The issue of moving iOS apps to Mac is more important than the release of iPhone 12

Two days ago, the Mac equipped with the Arm-based M1 chip was released and sold at the speed of light. Today, the official version of macOS Big Sur was launched.

In terms of hardware and systems, Apple’s actions can be said to be very fast, helping you who want to try "Ready OK". Only in the software ecology, you can’t understand it at a glance, and it takes time to verify it step by step.

In Ai Faner's article the day before yesterday, after switching to the Arm platform, the performance of the M1 chip and the changes in battery life brought by it have been discussed.

These are important, but the real milestone is that it has subverted Apple's previous software ecology.

Apple gave three sets of solutions to solve the application ecology

Before iOS software can be used, previous Mac users may be more concerned about what applications are not available.

After the advent of Apple Silicon, Apple's desktop environment will temporarily split into two camps, Apple Silicon and Intel. Many people are worried about what changes will occur in the application ecosystem. Apple this time gave three different application solutions.

  • Universal application
  • Rosetta 2 rendering application
  • Native Arm application

Now let's talk more about Apple's three solutions in more detail.

Universal applications can span Intel and Apple Silicon platforms, but it may also be the most worrying part, because many Mac users are photographers or work in the film and television industry, and the Adobe software they rely on for survival is like Lightroom ( Neither fit within the year) nor Photoshop (fit next year) can not be launched immediately.

According to the previous performance on DTK (Developer Tools Kit), Adobe currently prohibits all software from being installed on Apple Silicon. Obviously, Adobe officials still need time to make some adaptations.

Why can many applications be adapted to Apple Silicon in the first place, while productivity software like Photoshop, which is close to the Mac just needed, has to wait until next year? According to some information found , Adobe’s software such as photoshop began to use Intel’s mathematical function library Intel Math Kernel Library and other hardware acceleration functions in 2019, so let alone running on Apple Silicon, it actually runs on There will be some problems on AMD processors.

This also shows a certain limitation, that is, software that relies on the characteristics of Intel processors is difficult to immediately adapt to Apple Silicon, and the larger the size, the more likely software that involves multiple computing models depends on Intel processors. .

Apple should be aware of this problem, so there should be time reserved for these software developers, but heavy Photoshop users will definitely not buy Mac products equipped with Apple Silicon in the first place.

The second solution is an application recompiled by Rosett2. This is an official Apple tool that can translate applications compiled on the x86 architecture into Arm architecture applications. For most lightweight applications, because it does not involve the characteristics of the processor, it can be easily translated into applications that Apple Silicon can run, or even some relatively large 3D games.

The problem with this approach is that the application will lose a certain amount of performance after translation, and the amount of this loss may be a matter of concern to many people.

Since there are not enough samples now, it is difficult to say how much performance will be lost on average, but the performance of some specific benchmarking software can indeed be quantified and presented, such as GeekBench that Apple often uses.

On the DTK with A12Z, the Geekbench 5 single-core running score after Rosetta2 translation is about 840 points, and the multi-core score is more than 2900 points. Compared with the performance of running scores on the native iOS platform, the performance has dropped by about 25%, which is close to the level of i7-4700HQ. However, the M1 chip will only be stronger, and because there are many running software projects, some sub-projects cannot be translated normally and the performance loss is relatively large. There should be no need to worry about the software performance after the actual translation.

For example, IINA, the best player software on macOS, has been determined to run Rosetta 2 perfectly, and the Canary version of Chrome has been able to open and load web pages normally.

The last is the native software developed for iOS and iPad. Through DTK testing, these native applications will be able to run on Macs using the Arm architecture in a nearly unobstructed manner.

There are two problems that are most likely to occur. The first is that touch-based operations may not be suitable for the desktop keyboard and mouse environment, and developers need to make certain adjustments. The second is how to deal with windows in the desktop environment. In other respects, Apple has cleared away obstacles.

Think about it. In the future, you can directly use the mouse and keyboard to play "Glory of the King" and "Peace Elite" on your Mac. The WeChat client has also become full-featured. Mini programs and Moments can be perfectly presented and wearable. Devices and smart home devices of different brands can be easily controlled by simply opening the app on iOS. If you are bored, you can use Tik Tok on your computer.

Although these can also be done on the Windows + Android emulator, anyway you know that it is just a simulation of the mobile phone environment, not a real ecology, and it is completely different in essence.

A truly integrated ecology is enough to make people excited.

All in all, Apple has basically filled in the pits that you might encounter when you switch to the Arm platform. From the performance of DTK that many developers have used for a period of time, performance and compatibility are also All were much better than expected.

