With the switch to Apple Silicon Macs, the question of emulating Intel processors for Mac users arises again. While CrossOver already promises to run Windows applications on M1 Macs, will we also see the reappearance of the PC emulators of the 1990s? Because the completely native period that we have known in recent years will ultimately only have been a long parenthesis. To run its Macintosh since 1984, Apple had used 68k and then PowerPC, two families of processors incompatible with each other and with the world of Intel PCs – as is the new M1 processor. We therefore got used to living surrounded by emulators: an emulator integrated into the system, which in the mid-1990s had ensured the transition between the two processors, but also PC emulators, essential for launching DOS or Windows software on Mac.
It is finally “only” since 2006 that Mac OS X runs in Intel version, on Intel processors, with Intel software. Even the virtualization of Windows or Linux is operated natively. The only concession to this beautiful harmony: from 2006 to 2010, the different versions of Mac OS still allowed software (and some parts of the system) remaining in PowerPC format to run thanks to the Rosetta technology, first of the name.