The next major update to macOS is coming this fall, and Apple introduced the operating system during its WWDC keynote this week. Developer previews of macOS Monterey are already available, and public betas are coming next month.
But if you read the fine print on the macOS Monterey preview site, you’ll find that some of the new features Apple showed off this week will only work on newer Macs featuring Apple M1 processors. Have an older model with an Intel processor? You can still run macOS Monterey, but it’ll lack a few bells and whistles available for models with Apple Silicon inside.
Here’s a list of features that are said to require a Mac with an M1 chip:
- Portrait Mode in FaceTime (with automatically blurred backgrounds)
- Live Text in Photos (detect text in photos and allow you to copy and paste, make a phone call, etc)
- 3D landmarks and other visuals in Maps
- Interactive Globe in Maps
While macOS Monterey will run on many Macs released as far back as 2013, these features will require a 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13 inch, or Mac Mini or a2021 iMac.
It’s unclear why Apple is limiting availability of some of these features. Other video conferencing solutions such as Zoom and Skype have been offering portrait mode-like background blurring for users with Intel-powered computers for some time, for example. It seems likely that Apple could have done so as well, but I suppose it’s possible the company is leveraging specific features of the M1 processor to implement this feature, which would mean that it’s not that the company can’t offer FaceTime portrait mode for Intel-powered Macs, so much as that the company didn’t bother to do so.
Honestly, the move makes sense for a company that plans to transition to Apple Silicon for all of its computers within the next year or two. But since it’s likely that many customers will continue to hang onto their older Macs with Intel chips for years to come, it may be a bit annoying that some features will only be available with newer hardware.