Apple silicone was the most relevant announcement of the WWDC 2020 keynote. A hardware program that will replace Intel x86 processors Used on Macs by a new RISC architecture under ARM licenses.
Apple will specifically design its own developments for Mac in the same way that it does with its mobile devices and will commission its manufacture to a “neutral” company such as foundrie TSMC. Or the same Samsung, an end that Apple has not clarified for this program that will last two years.
The concrete result is that Apple will stop using Intel processors in its computers. The move brought some confusion about whether Macs would remain compatible with some Intel technologies like the recently announced Thunderbolt 4.
Apple silicone and Thunderbolt 4
The Cupertino giant has guaranteed its support in a statement to The Verge: «More than a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it on Macs under Apple Silicon«.
We had little doubt. Apple was the first company to start integrating Thunderbolt into 2011 MacBooks, and today, virtually all of its laptops include Thunderbolt 3 ports. On the other hand, Intel shared Thunderbolt 3 specifications with USB-IF, allowing the rest of manufacturers can use it without royalty payment or -even- that it is used on a platform without Intel processors such as Apple silicone.
It would be expected that Apple would also support USB 4, an interface connected to Thunderbolt. USB 4.0 will unite both in a very interesting development for industry and consumers. On the one hand, USB is the peripheral interconnect port most important in the industry and the most widespread, reaching tens of billions of devices across the electronic, technological and communications fields.
On the other hand, the Thunderbolt proposed by Intel is the most advanced connector in the industry in terms of performance, with an input / output technology based on silicon photonics, but under optical communication, which provides greater capacity and speed. It was clear that Apple would not stop supporting it, even if it does not use its processors.