With a number of M1 Mac computers available, the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon is well over half done. While Apple is doing its best to support older Macs with software updates, switching to a new architecture still comes at an inevitable cost.
Intel-based Macs won't get multiple macOS Monterey features, including some of the biggest announcements from the WWDC21 keynote.
If all of the performance and battery life improvements haven't made you want to upgrade to an Apple Silicon Mac, you may lose important features. We're going to highlight all of the features you are missing out on when using an Intel Mac with Monterey.
1. Live text
One of the most important features of macOS Monterey is Live Text. You can select text directly from images and quickly paste it into other apps. Unfortunately, this breakthrough feature won't make it to Intel Macs.
You have to rely on OCR apps for Mac to do the job. However, it would have been much nicer if this function had been integrated. After all, Intel Macs are still on offer and the transition to Apple Silicon is about halfway through.
This makes it difficult to understand or justify the lack of this feature on Intel-based Apple computers.
2. Dictation on the device
The dictation function on Macs and iPhones is set for a massive improvement with macOS Monterey and iOS 15. These devices are dictated on the device. Whatever you speak is converted to text offline right on your Mac or iPhone.
Sounds great, doesn't it? We were also curious to find out that this feature is limited to M1 Macs as well. Do you have an Intel Mac? Forget offline dictation and good luck dealing with Apple's shaky servers while dictating.
If you're lucky enough to be able to use On-Device Dictation on your Mac, you'll be pleased to know that it supports a wide variety of languages.
According to Apple, dictation is available on the device in 13 different languages, including English (six different variants, including the UK and US), French, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese.
3. Continuous dictation
One of the most annoying limitations of server-based dictation on both Macs and iPhones is the fact that it is limited to 60 seconds. There were times when I preferred to speak rather than write on my Mac, and that limitation led me to abandon dictation for good.
macOS Monterey eliminates that 60 second timeout, and you can use the dictation on the device to dictate text for as long as you want. Well, that's only partially true.
As with every other feature in this article, this is limited to M1 Macs.
4. Neural text-to-speech voice
Excellent text-to-speech neural voice has been added to other languages in macOS Monterey. You can use it with Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish – as long as you have an M1 Mac.
Text-to-Speech still works in these languages on your Intel Mac, but it doesn't have the beautiful new voice.
5. FaceTime portrait mode
Most popular video calling and video conferencing apps allow you to blur the background during a video call. FaceTime also has this feature in macOS Monterey.
Except that this was only the case for M1 Macs. Once again, Intel-based Macs got the cold shoulder. To blur your background on video calls, all you need to do is use Google Meet or Zoom on your Intel Mac.
6. Interactive globe in Apple Maps
Apple Maps has some cool new features in macOS Monterey. One of these features is a beautiful new 3D interactive globe that you can use to explore the beauty of our planet.
Apple claims you'll find remarkably improved details for deserts, forests, mountain ranges, and oceans. This would have been great on Intel-based Macs, but unfortunately it's limited to M1 Macs as well.
7. The new city experience from Apple Maps
If you enjoy exploring new places on Apple Maps, macOS Monterey has a new feature that shows you seriously improved details in multiple cities. Geographic features such as buildings, elevations, landmarks, streets, trees, and others have been greatly improved in Apple Maps.
This will appeal to anyone looking to explore big cities on Apple Maps, including some of the biggest cities in the world like London, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
As you may have guessed, this feature is not available for users with Intel-based Macs.
Why didn't these features make it to Intel Macs?
All of these functions are based on the neural engine that is exclusive to Apple Silicon M1 Macs. Older Macs don't have the same neural engine built into their chipset, which is why they are left behind.
An Apple spokesperson was quoted in a Wired report saying that features like FaceTime portrait mode and live text were developed for the neural engine. This means that devices that do not have this engine have been left behind.
For other functions, however, the answer isn't as obvious. The Wired report, quoting the Apple spokesman again, claims that Apple Maps functions were limited to M1 Macs "because of the balance between performance and energy efficiency of the M1."
The explanation makes sense to some extent, but it won't please people who have spent a significant amount on Intel-based Macs either. Machines like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, and the venerable Mac Pro still haven't been replaced by their Apple Silicon counterparts.
Is this the new normal for Intel Macs?
The features we mentioned in this article are nice to have, but may not be essential for most people. Missing these features takes away the desire to upgrade to Monterey immediately.
Even though Apple will continue to support Intel Macs for the foreseeable future, you can definitely expect more features to skip the old machines in the future as well. Like it or not, M-series chips are the future of Macs, and it might be wise to wait until the transition is complete before upgrading.
As far as we know, Apple may have some amazing features planned for upcoming Macs, and some M1-based machines may miss out on those features later.
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From Pranay Parab
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