You may have read about apps offering ‘native support for Apple silicon (M1) devices’, but what does that actually mean for you?
In the below post, we cover some of the questions you may have about the new Apple M1 chip.
Do I need to know about Apple silicon (M1)?
First, any discussion about the Apple M1-based Macs are only applicable to macOS users; Windows users can safely tune out.
Second, if your Mac was purchased before November 2020, it won’t have an Apple M1 chip. But if you’ve purchased a new Mac since November 2020, you may have an Apple M1-based Mac.
What is the Apple M1 chip?
The M1 is the first Apple silicon chip to power a production Mac. While the Apple M1 chip is the first personal computer System on a Chip (SoC) built using a 5 nanometer processor with 16 billion transistors, those chip-level details don’t help us understand how it works in a Mac. What you want to know are the key user benefits of the M1—performance and power usage improvements.
It’s interesting that Apple uses the same M1 chip to power the iPad Pro, the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Mac mini, and the 24-inch iMac. The key difference between each is the form factor (tablet, laptop, or desktop).
It’s also important to note that only the 16-inch MacBook Pro, 27-inch iMac and Mac Pro remain as systems that use Intel processors. If Apple executes their transition from Intel processors to Apple silicon on time, these remaining systems will be powered by Apple chips sometime between now and mid- to late-2022.
How can I tell what processor (architecture) my Mac uses?
You can find this out easily by clicking the Apple menu and selecting About this Mac from the pop-up menu options. A dialogue will appear, displaying an overview of your Mac device. If your Mac is built on Intel architecture, you’ll see both Processor and Graphics details listed (and ‘Intel’ somewhere in the description). If your Mac uses an Apple processor, the listed details are slightly different. Instead of Processor and Graphics, you’ll see Chip, and ‘Apple M1’ next to it.
What does native Apple M1 support mean?
This relates to how software runs on your computer. Software runs in either native mode, or emulation mode:
Native mode refers to the ‘normal’ running mode of a computer. Apps that have been developed to run on a specific processor and are actually run on that processor, can say that they ‘run natively’. For example, in June 2021, Adobe announced that InDesign (16.3+) will run natively on Apple silicon-powered Macs, and that users will see a ‘59 percent improvement on overall performance on Apple silicon.’1
Emulation mode refers to the operational state in which a computer runs an app that was written for a different hardware architecture.
Rosetta is an emulator built into macOS Big Sur (version 11) that allows apps designed for an Intel processor to run on Macs with an Apple M1 chip.
Software that runs natively always performs faster compared with emulation.
What are universal apps? Are your plug-ins working with them?
In addition to Rosetta, which enables running legacy Intel-based applications on Macs with an Apple M1 chip, Apple also supports “universal” applications, which can run natively on both Intel processors and Apple chips. Adobe InDesign 16.3 is the first universal version of InDesign. As a universal app, InDesign can run either natively, or using Rosetta for compatibility with third-party plug-ins that don’t yet natively support Apple silicon.
So while you may be hoping for that ‘59 percent improvement on overall performance’ increase when using InDesign 16.3 or later on your new M1-based Mac, if your InDesign plug-ins haven’t also been updated to run natively on the Apple architecture yet, you’ll have to run InDesign using Rosetta instead. Errors occur when there is a mix of plug-in architectures.
If InDesign, or any other app, doesn’t recognize a plug-in, extension, or other add-on, quit the app, Get Info on the app in the Finder, select the Open using Rosetta setting, and try again.
So here comes the big question…
Do Typefi products natively support Apple silicon devices?
This is an exciting point in time for us here at Typefi and we’re proud to say that some Typefi products do support Apple devices with Apple silicon M1 processors.
The recent Typefi Designer 8.7.2, Typefi AutoFit 8.7.2, and Typefitter 5.0.1 releases all deliver native support for InDesign 16.3+ on Apple computers with the Apple M1 processor, for a faster running experience. The release notes for Typefi Designer, Typefi AutoFit and Typefitter can all be found in the Typefi Help Centre.
Make sure to also check out the compatibility of all Typefi products with macOS Big Sur and Apple silicon, and enjoy faster Typefi apps running in native mode on Apple M1 devices.
We hope this has shed some light on what Apple silicon is and what the release of the Apple M1 chip means for you!
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