Rosetta 2 is Apple’s key to making the ARM transition less painful

Apple CEO Tim Cook in front of a silicon wafer platterApple CEO Tim Cook in front of a silicon wafer platter | Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

Earlier this week, on what Tim Cook called a “historic day,” Apple announced that it’s moving Macs away from Intel processors to its own silicon chips. The first Mac with Apple silicon is coming by the end of 2020, but Apple expects the full transition process to take two years.

The new Macs will use arm64, the same CPU architecture that recent iOS devices use (Intel-based Macs use an architecture called x86-64). That’s an exciting move, because it means that they’ll be able to run iOS and iPadOS apps alongside those made for macOS. But it also means that apps that were developed for Intel’s architecture originally won’t run natively on Apple’s upcoming hardware.

That’s where Rosetta 2 comes in: It’s an emulator built into macOS Big Sur…

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