macOS Monterey Live Text won’t be exclusive to M1 Macs anymore

JC Torres - Jul 27, 2021, 10:46pm CDT
macOS Monterey Live Text won’t be exclusive to M1 Macs anymore

Apple naturally wants its fans and customers to buy Macs running on its own M1 Silicon, but it also knows it can’t really push them to do so. “Planned obsolescence” is already a dirty word in the consumer electronics market, and it has been thrown at Apple a number of times already. It is, however, unavoidable that some software features might be exclusive to its M1 Macs because of this or that hardware requirement, so it’s reassuring to hear that it won’t be the case for at least one of those.

When Apple revealed macOS Monterey a few months back, there was naturally some curiosity as to how it would divide Intel Macs and M1 Macs. It turns out that quite a few juicy features would be exclusive to Macs running on Apple Silicon only. These include FaceTime’s ability to blur your background in a video call as well as offline on-device dictation.

There have been some theories why these would be exclusive to M1 Macs, but the closest seems to be related to machine learning. Apple boasted a lot about the M1’s AI processing capabilities, something that Intel’s consumer processors may not be as adept at. Fortunately, it seems that Apple has found a way around that requirement to make Live Text available to all support Macs, regardless of the CPU.

Live Text scans text in photos to make them interactive, allowing you to copy the text or even make a phone call from a highlighted number. It was one of those M1-exclusives, but the most recent version of macOS Monterey’s documentation now says that it will be available on all Macs that support macOS Monterey. Based on Apple’s own promise, that means all Macs from 2013 onward, which naturally includes those powered by Intel processors.

The Verge guesses that the reason for this change is that Live Text on macOS will work differently from the same feature on iOS. It will simply be scanning static images stored on the Mac, which is a computationally less intensive process than scanning for text in real-time from an iPhone’s camera.

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