Apple Sent Out an Ad for Apps That Some People Can’t Run

 

Apple Sent Out an Ad for Apps That Some People Can’t Run

And that really upset someone in my family

An app that only works on M1 Macs
Screenshot of a “Requires M1 chip” app

If you’ve allowed Apple to send you email about new products and services, you may have seen a recent email with the subject “Apps to improve your day”. The email listed several apps and invited you to check them out in the App Store.

Screenshot by author

Someone in my family was attracted by the “Impulse” app and decided to download it. Unfortunately, he cannot, as his Mac is a 2020 iMac — an Intel Mac — and the Impulse app needs an M1 architecture.

He felt that Apple was baiting him to upgrade.

I suppose that’s somewhat true. Apple would always like you to upgrade, but in this case, I think the ad was doing what it appeared to be doing: telling you about some IOS and Mac apps you might be interested in.

Unfortunately, some of those apps cannot run on Intel.

My initial reaction was that there cannot be many apps that require M1. Why would developers restrict themselves like that? Maybe in some rare cases their app might really need the power of the M1, but that would be very unusual.

Thinking about it more, I realized that it makes sense: if a developer has an iPhone/iPad app now, it’s relatively easy to make an M1 App from that code, but much harder to make an Intel version. So those apps are from developers who already had IOS apps and said “Well heck, we might as well make the M1 version!”

Apple promised as much when they introduced the M1. I remember listening to and reading some pundits who had some doubt that turning an IOS app into a Mac app would be as easy as Apple implied and I shrugged and dismissed the whole idea from my mind. But apparently it can be pretty easy as here we are: several of the apps offered in that ad can only run on IOS or M1 Macs.

From the developer’s point of view, there’s not much to lose. They invest a small amount of effort and maybe pick up some extra sales. They probably gave no thought at all to someone like my family member who would be disgruntled by their exclusion of his quite new hardware.

Apple should have given this more thought. I don’t mean that they shouldn’t send out the ad, but that they might have offered some disclosure about the apps that are not universal binaries. The Intel apps that have not yet been converted to run on both platforms are not an issue; they will still work on M1’s with perhaps some rare footnotes, but these converted IOS apps are a different story. A little asterisk and a tiny-type note might have upset my relative a little less.

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this little kerfluffle.

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