Another big victory for mobile

What I said earlier is only for individual users whether there is software used, which software can be used, and which software may need to wait for the release of the Universal version.

But now we zoom in and look at the impact of Apple Silicon on the entire Apple ecosystem.

At this point, the focus that needs to be focused is not on which applications cannot be used, but on which more applications can be used. Obviously, the huge ecosystem of iOS will soon be migrated to the Mac, which is more milestone than switching the processor architecture itself.

Although it cannot be said that Apple has completed the "great unification" at this moment, this process is not only more thorough than Microsoft and Google, but also far exceeds previous attempts in terms of possibility and process speed.

Five years ago, Microsoft first demonstrated the win10 Universal App platform at MWC 2015, and wanted to run a unified and universal application on platforms such as Windows 10 Mobile/Surface/PC/Xbox/HoloLens, namely UWP applications (Universal Windows Platform).

Unifying three screens (computers, TVs, mobile phones,) plus one cloud (Azure) for the unification, this was what Microsoft wanted to do at the time. At that time, Microsoft's ambitions were great, and it once gave people hope, but in the end this dream was too vain. In terms of hardware, Microsoft is losing ground on the mobile terminal, and Microsoft does not have enough control over software. As a result, there was no news of this plan after a little splash.

Google is contrary to Microsoft in some cases. Android is prosperous enough on the mobile side, but the hardware hasn’t even been built for tablets, let alone the desktop environment. Google is also trying to make Chrome OS support Android applications in the Play Store to increase usability, but the overall situation is only shrinking in the education market, and it does not impress ordinary consumers.

What Apple is doing today is what Google couldn't do, what Microsoft wanted to do but failed. Another big difference between Apple and Microsoft is that this is an attack on the mobile terminal. The iOS ecosystem has far surpassed macOS in terms of scale and completeness, and applications on iOS will have a huge impact on the Mac in the future.

▲ The Mac version is priced at $9.99, which is twice that of the iOS version

For example, for apps on both macOS and iOS, the price of Mac apps is generally two or three times higher than that of iOS. This is partly because the apps on the Mac side need to be re-developed, leading to higher development costs. iOS apps can run directly on the Mac. Developers only need to fine-tune the UI and operations to run high-quality apps on the Mac at a very low cost.

Will the price of Mac apps drop in the future? Is it a one-time payment for mobile and desktop or how is it calculated? Can the apps purchased on the Mac be used seamlessly on the iPhone without having to pay again? In short, what kind of vitality the new application ecology will show has made people unavoidable to wonder.

▲Project Catalyst. Picture from:

And letting Mac run iOS and iPad applications is actually what Apple has been working hard to do. For example, at WWDC 2019, Apple launched Project Catalyst to better port iPad applications to Mac.

The changes in the design language of macOS Big Sur are obviously also affected by iOS, and the entire design style has become more unified. For example, the control center interface has been quite similar to the iPhone. This is a preparation for the migration of the iOS ecosystem.

It can be said that this is another big victory for the mobile terminal.

▲ Picture from: Popular Science

In the past, when we talked about the importance of the mobile terminal, we often said that the mobile terminal traffic has surpassed the desktop terminal. The applications and ecology of the mobile terminal have been huge and prosperous, but there has always been a gap between desktop and mobile. No one can truly cannibalize and replace the existence of the "Chu River and Han Realm."

Now it can be said that the best mobile system ecology in the world will eat away part of the desktop environment through its own energy. This is not to replace desktop office with mobile office, nor to replace computers with mobile phones, but the migration of application ecology. It can be said to be fusion, but I prefer to think of it as iOS eating macOS in one bite.

▲ Webpage vs App. Image from: jmexclusives

In fact, the desktop ecosystem has been "deliberately" weakened in recent years. For example, many websites have deliberately missing web-side functions, and people have to use mobile terminals to operate. For example, the most convenient way to log in to accounts on most web pages has changed. It has become a scan code through the app, etc., and some popular mobile applications do not even have a desktop portal.

All these have caused the desktop environment to deteriorate step by step. Not only does the application ecology develop slowly, and can only guard the webpage, but now even the web portal is gradually reduced. As the once most popular personal entertainment terminal, nowadays, besides playing some large-scale online games And outside the office is dull.

And Apple's "great unification" measure is not only a "breaking wrist", but also a "new life" infused with vitality. Although this was achieved within Apple's own ecology, it was achieved for the first time in history. You can even watch Until Apple is pushing a huge wheel forward, only Apple can do so at this stage.

Perhaps the first generation of Macs equipped with Apple Silicon processors have many pitfalls that we did not expect, but Apple’s attempt to change the boring desktop computer market itself is not more interesting than the iPhone 12?

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