Apple nailed the transition to M1 Apple Silicon. Why are so many Mac developers blowing it?


Apple’s transition away from Intel processors to Apple Silicon for the Mac has, so far, been a stellar success, earning rave reviews even from the harshest of critics and skeptics. And yet some major Mac software makers have dropped the ball. What’s going on?

Baby steps

Nearly a month and a half later, some major apps have debuted on the M1, but the vast majority of those mentioned in our last feature remain without M1 support.

Apple’s M1 chip — which powers the company’s latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini systems — did see another victory last week when Adobe officially launched its industry-leading photo editing software Photoshop built entirely for Apple Silicon. And by Adobe’s own account, the process was pretty straightforward.

Mark Dahm, principal product manager for Photoshop, said in an interview with Computer World that Apple’s “significant investment in the developer toolchain and experience” made it a “smooth” experience for the Adobe team.

And even before Photoshop became M1 native, Apple’s Rosetta 2 code — which allows legacy Intel apps to run on M1 chips — bought Adobe some time. In Dahm’s own words, Photoshop in Rosetta was “running as fast, or even faster than on previous systems.”

Sounds like a win all around, right? Not so fast.

Still missing

While Photoshop and Lightroom on the M1 natively are major milestones for Apple’s move to the next generation, there are a number of high-profile laggards that have yet to release native M1 apps. These include household names like Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Skype, Spotify, Kindle, Trello, and Evernote, just to name a few.

And while Adobe has made strides, its most popular app — Acrobat, used for reading PDFs — has yet to see M1 support. InDesign, InCopy, Illustrator, After Effects and other key components of the Adobe family of apps remain reliant on Rosetta 2.

Photoshop’s M1 launch also has its share of issues, with key features like Quick Share and Preset Syncing not available. Known bugs also include exporting SVG files, and multi-app workflows like copying and pasting from Lightroom to Photoshop.

Power users might want to put an asterisk next to claims of native M1 support for…

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