Apple has said that it will continue to support Intel Macs for years to come, but many of the best new features in macOS Monterey will only work on Apple Silicon. And so they should.
Apple rightly has a solid reputation for supporting older devices – and far more so than other tech companies. Tim Cook also publicly pledged to support Intel-based Macs even after the company has completed its transition to Apple Silicon.
This is fine and appropriate. But so is this: Apple is already leaving Intel behind with new features that are exclusive to the M1 and what follows.
The goal of moving away from Intel was to create new Macs that could do what previous models couldn’t.
Looking at the macOS Monterey features that Apple Silicon will require, it appears they are required due to hardware changes. Perhaps some also have to do with marketing and show that Apple Silicon Macs are better.
But in all the cases that we know of so far, technology seems to be the reason. It’s all about the overall performance as well as the processing power.
Capture images and objects
You may or may not like the blurry backgrounds on FaceTime calls, but if you 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, the Mac M1s will be able to use Live Text on macOS Monterey. With any image, whether it’s on a website you’re browsing or with your own photos from five years ago, the Mac M1s can read the text there.
That’s an intensive pattern recognition that is done on the device.
On the device representation
In contrast to image recognition, Apple requires that you use a Mac M1 for all images that are created for the new Apple Maps features.
Intel Macs will certainly be able to show you directions and the same level of detail that we have now. But all the tremendous extras like rendered elevations and city exploration that we’re getting with macOS Monterey won’t be on Intel.
The exclusivity of the M1 is also not limited to the updated features. The new Object Capture, where users can perform 3D scans of items, will not be available on Mac Intel.
Siri and dictation on the device
You can currently dictate in Siri on a Mac for about a minute. From macOS Monterey onwards, there will be no time limit at all, as long as it is on M1 or later.
That’s partly because dictation will now be done on the device. But in addition to hearing better, the Mac M1s will also speak better in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish.
Forgetting Intel Macs
It would be nice 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 main presentation to include a footnote with an asterisk.
So this is not a change for Apple, but it is a clear marker of how quickly the Intel era will no longer be catered for.
That’s not so great for users who currently rely on Intel for specific workflows. It’s terrible for users who rely on Boot Camp or virtualization solutions.
If you’re in those groups, it’s easy to get bitter about it. But the change is beneficial to the vast majority of current Mac users, almost all future changers, and brings visible benefits that we have not seen before.
When Apple moved the Mac to Intel, it got us faster Macs, but not what we might call surprisingly new or updated features. Of course, aside from virtualization or using Windows natively on a Mac.
Going back to 2021, the processing power of Apple Silicon M1 is already enabling what Tim Cook promised at WWDC 2020. Cook was clear that “when we make bold changes, it is for a simple but powerful reason: so that we can make much better products. . “
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