Enlarge /. The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro with macOS.
When Apple announced plans to move the Mac to its own ARM-based silicon and move away from the x86 architecture used in Intel Macs, the company listed a variety of tools to ensure that as many applications as possible survived the change . While it is helpful that Apple provides developer tools to customize Intel Mac apps and virtualization tools to run apps that cannot be changed immediately, there is a scenario that Apple didn't talk about in its keynote at all: run Windows natively on a Mac.
Apple currently offers a tool called Boot Camp in macOS that makes it easier to install Windows on a different drive or partition directly under macOS. It contains drivers and other benefits that make the process much easier than would otherwise be the case. Once users install Windows using this method, they run it natively on the computer, just like on a Windows laptop from Dell or Lenovo.
While virtualization using tools like Parallels or VMWare is usually enough to run most Windows apps on macOS, there are a few marginal cases where the Boot Camp approach is the only option. One of the most common: Run Windows PC games that tend to run better on Windows than on MacOS, regardless of how good the ports are. (This is partly because the games were developed on Windows and also because Apple's MacOS video drivers emphasize different priorities.)
So what's coming from Boot Camp in Big Sur, Apple's next version of macOS? And will there be an option on Macs running Apple Silicon – the first one is expected to hit the market later this year?
We have learned that Boot Camp does not work on Apple silicon-based Macs. This will surely come as no surprise to almost anyone. You can't expect to run a game on a completely different architecture from scratch.
However, Boot Camp is still supported on Intel-based Macs in macOS 11 Big Sur. And while Apple says the transition from Intel to Apple silicon will take about two years, Apple has announced plans to launch new Intel-based Macs that have not even been announced yet. The company also committed to long-term support for Intel Macs.
We don't know the fate of Boot Camp beyond Big Sur, but it looks like it won't go anywhere in the near future – at least not if you're using an Intel Mac. Boot Camp isn't an option for you when you buy an Apple Silicon Mac – but you've probably figured that out already. Still, clarification is nice to have, so here it is.