Rumors are circulating that Apple is about to make a move from Intel based CPUs to ARM. They’ve been using ARM processors in their mobile devices for years now, and switching away from Intel would give them more control over their hardware which is something Apple has been (in)famous for since they abandoned the homebrew feel of the Apple IIe.
I know what you’re thinking. “What does Apple switching their processor have to do with me, a writer?”
Simple. If you’re relying on Dragon for your writing then that software’s future on Mac just got that much more uncertain.
Nuance famously and abruptly dropped support for Dragon for Mac back in late 2018. Anyone who used Dragon for Mac knew that was no great loss. The Mac version of the software was overpriced with very little of the functionality that makes the PC version worth using.
Of course the end of Dragon on Mac meant people who wanted Dragon dictation on their Mac were left with the options of using Bootcamp or a Virtual Machine such as Parallels. I’ve tried both and prefer using Parallels when I need to hop into Windows to transcribe dictation from a recorder.
The thing is, that compatibility with Windows is only possible because Apple and Windows machines were using the same hardware under the hood. Apple switching to ARM rather than Intel processors could potentially mean a return to the bad old days when it was difficult, if not impossible, to get Windows functionality on a Mac.
Sure there might be emulators that allow people to still run Windows on these rumored ARM-based Macs, but adding a layer of slowdown via emulation isn’t going to be great for a resource hog like Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Right now this is all speculation based on a rumored announcement, but if you’re a writer using a Mac who still relies on Dragon for part of your writing workflow then you need to at least keep it in the back of your mind that the future is uncertain. It will be interesting to see what Apple says about the future of Bootcamp when they make their announcement, and how the makers of popular VM software like Parallels respond.