Intel Macs’ lack of an equivalent to the M1’s Neural Engine may be to blame.
A page on Apple’s website has revealed that several features of macOS Monterey, the new version of the software that runs on Macs, won’t work on legacy Macs with Intel processors.
Rather, those features will require the Apple-designed M1 chip (or presumably its upcoming successors) found in new Macs the company has introduced since late last year.
That means that the following Macs in Apple’s current lineup will be needed to use the features in question:
- 13-inch MacBook Air
- 24-inch iMac
- Low-end configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro
- Low-end configurations of the Mac mini
The clarification appears in the fine print on Apple’s “macOS Monterey Preview” page. Meanwhile, some listed features are associated with a footnote that reads”Available on Mac computers with the M1 chip.”
These features include:
- Live Text in photographs, whereby users may interact with text within images as if they were any other text
- Improved city maps for San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London
- The high-detail world view for Apple Maps
- The Portrait mode video result
- Natural text-to-speech in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish
- Unlimited/continuous keyboard dictation
Some of them (by way of example, Live Text) are probably explained by the fact that the chipsets in Intel Macs lack a workable equivalent to the 16-core Neural Engine NPU present on Apple’s M1. This component of the M1 is focused on machine-learning tasks and is drastically faster at those tasks than anything in the Intel Macs.
Apple has put a heavy emphasis on attributes enabled by system learning. Several months back, we interviewed Apple head of AI John Giannandrea, that had defected from Google to Apple to direct the development of attributes like handwriting recognition on the iPad. Throughout the interview, Giannandrea place the anticipation that on-device ML would be at the core of several new features from the Apple ecosystem moving forward. And without a viable NPU, he explained, Intel Macs are being left behind.
Aside from the enhanced picture quality of the 24-inch iMac‘s M1 ISP-driven FaceTime camera, this is the first time we have encounter a good illustration of the M1 Macs offering more than improved performance and power efficiency.
This revelation comes in a time when just Some of the Mac lineup has yet b