Apple recently introduced three new Mac models that eschew the Intel processors we’ve relied upon for over a decade. The three new models are all powered by Apple’s new M1, alleged to be the most powerful chip Apple has ever produced and the first designed specifically for the Mac.

I have yet to touch an M1-powered Mac, so if you watched the 50-minute event or browsed Apple’s website recently, you probably know as much as I do.

I want one, but there are a couple of things I need to find out more about before I commit:

Boot Camp?

First and foremost, Apple’s Boot Camp, which enables Intel-powered Mac to run Windows (and other operating systems), relies upon your Mac having an Intel processor. So, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to boot into Windows on M1-powered Macs.

On the other hand, Parallels is in active development of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software that runs natively on M1 Macs (visit parallels.com for details).

The point is that if you rely on Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, or other emulation/virtualization software to run Windows, Linux, or any other operating system on your Mac, take time to evaluate the state of emulation and virtualization software on M1-based Macs before you acquire an M1-powered Mac.

Rosetta 2?

Another thing to consider is that all Mac apps will have to be updated to run natively on M1-powered Macs. While Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology will allow most Mac apps to run on M1 Macs without updating, history suggests that some apps will run better than others under Rosetta 2 and that some apps may not work correctly.

While all of Apple’s applications have been updated to run natively on M1, if you rely on third-party apps to get things done, I urge you to confirm that those apps run properly on an M1 processor. The good news is that RoaringApps (roaringapps.com), which hosts a crowd-sourced list of apps that have been updated for M1, is a great place to start.

The bad news is that there were fewer than two dozen apps on the list when I looked (not surprising considering I wrote this column before M1-based Macs became available).

Bottom line: If you’re considering a new M1-equipped Mac this week (or month), give some thought to emulation and Rosetta 2 before you decide.

I’m Not Trying To Be Negative

I’m not trying to dissuade you from M1-equipped Macs… I just wanted to call your attention to things that may not work as expected, especially in the beginning.

That being said, I am looking forward to switching to an M1-equipped Mac so I can render Final Cut Pro timelines up to 6x faster; watch up to 20 hours of video playback without recharging; edit 4K video without dropping frames; and run iOS and iPadOS apps on my Mac for the first time.

That’s all for now; I’ll tell you more once I get my hands on one.

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I’m finding most of my third party apps were already up-to-date for M1 by the time my Air arrived on Tuesday. Since then, even more have come around. As the folks at Bjango told me, for most developers they really think this is as simple as checking “Universal” and recompiling. Case in point: CoconutBattery and TimeMachineEditor, two freeware apps, were among the first batch of updates I saw come through. And thus far, things have been quite smooth for me. I don’t do any Windows stuff, and the only hiccup I’ve had is with (some) Homebrew stuff. But that was… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Bob:   This is not negative at all, but sage advice. One simply needs to holistically appreciate one’s needs, use case and the potentially risks and benefits of a decision. It is an essential part of the ‘informed’ piece to informed consent – what we should be entitled to, for example, with our social media platforms, but I digress.    Once the benchmarks and comparisons of the A12 bionic in the iPad Pros vs the MBP Intel CPUs came out, with those of the iPad beating those of the Intel in both single and multi-core comparisons, it left little doubt… Read more »

Macsee

Since I cannot edit my previous message, here is an update:

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is ‘Really up to Microsoft’
As for Windows running natively on the machine, “that’s really up to Microsoft,” he said. “We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that’s a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it.”
https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/20/craig-federighi-on-windows-for-m1-macs

Macsee

Thanks for the review. Comments: It is good to have choices, but the problem with Parallels Desktop is that it fails when used to control external machines (using Windows applications) via USB. VMware Fusion works great for that. On the other hand, hackers developed XOM to run Windows on Mac, and then Apple used that to release Boot Camp. In other words, the initial hard work was done by hackers, not Apple. Now, Apple could release Boot Camp for ARM-based Apple Silicon Macs if Microsoft sells Windows for ARM to end-users (now, it is only sold to OEM). I mean,… Read more »

Macsee

Thanks for the review. Comments: It is good to have choices, but the problem with Parallels Desktop is that it fails when used to control external machines (using Windows applications) via USB. VMware Fusion works great for that. On the other hand, hackers developed XOM to run Windows on Mac, and then Apple used that to release Boot Camp. In other words, the initial hard work was done by hackers, not Apple. Now, Apple could release Boot Camp for ARM-based Apple Silicon Macs if Microsoft sells Windows for ARM to end-users (now, it is only sold to OEM). I mean,… Read more »