Apple Silicon and what it means for Microsoft Office

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Apple is switching their Mac computers from Intel to their own in-house chipsets known as ‘Apple Silicon’. A change in CPU is a big deal and raises questions about compatibility with Microsoft Office.

The change from Intel to Apple CPU’s has been expected for some time and will take years to roll out to the public. 

No need to do anything now … Office for Mac users can keep working as they do now.

The change only applies to MacOS computers and laptops.  iPhone and iPad’s already use Apple made chipsets.

Apple has a plan for switching over to Apple Silicon devices.  Developers will be able to get test hardware soon but public sales of Mac computers and laptops with the new type CPU’s won’t be until next year.  Even then, there’s likely to be an overlap period where both Intel and Apple chip computers are on sale.

Apps can be updated by developers to work on both chipsets, so when/if a user changes hardware, their apps will continue working as before.

There are sure to be problems, any major change in hardware brings up glitches and incompatibilities.  The work developers need to do is usually underestimated and some apps won’t be updated at all.

Office on Apple Silicon

Happily, Microsoft is already on the case and working with Apple to ensure that Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will all work on Apple Silicon.

Apple demonstrated Office for Mac on Apple Silicon during their long WWDC2020 announcement video.  We’ve cued it up to the relevant part, to save you the trouble …

There’s no detail given.  Doubtless Microsoft 365 Office for Mac will be compatible with both Intel and Apple Silicon well before public release of the latter.

Presumably, Office 2019 for Mac will also be updated to support both chipsets. Microsoft might be tempted to weasel out of updating Office 2019 on some flimsy excuse, in the hope of encouraging users to switch to annual Microsoft 365 payments.  Redmond can prepare for a backlash if they try that.

Microsoft would help themselves and their customers by announcing specifics of their support for Apple Silicon in all the supported Office for Mac releases, 365, 2019 and 2016.

PowerPoint Layers aren’t new.

The Apple demo shows off the layer display in PowerPoint.  That’s not unique to the Apple Silicon version of Office for Mac.

Layer display is nifty and already in the current PowerPoint 365 for Mac using Intel processors.

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