Apple Macs will no longer be based on Intel processors to be based on “Apple Silicon”, or what is the same, Apple processors based on the ARM architecture. The consequences of this unique transition are many, but there is one already confirmed.
This is the native support of other operating systems to use those future Macs with them. At Apple they have confirmed that “we will not offer direct boot with an alternative operating system”, which will mean that we cannot use them natively (and officially) with Windows 10 or Linux.
Nothing to boot with Windows or Linux … officially
It was a foreseeable consequence of switching to their own chips, but no one would know how far that decision could go in systems like Boot Camp, which until now have allowed Apple users to use any Mac as a conventional Windows computer.
The same was true if a user wanted to install Linux, with various distributions prepared to be used natively on Intel-based Mac computers.
Things change now for those users. In The Verge they already pointed to the impossibility of using a hypothetical updated version of Boot Camp on ARM-based Macs, but Craig Federighi himself confirmed that fact during his participation in a talk with John Gruber, from Daring Fireball.
In this participation Federighi indicated that “it is not going to be able to directly boot an alternative operating system”. He does not rule out, however, that such operating systems cannot be used, but for this “pure virtualization is the way. Those hypervisors can be very efficient, so the need to have a direct boot should not worry anyone.”
Some experts are not so clear that virtualization is the solution, however. This developer did not trust and argued that hypervisors need to run the same architecture on the host and guest operating system. Otherwise, he said, the performance of the virtualized machine could be much slower, harming the entire user experience.
However, companies that develop virtualization software may adapt their applications in this regard, but here is another striking question: both Windows 10 and Linux have full versions ready to run on ARM architectures, so unless specific components have to be adapted Apple, perhaps someone ends up discovering ways to continue running these versions of Windows 10 and Linux on these machines natively.
Apple does not seem willing to offer support for this option, but it will be interesting to see how events unfold and if virtualization finally ends up being the only solution or only the only … official solution.