Why You can’t Install Virtual Windows on Mac with Apple Silicon
Rosetta 2, a simultaneous translator built into macOS Big Sur, will save Mac users from the difficulties and dangers of switching to processors of a different architecture. Apple promises that users will not notice anything at all. And in the next two years, during this transition, and later, for several years, on Macs with Apple Silicon applications written for Intel Macs will magically start and work. But there will be exceptions: Rosetta 2, roughly speaking, does not support applications for other Intel platforms. On Macs, neither VMWare, nor Parallels, nor even Boot Camp will work with Apple Silicon. Installing on such a Mac Windows or some Linux (for Intel) will become much more difficult – almost impossible. If you recall what they wrote about Macs on ARM in recent months (or even years), this is not even a gamble, it is suicide. Apple executives don’t look like suicides – what’s going on?
There are very many (I don’t know the exact number, but Apple keeps track of the situation and knows it, they just don’t consider it necessary to disclose it) Mac users need virtualization programs to work (there simply aren’t any programs or programs for their purpose or level for macOS) or cool advanced games (under Windows on Macs, the self-preservation instinct weakens, and they lose their heads). As soon as the very first rumors arose about Apple’s plans to break with Intel and switch to its own processors also on Macs, a network panic began. There were horror stories about Macs, which were transferred to toy chips from the iPhone, and are rapidly dying out.
Those who are in pain and illness are always audible than those who are doing well. Fifteen years ago, switching to Intel seemed to almost free Macs from years of imprisonment. True, in those years, Intel was different than now, and Core, its new architecture, combining RISC inside with the most common x86 interface in the world (CISC), was a miracle how good. Judging by the decision Apple made, in reality in today’s world things are not as we imagined. Or are they, at Apple, idiots and adventurers, acting at random, turning the company into the richest IT company in the world. At the close of yesterday’s trading on the NASDAQ, Apple had a market capitalization of $ 1.59 trillion. Microsoft at that time had a capitalization of 1.53 trillion.
What is Apple Rosetta 2?
In 1799, near the Egyptian city of Rashid (which was then called Rosetta), a slab was found with identical text in Greek and Egyptian, which was in two versions: written in cursive (almost alphabetically) and hieroglyphs. And thanks to this find, the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt were deciphered. In 2005, in honor of this stone, Apple named a program that translated (on the fly) PowerPC application code into Intel’s x86 code, which is why many users did not notice the transition of Macs from PowerPC processors to Intel.
There were problems with Rosetta in the early days – but there were few of them and they were fixed with incredible speed. And when the transition was over, for a few more years Rosetta was included in the new versions of Mac OS X, and your favorite old programs, which were never and never will be, continued to work. Slower than on PowerPC, but at an acceptable speed. And now – a new transition, and a new Rosetta with an index of 2, which is increasingly forgotten to indicate.
Writing new programs like this, with machine code in ARM64, is not too difficult (but whether Rosetta 2 will work with Windows, Linux, or programs for them is a question), but neither VMWare nor Parallels will definitely be there, and Boot Camp will simply will not be on macOS 11 (Big Sur) for Apple Silicon. In addition, Rosetta 2 is not friends with x86_64 kernel extensions and with code that uses the new instruction sets and new Intel processor functions – in particular, the AVX, AVX2 and AVX512 vector instruction sets – but this does not outrage anyone. This is normal and understandable.
How Rosetta 2 behaves in real life, we will not know soon. At the end of the year, if all goes well, and the insidious COVID-19 (or some COVID-20) will not intervene in the company’s plans. Surely everything will be fine with her. Problems and problems are inevitable, but in the main strategic direction they are usually eliminated immediately and at any cost, sometimes even several times (because rush is evil). I only note that to teach her to refuse to translate virtualization programs was most likely much more difficult than to allow her to simply and unconstrainedly transfer them to ARM64. This was done intentionally.
What will happen to Intel after Apple Silicon
Apple brought Intel, according to indirect data, about 10% of its revenue. You can survive the loss of such a client (absurd and incredibly demanding), and even, although it is not too simple, compensate in some new scope for Intel. But the problem is that Intel’s defeats will not be limited to this: its processors are still the best in various parameters – but the x86 architecture seems to be outdated. She really has been for many years.
Perhaps this is precisely the reason for the Intel “black band”, from which it cannot get out of it. Microsoft was the first to leave Intel in 2012. Windows RT, for ARM processors, was unsuccessful. Since 2016, Microsoft, together with Qualcomm, has been developing Windows versions for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 (and other Snapdragon 8cx), and this time it is doing better – at least ARM computers are more economical than Intel computers at times. With performance so far not very.
Laptops with ARM processors inside are made by Microsoft (Surface Pro X), Lenovo (C630), Samsung (Galaxy Book2), and others. The situation froze at the point of instability. And at any moment, some event can push it forward or backward – and Windows 10 for Snapdragon 8cx already exists. And on ARM processors with high performance, all this can become a reason for transferring the most important Windows applications to it, and there will also appear a field of activity for VM applications. The near future is for ARM if someone or something does not breathe new life into x86.