iMac 24-inch with browser open for performance
iMac 24-inch with browser open for performance

When announcing the Apple Silicon M1 Macs, the company promised to support Intel-based hardware for years to come. However, that doesn’t mean the legacy machines will continue to get all the best features.

With this year’s arrival of macOS Monterey, Apple is drawing a line in the sand between the new-generation of M1-based Macs and those running the Intel Core i-Series processors.

There’s a raft of the best new macOS Monterey features that will not be available on Intel-based Macs, Apple has revealed. On the macOS Monterey Preview page (via MacRumors), the fine print points out many features will be exclusive to the Apple Silicon architecture. And there’s loads of them.

They include Portrait mode in FaceTime, Live Text in photos, and the new Interactive Globe and detailed city experience (including London) in Apple Maps. Beyond that, text-to-speech voices in Scandinavian languages aren’t included, neither is offline, on-device dictation.

Those are some pretty big features. The Portrait Mode in FaceTime, which blurs out the background while you’re on a video call and the ability to interact with text within photos and images are signature features for the new operating system.

Apple hasn’t explained why these features are exclusive to M1 Macs, but presumably there are solid hardware reasons, rather than Apple attempting to lead users into upgrading their Macs.

The news is likely to come as a disappointment to those who recently purchased an Intel-based Mac believing that support would remain in tact for years. That’s still the case, strictly speaking, but it does mean that, starting with macOS Monterey, Intel Macs will be second class.

Whether this will push more users into upgrading to the new M1-based iMac, MacBooks or Mac mini models remains to be seen, but it does seem to be the beginning of a haves and have nots for Mac users.

macOS Monterey will launch this autumn, with public beta versions likely to be available this summer.

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