Apple Mac goes ARM with BIG SUR

It’s official: today at the WWDC 2020 (Worldwide Developers Conference) Apple announced that their Macs are moving away from Intel, and have begun transitioning to their custom Apple ARM cpus: Apple Silicon.

Developer Transition Kits (Mac Mini + A12Z SoC, 16GB, 512GB SSD + BIG SUR) are made available to developers to help them make their apps universal.

Helping the transition to ARM cpus is Rosetta 2. Apple was showing Maya running on Apple Silicon. Adobe and Microsoft have been working on transitioning their consumer products (CC suite and Office) to Apple Silicon, and Photoshop was shown running.

Apple also presented BIG SUR (MacOS verson 11), which sports a redesigned GUI - one that seems to eerily resemble iOS, and validates the notion that Apple intends to unify the GUI design language between iOS and MacOS.

I am left to wonder if this means the end of FOSS on MacOS, all they have to do to ban Blender, Krita, GIMP, and other apps. is “update” the license for their technology so it is incompatible with open licenses (which this new era would be a great time for). That is not to mention it would also be an opportunity for Apple to mandate the MacOS store as the only place to legally get apps. for their new machines.

FOSS devs. are already facing a mountain of work (ie. overhauling every piece of drawing code) just to ensure their apps. can even still run on the Mac. in the future, but this will theoretically allow them to not only raise the walls of their garden, but add a roof as well (which they might do if they think they can get away with it).


Personally I don’t mind the switch to a different CPU architecture. It reminds me of earlier 8bit times and 16 bit times.

But I can’t see this helping Macs compete with over-powered Windows and Linux Intel machines. Time will tell.

That name, though. I laughed out loud when I first encountered “BIG SUR”. That truly must the most ugly (or silliest) name ever to grace an operating system. Initially I thought someone had made an April 1st joke, but no: it is the actual name of MacOS 11. I guess whoever came up with that moniker at the branding department at Apple must have been influenced (consciously or subconsciously) by a certain POTUS’s bombastic use of superlatives. Sign of the times? Who knows.

Also not a fan of over-sized icons and GUI components as seen in this version. Just gets in the way of actual work. Great for the iOS consumer mass market, though. I can’t see this being supportive for creative professionals, though.

I agree that this might be the final nail in the coffin for many developers, though. That said, developers tend to be a curious bunch, and throwing them a new chunk of custom hardware might actually be very attractive.

Again, time will tell.

That name though… BIG SUR. Makes it easy to name the next release, however: BIGGER SUR. SURELY BIGGER SUR. BIGGEST SUR EVER. SURELY THE BIGGEST SUR. MAKE SUR BIGGER AGAIN.

Ugh. What a pain.

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Apple names OSX Versions after famous California landmarks and parks. El Capitan, Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur.

Prior to OSX versions were named after Big Cats.


Yes, I am aware of the name’s origin. Still sounds incredibly silly for an OS name, in my opinion. Some names sound good, others do not.

What’s in a name?

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Just watching the state of the union… It was told that they will provide patches for different open source projects, blender was among them…


How much more expensive will Apple products be now?

I look forward to the diversification of big tech. Maybe someday some prominent corporation that moved to one of the flyover states will give us product code names like Mount Rushmore or Abo Pueblo.

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Apple announced in their Platform State of the Union that they’ve already done the work majority of the to get Blender working on the new architecture.

Phew. Given how long it’s taken to get things like Eevee and Cycles working correctly with Metal (the latter still not really even having much of a start), I’m glad Apple took some initiative here.


“I am left to wonder if this means the end of FOSS on MacOS”

There is no indication that Apple want to stifle FOSS. I can’t imagine why you would think that. In fact, by the look of it, Apple are helping to port Blender to Apple Silicon.

Just watched the State of the Union for developers and It was nice to see them talk specifically to Open Source.

Also exciting to see Apple highlighted Blender when mentioning Open Source programs.
Exciting times!


thank goodness for the timing, blender has been making splashes in the industry the past year or so. and i say thank goodness for apple’s sake. if i was made to choose between apple and blender, blender would win by a country mile :stuck_out_tongue:

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There are too many programs I use that have made the jump to Metal that run better on Mac, for me to completely switch to Windows.
And with this news and what Octane X is promising it’s really not a concern anymore.

Normal Blender, minus rendering, has alway ran smoother for me on my Mac vs in Windows Bootcamp; similar to how Blender Linux runs better than Windows Blender. Animation playback and simulations are what I’m working with mostly.

But I won’t lie, I was getting close to making a dedicated PC purchase. :grimacing:

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I wouldn’t celebrate too early about Metal - according to the early developer documentation, the new Mac architecture will support OpenGL and OpenCL.

Let’s wait for the patches to arrive.

Interesting developments.

I’ve been a macOS Blenderhead for about 4 years, until early 2019. I enjoyed the hardware build quality, the comfortable OS and the ecosystem, although I do think Apple is more skilled in creating hardware than software. iCloud felt clumsy, apps like iOS Reminders sometimes didn’t update, the autocomplete feature sometimes didn’t synchronize properly between macOS and iOS, and some more quirks.

I was put off by the discontinuation of support for OpenGL, OpenCL and NVIDIA, which was not good for working with Blender on macOS (I could no more render on GPU with Cycles). I was also frustrated by some software being only available for Windows, including some Blender add-ons, simply because the developers had no macOS computer to test it.

So I returned to a Windows system. I’m satisfied with the recent Windows 10 versions, but my iMac screen was noticeably better than my PC screen, even though it is a very good screen. I was also surprised that ZBrush felt a little less responsive on my powerful new Windows PC system than on my comparatively mediocre iMac.

Speaking of ZBrush, I wonder how well that will work on the new ARM macs, as ZBrush relies heavily on CPU power, and was written for Intel CPUs. I can imagine that running ZBrush in ARM emulation mode will cause some speed-decreasing overhead, like running Blender on Metal with a Vulkan wrapper.

All in all, this is another step by Apple in creating more distance between the Apple ecosystem and other systems, such as Windows and Linux. This will undoubtedly cause a lot of hassle for both users and developers during the next few years, comparable with Apple’s transition from Motorola to PowerPC and PowerPC to Intel.

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The 68k->PPC transition happened in the 1990s. PPC->Intel started in 2005.

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I don’t think Apple is prepping Blender to run on Metal; that would be a pleasant surprise. :grimacing:
The lack of a full fledge render engine with GPU support for Macs is about to become a non-issue with the release of Octane X. Which is why I’m less concerned about switching.
I would still love to see a full port someday in the future.

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How does octane work for mac? Do you upload a file and have to pay for it?


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