the older ones. Hello, Intel - Time to wake up and make better processors!
    StrangeDayswilliamlondonpatchythepiratemagman1979Rayz2016repressthisbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 39
    pslicepslice Posts: 120member
    27” iMac??????   
    williamlondonScot1applguyrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 39
    swineoneswineone Posts: 47member
    many of the best new macOS Monterey features will only work on Apple Silicon. And so they should.

    Planned obsolescence much? Indeed that's the case as will be clear from the breakdown below.

    You may or may not like blurred backgrounds in FaceTime calls, but if you do like the effect, you'd better buy an Apple Silicon Mac.

    Google Meet has done that for a while already. On a web application, no less.

    M1 Macs will be able to use Live Text in macOS Monterey. With any image, whether it's on a website you're browsing or your own photos from five years ago, M1 Macs can read the text there.
    That's intensive pattern recognition that's done on-device. 
    Intensive but, from my understanding, not real time. Even an old PPC G4 could do it given enough time.

    For some reason the editor won't let me quote the next paragraph properly, so I'll just wrap it in double quotes.

    "Doubtlessly, Intel Macs will be able to show you directions and the same level of detail we get now. But all of the tremendous extras like rendered elevations and city exploration we're getting with macOS Monterey won't be on Intel."

    More of a GPU than CPU issue. Anyway, PCs can easily render ultra-high-resolution photorealistic games in real time, but hardware of similar caliber (with a less powerful, but still extremely powerful GPU) on an Intel Mac supposedly can't render some simple 2.5D scene with simple, almost schematic-level, assets? Give me a ******* break.
    You can currently dictate into Siri on a Mac for up to around one minute. From macOS Monterey onwards, there will be no time limit at all -- so long as you're on M1 or later.
    That's partly because dictation will now be done on-device instead.
    Ooh, sounds like a super-complicated thing that would be impossible to do on-device in an Intel Mac. Wait, not really. Probably Intel hardware was what Apple used to transcribe conversations behind the scenes on their cloud servers.

    Conclusion: yeah, it's all marketing, and Apple pressuring us into an upgrade we don't really need. So much for being so "green", it's all about the greenbacks (as well it should be, but let's not pretend Apple is a saint).

    Either way, I don't care, my hardware is still quite new (2018 MBP) and it'll have to last long to recoup my investment in it, even if Apple is forcing my hand on this by not allowing me to make a FaceTime call with a blurred background -- and, as mentioned, if I really need that feature, I'll just use Google Meet which miraculously is capable of doing that in my supposedly underperforming Intel Mac.

    I'll probably stay out of the market for another 3 or 4 years, and in the meanwhile I'll be monitoring whether someone decides to tackle the Windows virtualization issue (hell, there was Virtual PC back in the PowerPC days, you're telling me Apple Silicon is so underpowered it can't emulate the supposedly low-performance Intel Macs?) If nobody does, this will probably be my last Mac.
    pulseimageswilliamlondonapplguy
  • Reply 7 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,192administrator
    pslice said:
    27” iMac??????   
    What are you referring to?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 39
    I frankly don't understand why the listed features are not available to Intel users as the graphic processing power varies widely;

    are all Intel Macs really that bad graphic-wise? didn't we all agree that they were the go-to devices for photographers and graphic professionals? and now they cannot handle a background blurring in real time? really?
    pulseimages
  • Reply 9 of 39
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,722member
    swineone said:
    many of the best new macOS Monterey features will only work on Apple Silicon. And so they should.

    Planned obsolescence much? Indeed that's the case as will be clear from the breakdown below.

    ...
    Get over it. Like others, I have a 13 year old iMac sitting right next to an M1 iMac and it is looking great and performing superbly.
    StrangeDaysmortarman81mmwilliamlondonpatchythepirateAlexMorellomagman1979BeatsMplsPRayz2016repressthis
  • Reply 10 of 39
    pulseimagespulseimages Posts: 370member
    My late-2016 MBP died last year and Apple replaced it free of charge with the highest end 16” MBP. Am I going to replace it for a M1 Mac anytime soon? Hell no! Google Maps has always been superior to Apple Maps. Anytime an app opens up Apple Maps on my iPhone I let out a big sigh. I’m still rocking a 1st generation iPhone SE, so fancy do dads really don’t impress me. Let Apple and Intel have their pissing contest. 
    edited June 9 williamlondoncincytee
  • Reply 11 of 39
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,396member
    swineone said:
    many of the best new macOS Monterey features will only work on Apple Silicon. And so they should.

    Planned obsolescence much? Indeed that's the case as will be clear from the breakdown below.

