Apple's Silicon could signal the end of Windows 10 through Boot Camp

(Image credit: Future)

Apple's incoming ARM-based Macs won’t let users run Windows 10 in Boot Camp mode.

Although Apple Silicon-powered machines will be able to run iPhone and iPad apps natively, it appears they won't be able to run Windows, with Microsoft confirming to that it won't make Windows 10 for ARM available for the new Apple Silicon-based machines.

In a statement given to The Verge, the company said that it "only licences Windows on ARM to OEMs". When asked whether it plans to change this policy to allow Boot Camp on ARM-based Macs, and the company said "we have nothing further to share at this time".

macOS 11 Big Sur will ship with Boot Camp installed, but it appears the ability to run a Windows environment will be limited to Intel machines. ARM-based Macs will not be able to access this functionality, and Apple has not yet announced a Boot Camp replacement.

To make matters worse, it also remains unclear whether macOS will be able to support Windows virtualisation via third-party tools such as Parallels and VMware Fusion. 

Though Big Sur will ship with Rosetta 2, an emulation tool that will allow users to run non-ARM optimized apps, Apple has confirmed that this won’t be able to translate x86_64 apps.

In developer support documentation, Apple confirms: "Rosetta can translate most Intel-based apps, including apps that contain just-in-time (JIT) compilers. However, Rosetta doesn’t translate the following executables: kernel extensions, Virtual Machine apps that virtualize x86_64 computer platforms."

While the transition to ARM-based processors could spell the end of Windows on Mac, Apple has already confirmed that Microsoft’s Office apps, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, will work natively on Apple Silicon machines.

It also hinted that it's working to support virtualisation software, as during its WWDC keynote this week Apple demoed a Mac equipped with an ARM-based A12Z Bionic SoC running a Linux distribution in Parallels.

Carly Page

Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.