Microsoft 365 apps can now run natively on M1 Macs.
Microsoft 365 running on M1 MacBook Pro.
When Apple announced its custom silicon for Mac last month, the move raised a lot of questions, more specifically around app compatibility, but it was also met with optimism because when Cupertino does something “new,” more often than not, things eventually do tend to work out. Even though it is still early days for the M1, stars seem to have already started aligning in its favour. Microsoft just made a bunch of universal apps for Apple, all productivity-focused, meaning many potential buyers need not have to sit and wait pondering over whether the latest MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are worth buying into.
It is not so much about the quantity, but quality of apps, which is why this development really stands out. Most Microsoft 365 apps can now run natively on M1 Macs. The list includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook — this will also support iCloud accounts in the coming weeks. A curious omission is Teams though Microsoft says it is working on it and “will share more news as our work progresses.” In the meanwhile, Teams will be available in Rosetta emulation mode on M1 Macs. M1 Mac users can also alternatively access Teams through the browser.
The term “universal” is of special significance here. This means the same version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook will work on both Intel and Apple silicon Macs — and they will be updated at the same time. This makes a lot of sense because of the sheer number of Intel-based Macs in the wild today, and the fact that there will be sometime before Apple switches to 100% custom silicon. macOS Big Sur is already designed from scratch for Apple silicon, and it looks and feels the same way on Intel-based Macs. What I am basically trying to say is that even though M1 is technically a “mobile” processor, the app support and functioning should be similar and familiar for anybody looking to make a switch. That is a big deal.
Again, just because Microsoft launched a bunch of apps for M1 Macs today, does not necessarily guarantee long-term success for Apple, but it is a great start. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook are probably one of the most widely used productivity apps, and these have only gained greater momentum in the wake of the global pandemic. Microsoft has had a long history with universal apps. You can call this, a second coming as well maybe, albeit this time Redmond is gunning for arch-rival Apple. And as things stand today, it is not the only tech giant doing this. Adobe only recently released an Arm version of Lightroom for M1 Macs (and for Windows) and Photoshop is coming early next year. The M1 is off to a great start. Hopefully, it gives Qualcomm-based Windows counterparts a shot in the arm too.