Apple's new macOS Monterey brings features to M1 Macs only

WWDC 2021 screenshot
(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple Silicon now available in most of the consumer Macs, it only made sense to see exclusive features arrive to the M1 line for macOS, which is happening sooner than you may think.

It looks like macOS Monterey, which was recently announced at WWDC, is more of a refinement this year, bringing many useful features that almost makes it seem that it’s preparing for the rumored prosumer Macs, such as the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro lines, which could come with an updated M1X/M2 chip.

This could be why we’re already seeing exclusive features on Monterey that will only appear on M1 Macs and not on your Intel Mac.

Which features are exclusive to M1 Macs?

There’s already a few exclusive features that may tempt you to upgrade to an M1 Mac earlier than you were planning to, especially where FaceTime and Spatial Audio is concerned:

  • Portrait Mode on FaceTime - During a call, the Neural Engine in the M1 chip will blur out the background, similar to the many Zoom and Google Meet calls we’ve all experienced this past year.
  • Maps - You can control the 3D globe and explore certain cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London with features for landmarks, roads and more.
  • Spatial Audio - According to Apple’s press release, if you have the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, you can use the new audio feature on M1 Macs only.
  • Siri - More natural text to speech is available to use, and in more languages too, such as Danish (Denmark), Finnish (Finland), Norwegian (Norway), and Swedish (Sweden). There’s also on-device dictation, where you can use this for an unlimited time now, instead of having a time limit as macOS Big Sur had.
  • Live Text - In Safari, Photos or Quick Look, you can easily highlight any text that’s in an image and copy it into another app instead of writing it out manually.
  • Object Capture -You will be able to transform a 2D image of an object taken from your iPhone and iPad from many angles, and with an M1 Mac, it can be transformed into a 3D image, able to be used in an AR environment.

When does macOS Monterey come out?

Apple’s next version of macOS is scheduled to release towards the end  of this year. There’s currently a developer beta available, but that requires a developer account. However, there will be a public beta in July if you wish to try it out.

As past releases have gone, there’s going to be updates to the beta versions as we near the final release, so some features may change or even disappear. While the above features aren’t likely to change for M1 Macs, we may see new features appear if new Macs with M1X/M2 chips are indeed on the way.

Via 9to5Mac

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.