In a major boost to the macOS web hosting niche, Amazon yesterday lifted the curtains off of its new Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances built on Apple’s Mac Mini. Amazon calls them the EC2 Mac instances and they are the result of constant prodding from the customers to bring the macOS to the cloud.
The EC2 Mac instances will extend the benefits of having your development environment on EC2 to developers working on iOS and Mac apps.
However, the new Mac instances will not be powered by the recently launched M1 Mac Minis, but rather earlier iterations that use Intel’s eighth-generation 3.2GHz Core i7 processors.
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Apple Silicon coming soon
That said, it is reported that Amazon is working to power the Mac instances using the new M1-powered devices. The new devices are rumoured to make their data center debut sometime in Q1/2021.
In a blog post detailing the offering, AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr wrote that the minis run macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and 10.15 (Catalina). Furthermore, although it’s not mentioned in the press release, we gather from reports that these are stock Mac minis in Amazon’s data center with only their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off.
While Amazon hasn’t officially shared the pricing details of the new Mac instances, it is reported that AWS will charge just over $1/hr, billed by the second. However, unlike other AWS instances, users will have to prepay for the first 24 hours, whenever they spin up a new Mac instance.
Amazon is launching the service with three customers and the EC2 Mac instances are currently only available to customers in limited geographies.
“Our customers tell us they would love to have their Apple build environment integrated with AWS services,” said David Brown, Vice President of EC2, at AWS. “With EC2 Mac instances, developers can now provision and access on-demand macOS compute environments in AWS for the first time ever, so they can focus on creating groundbreaking apps for Apple’s industry-leading platforms, rather than procuring and managing the underlying infrastructure.”
“Apple’s thriving community of more than 28 million developers continues to create groundbreaking app experiences that delight customers around the world,” said Bob Borchers, Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing, at Apple. “With the launch of EC2 Mac instances, we’re thrilled to make development for Apple’s platforms accessible in new ways, and combine the performance and reliability of our world-class hardware with the scalability of AWS.”
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