Earlier this week, Apple unveiled a new Mac lineup consisting of a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini running on Apple’s own M1 CPU. This is a major shift for Apple, which for years has used Intel CPUs in its Macs. With this pivot to its own in-house silicon, there will obviously be some changes to the way apps are developed for Macs.
Apple is attempting to make the transition smoother for end users by announcing Universal apps alongside these M1-based Macs. Universal apps essentially give developers the option of bundling Intel and M1 versions of their apps into one download, which in turn means that users won’t need to make sure they’re downloading the right version of the app for their Mac.
Microsoft has announced that it will be hopping on the Universal app train, with Microsoft’ Erik Schwiebert – who serves as the company’s principal software engineer for Apple products in the Office experiences group – taking to Twitter to announce that the company is rolling out a Universal build of Mac Office 2019. At first, the Universal version of Mac Office 2019 will be available in the Microsoft’s beta channel, which was formerly known as “Insider Fast.”
Schwiebert says that Microsoft doesn’t have a final public release date to announce just yet, but this beta will give those picking up an M1-based Mac this week a chance to test the Universal version of Mac Office 2019 ahead of that public release.
Apple itself has confirmed that it will have Universal versions of the all of the apps it offers, and with Microsoft announcing the same for Mac Office 2019, it certainly looks like the concept is picking up a lot of steam. Macs using Apple’s new M1 chip went up for pre-order earlier this week and should start arriving sometime next week.