The newest version of macOS includes a lot of exciting features, but some of them are only compatible with the new M1 silicon. It's a little strange, given that M1 Macs only account for a small percentage of Apple's user base. It seems unwise to abandon Intel-based Mac users.
Apple shines at publicizing its new hardware and software. Craig Federighi demonstrated this ability as the opening keynote speaker for Apple's WWDC 2021 conference. In macOS Monterey, features like Live Text, Universal Control, and detailed 3D maps were highlighted as must-haves. There is, however, a catch.
Many of Monterey's hype-worthy features are incompatible with Intel-based Macs, which Federighi did not mention during the announcement. This truth was discovered after reading the fine print footnotes on Apple's Monterey preview website, which was published on Monday following the presentation.
While the latest version of the Mac operating system will work on earlier Intel Macs, several features, such as those stated above, will be missing, with the exception of Universal Control. Apple also listed the following as incompatible:
- FaceTime's portrait mode
- The interactive globe in Maps
- No-time-limit on-device dictation
While this isn't a deal-breaker, it's disappointing that Monterey's full capability will be limited to those having M1 Macs. The first Macs with in-house silicon came in the fall of last year, and Apple has yet to transition the rest of its range to the new SoCs, though they are working quickly to do so. Customers that have just purchased or slightly older hardware have less motivation to upgrade to Monterey now.
Monterey does, after all, come with several other amazing features. When an app uses your microphone, Control Center now displays a recording indicator. The Shortcuts function for automating tasks, as well as "AirPlay to Mac," will operate with Intel chips. However, unlike the others, Federighi did not proclaim these as "must-haves."
Apple is clearly aiming macOS toward the future of its devices. That's just a shame the company did so when just a small portion of its user base can benefit from it.