New benchmarks and details about iPhone and iPad apps emerge from Apple Silicon Macs

At WWDC last month, Apple officially detailed its plans to transition the Mac lineup to custom Apple Silicon processors. As part of that, Apple seeded a Transition Kit to developers, offering a Mac mini powered by the A12Z processor.

New details have leaked today, offering a closer look at the performance of the Developer Transition Kit, as well as new details on how iOS and iPadOS apps will look on the Mac.

Apple Developer Transition Kit benchmarks

The first benchmarks surfaced from the Developer Transition Kit Mac mini last month, but these benchmarks were performed under virtualization, using Apple’s Rosetta technology. Running through Rosetta will hurt performance, even though Apple touts that it is far more capable than previous virtualization technology.

New benchmarks have leaked today that show the Developer Transition Kit running Geekbench 5 Pro natively on the Mac mini — meaning that performance should not be affected by virtualization. This was allegedly done by booting into recovery, turning security features off, and codesigning apps.

The results show a single-core score of 1098 and a multi-core score of 4555. This compares to the non-native of 800 on the single-core test and 2600 on multi-core. For comparison, the entry-level $999 2020 MacBook Air achieves a Geekbench score of 1005 on single-core and 2000 on multi-core.

Again, what’s important to remember here is that the Developer Transition Kit is purely meant for developers to port their apps. The hardware Apple ships to customers will certainly feature even more powerful processors — and we expect the first Apple Silicon Mac later this year.

iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac

On Twitter, Steve Troughton-Smith has also offered some details on how iOS and iPadOS apps will work on Apple Silicon Macs. Smith explains that there are a “series of compatibility behaviors applied to iOS apps running unmodified on macOS.”

Smith explains that these compatibility behaviors make iPhone and iPad apps “more likely to work” out of the box when a developer simply ticks the Mac checkbox without making other optimizations. Smith writes:

There are a series of compatibility behaviors applied to iOS apps running unmodified on macOS, makes them a lot more likely to work out of the box than if the developer had just ticked the Mac checkbox and nothing else. They are told they’re running on an iPad running iOS 14, too.

With the previously missing deprecated frameworks, like OpenGLES, and classes, like UIWebView, now back in macOS, a lot of apps should ‘just work’. These things weren’t relevant to the Catalyst SDK before, but they’re relevant now.

Smith uses Overcast and Procreate as two examples of iPad and iPhone apps running on the Mac:

You can read more details in Steve Troughton-Smith’s full thread right here.

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Apple Silicon

Apple Silicon is Apple's new lineup of processors for the Mac platform. It was announced in 2020 with the first Macs appearing at Apple's "One More Thing" event in November 2020. The first was the M1, and it first appeared in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

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Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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