So apple is in theory releasing osx 11 Big Sur today. 

And we all know that apple loves nothing better then for everyone to update right away, so they will display a pesky update notification every single day until you do update.

Should you update your mac computer to osx 10.11?  I would suggest thinking long and hard about that.  Unless you are a serious glutton for punishment.

This is especially true if you use any kind of hardware interface, like an audio interface, that uses low level drivers to talk from your mac to the external box.

Every osx update is usually provides some kind of problems associated with it.  Apple really doesn't care if your existing audio interface continues to work or not, or your existing software continues to work or not, they would probably prefer you buy all new stuff and use your apple credit card to do so.

Yes, i have apple developer PTSD, you are warned.

But i am very serious when i tell you it is a good idea to take your sweet time updating your mac anytime there is a new os update.  Ignore the pesky message apple flashes at you each and every day until you do update.  Take the time to do some research, google search to see what is working , what is broken, how does that effect or not effect you personally. 

The software you use for your work.  The external hardware you use for your work.  Will it all still work, or will it all be broken?

Now you will notice that the Big Sur update is from osx 10.15 to osx 11. So, a full new version number update, not a meager point update.  One might expect that could lead to additional problems above and beyond what you might normally see.  Especially where low level driver code is concerned.

This is because osx 11 Big Sur leads us into the exciting future of apple produced ARM chips being used instead of Intel chips on the mac computer.  Same kind of RiSC chips apple already uses in the existing ios devices like iphones or ipads.  But different version of the ARM chip (new M1 chip).

Modern computers are composed of multiple CPU cores.  So these new ARM based macs will have multiple CPU cores, along with apple proprietary GPU cores and some memory on a single silicon substrate.  Now the fact that apple can put all of this stuff on a single substrate is pretty cool. So the potential for this new architecture change could be pretty exciting.

Of course the fact that macs will now use the exact same chip structure as ios devices may mean that apple just decides to make macs more ios like, which would suck in my opinion. So that could be the bad side of it, we will have to see.

What about software?  Good question.  Software compiled for Intel chips will not run directly on these fancy ARM chip macs.  But, they are providing something called Rosetta 2 , which is an Intel emulator that in theory will let you continue to run your existing mac software compiled for intel chips on the new ARM chips. 

Most of your existing software, you apparently can't run other virtual emulators on it, so you probably can't run Parallels in Rosetta. So probably say good by to using bootcamp to instal windows on a new ARM mac, or using parallels to run windows on a new ARM mac.

We will have one of the new ARM chip macbook pros here for testing next week.  We ordered one the first day they were available.  So i'll save my Studio Artist specific comments until i spend some time working with the new ARM chip computer when it arrives here next week.  I don't anticipate any problems with release SA V5 64 bit build, or the existing SA V5.5 alpha builds.  If we run into any, we'll let you know about them.

There is already an existing Studio Artist 5-6 Big Sur thread that covers what we are doing with Studio Artist development, so feel free to read that, i'm not going to rewrite it all here.

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Here's the Ars Technica osx 11 Big Sur review.

Here's a good deep dive into the details of the new apple M1 processor.

Terminology correction. So the apple marketing speak has changed in this Big Sur transition from osx 10.15 to macOS 11. So anywhere i may have previous said osx 11, change that to macOS 11 instead.

Here's a good article on Big Sur and New Macs from CDM.  Note that the article is titled 'Big Sur and the New Macs Look Promising But You'll Want to Wait'.  It also shows you how to disable automatic updates (you are insane if you have that turned on).

Here's another article on Big Sur called 'It's been a rough launch for big sur'.  Note that it can brick some older macbooks.  Note that apple also now has a weird internet call back when you install and use apps on your computer (it's tracking you).

Ok, so our new ARM chip macbook pro arrived late yesterday afternoon.  I just installed Studio Artist 5 from the same installer you use when you buy it.  Up and running.  I've got Gallery Show running automated tests right now.  It's been automatically banging out random presets for the last half hour with no problems.

Only the 64 bit SA V5 app is going to run (same as on Catalina).

When you double click and run it the first time, apple makes you either enter your computer's password, or if you are using a macbook pro you can use the fingerprint sensor to verify.  So it's acting like you are downloading from the app store.  Which means it says ok for the app after you do that, but it's like you just downloaded an app store app (which means it doesn't actually start it).  Just double click on the SA V5 64 bit icon again in the finder, and this second time it will actually run. You have to say yes several times to various 'are you sure' dialogs apple brings up. 

One of these dialogs asks if you are ok with apple installing Rosetta to run it (you want to say yes).  If you already have Rosetta on your computer i'm assuming that dialog won't come up.  Kind of odd Rosetta doesn't come pre-installed on Big Sur machines if you ask me, points to a certain kind of cultural arrogance at apple.

The only minor funky thing i've noticed so far is that selected tabs (in any palettes that have tabs at the top) look a little but funky.  So i would consider that minor cosmetic issue you will just have to live with for SA V5.  I'll look into fixing that issue for SA V5.5.

So there you have it. Verification that existing release SA V5_64 bit application runs on the new ARM chip macs running Big Sur.  So we will give a big thank you to apple for Rosetta support.

I use an iPad a lot for research reading (was using it just before i started this test series), so of course i reached out to the screen of the powerbook to click something on it.  Whoops.  Although is that a whoops for me, or a whoops for apple not supporting that like windows does?

So Studio Artist V5.5 fixes the minor funky display issues i mentioned above associated with running SA V5 on the new M1 macs running Big Sur.  Tabs and popup menus look like they should.

Here's John Grubers review of the new M1 ARM macs.  Keep in mind that often Daring Fireball reviews sound like they were paid for by apple.  But my initial conclusions are similar in many respect.  It seems pretty zippy.  Gallery Show is banging out new images pretty fast.

One other point i'm going to mention about the new chips.  You probably know that we're diving into neural nets for the future here.  And there are a lot of deployment issues associated with this, especially when you look at cross platform.  And up until this week i would have told you a story about how bummed i was that you couldn't run Nvidia hardware on macs anymore.  Apple goes out of their way to prevent this from happening.  And i am still bummed about that.

But we've kind of had a break through here this week regarding this whole nasty business of 'how can you take your trained neural net code and then successfully deploy it in a way that isn't a hack or ridiculously complicated or do it different for each platform'.  And the fact that apple is switching to ARM chips for all of it's future products really meshes with what we are looking at in very interesting ways.

So i have to say that's pretty exciting.  Certainly for me.

Here's another review of the new M1 ARM macs from ars.


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