What it is: Apple Silicon represents the next platform shift in the computing world.
Back int he early days of computers, the first popular operating system was CP/M-80, running on Z80 processors made by a company called Zilog. For several years, the business computing world settled on CP/M-80 running on Z80 processors using software like WordStar and VisiCalc.
Z80 processors were technically known as 8-bit processors, which were just fine until Intel came along with the 8088 processor, which was a 16-bit processor that offered more power.
IBM adopted the 8088 processor for their IBM PC and paired it with two operating systems: CP/M-86 and PC-DOS. The expectation was that CP/M-86 would naturally be the successor to CP/M-80, but the cost of CP/M-86 was higher than PC-DOS, so PC-DOS became the new standard operating system for personal computing.
PC-DOS was actually designed as a CP/M-80 clone that Microsoft bought from an individual for $50,000. Then they turned this CP/M-80 clone into PC-DOS for IBM.
Intel eventually shifted to 32-bit processors with the 80386 processor. This provided more power that allowed PC-DOS to become MS-DOS, which eventually became Windows.
Originally, Windows needed MS-DOS to run but eventually Windows became its own operating system. Windows and Intel processors dominated the personal computing market for decades that everyone referred to this synergy as Wintel (Windows and Intel).
However, just as the world shifted from Z80 processors to Intel processors, so is the world now shifting from Intel processors to ARM-based processors. The basic idea behind ARM processors is that they far less power than Intel processors. However for the longest time, ARM processors could not compete in power with Intel processors. That’s why ARM processors were mostly used in mobile computers like smartphones and tablets that needed long battery life but didn’t need massive processing power.
That’s changing with Apple Silicon. Apple licenses ARM processors to create their own processors and Apple Silicon not only uses less energy than Intel processors, but also offers more power as well. With this combination of more power and less energy consumption, ARM processors are poised to take over the next wave of computing.
Apple is shifting the Macintosh to Apple Silicon, which will reportedly allow laptops to offer 15-20 hours of battery life compared to 10-12 hours of battery life for Intel processors. Given the choice between less power and less battery life (Intel) or more power and more battery life (ARM), it’s easy to see where the future is heading.
When the world shifted from Z80 processors to 8088 Intel processors, it also shifted operating systems. Now as the world shifts from Intel processors to ARM processors, it’s going to shift once more to a new operating system.
That new operating system may be macOS, iOS, or Android, but it won’t be Windows. Windows is still tied to Intel processors although Microsoft does offer a version fo Windows that runs on ARM processors. However, this version of Windows on ARM processors has not attracted third-party support and lacks compatibility with current Windows applications.
Apple can move away from Intel easily, but Microsoft cannot. That means each passing year will see Apple Silicon far surpassing Intel processors while macOS and iOS far surpass Windows in ease of use.
The future is mobile and wearable computing and the future is ARM. If you want a bright future, just follow the trends and the money.