    [pretend engineering snipped]

    Conclusion: yeah, it's all marketing, and Apple pressuring us into an upgrade we don't really need. So much for being so "green", it's all about the greenbacks (as well it should be, but let's not pretend Apple is a saint).
    Nah, you just made up a bunch of crap and claimed it as fact.
    edited June 9 williamlondonpatchythepirateAlexMorellomagman1979BeatsRayz2016pulseimagesJFC_PADetnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 39
    neilmneilm Posts: 893member
    swineone said:
    I'll probably stay out of the market for another 3 or 4 years, and in the meanwhile I'll be monitoring whether someone decides to tackle the Windows virtualization issue (hell, there was Virtual PC back in the PowerPC days, you're telling me Apple Silicon is so underpowered it can't emulate the supposedly low-performance Intel Macs?) If nobody does, this will probably be my last Mac.
    A Virtual PC emulation approach isn't going to cut it in today's world — it was barely usable back in those days. The solution to Windows on Apple Silicon is Microsoft's Windows on ARM product running natively in a VM on macOS. Unfortunately Win on ARM is a barely functional product at present, so the fix needs to come from MS. That will happen eventually because of demand by Windows users on their own platforms, not Mac users. But it hasn't happened yet.
    AlexMorelloStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 39
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 67member
    Seems less about the capabilities of the M1 chip vs. the "incentive" to move to a mac with an M1 chip. I'm almost certain macs made with an intel chip in the last two years could accomplish the same feat. This is not unusual for apple.
    williamlondonpulseimages
  • Reply 14 of 39
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,125member
    My 2017 MBP continues to meet my needs. When it does come time to purchase my next Mac, I’ll feel more comfortable knowing there were two or more iterations of the M1 so any hardware bugs will be hopefully resolved by then.
    edited June 9 pulseimagescincyteeBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 39
    pslicepslice Posts: 120member
    pslice said:
    27” iMac??????   
    What are you referring to?
    Waiting for the next iteration of a 27” iMac with the M1(X, 2) chip. Making all of these changes b4 we can even buy a replacement iMac. That’s all. 
    Beatspulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 39
    bluefire1 said:
    My 2017 MBP continues to meet my needs. When it does come time to purchase my next Mac, I’ll feel more comfortable knowing there were two or more iterations of the M1 so any hardware bugs were hopefully resolved by then.
    Definitely understand the waiting but anecdotally when the transition to Intel took place, I remember my new iMac at the time being plagued by issues, crashes, reboots, etc. Recently, I sprung for a new Mac mini and so far, not a single issue at all.

    Hope that portends good things for the whole line, by waiting you should definitely enjoy a hassle-free first Mx based system.
    cincyteewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 39
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,396member
    sbdude said:
    Seems less about the capabilities of the M1 chip vs. the "incentive" to move to a mac with an M1 chip. I'm almost certain macs made with an intel chip in the last two years could accomplish the same feat. This is not unusual for apple.
    You have no data from which to base that claim. You’re suggesting it’s a mustache-twirling conspiracy to force you to upgrade, despite your Intel-based machine doing 100% of what it did when you bought it. And in the past we have learned Apple did indeed have technical reasons for not implementing something on older hardware, reasons other than pure spite. The conspiracy theories are just silly coping mechanisms. 
    williamlondonpatchythepirateRayz2016robabaDetnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 39
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,589member
    hmlongco said:
    As you yourself point out, there can be many reasons why a given feature isn't available on Intel-based systems. Here, and in my opinion, most of them are hardware-based in that they rely on the real-time processing made possible by the Neural Engine.
    This appears to be the likely explanation. These tasks rely on machine learning and Intel CPUs do not have AI cores.

    On PCs tasks like real-time video and audio processing are also best handled by machine learning silicon. Much of this is actually handled by graphics cards with machine learning hardware (e.g., Tensor cores on GeForce RTX cards do the bulk of the work in the Nvidia Broadcast utility).
    edited June 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 39
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,432member
    sbdude said:
    Seems less about the capabilities of the M1 chip vs. the "incentive" to move to a mac with an M1 chip. I'm almost certain macs made with an intel chip in the last two years could accomplish the same feat. This is not unusual for apple.

    Not really… just about all the above features make heavy use the ANE and ML accelerators on the CPU, which do not exist on any Intel Mac. The M1 contains specialized cores for handling certain tasks that NO Intel based Mac could ever keep up with.
    edited June 9 Rayz2016sphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 39
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 324member
    Some might say that everything the M1 system can do, the Intel system can do just as well. That's completely missing the point of this article. These new changes, facilitated by a consolidated hardware platform and software teams are an exciting glimpse into a future vision of personal computing. It's the sheer totality of the changes across their OS's that excited me the most. It's finally seeing a vision of personal computing come together that isn't a hodgepodge of 1980's design hardware and software duct tape thats been limiting the platform for ages. the changes in Notes, for instance, represents a paradigm shift in in how we will be able to consolidate information. On device Siri frees us from the limitations of having to always be connected and makes the iOS devices even more useful. These are just a few of the changes that, combined with the others, will be the basis for even more advanced systems in the future. Now, where are my shades?

    Fidonet127Rayz2016mobirdhcrefugeeBeatswatto_cobra
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