My initial thought was a bit of a grumble. It won’t run Linux, I thought (I can accept that it won’t run Windows - and I don’t really care. Windows isn’t part of my general use-case, and I’m prepared to bet that it isn’t part of the use-case for 99.5% of Mac users). But then, I thought, most users won’t care if it can’t run Linux either - and, to be honest, the only OSs installed on any of my Macs are OSs from Cupertino. I have other computers dedicated to Linux or Windows.
This isn’t exactly a new situation, or thinking different either. This is a return to the way things were - albeit with one major improvement. In the 70s, 80s and even to a certain extent the 90s, a significant percentage of the computers that you could buy were like this. If it had an Acorn, Apple, Commodore or Atari badge (i.e. the big players that we all remember and love) then it would run the OS that its manufacturer wrote for it, and no other. Well, no other unless you were prepared for significant jiggery-pokery.
The major improvement, of course, is that in those days the CPU was still an off-the-shelf part, and the OS and CPU were not designed one for the other. Silicon is just as much designed for macOS as macOS is for Silicon - that phenomenal speed is not magic. It’s synergy. Perhaps that synergy, more than anything else, is the significant breakthrough here.
I don’t think that there’s any need to worry about software support. Even if most of the software doesn’t get recompiled, and remains running in Rosetta, these new Macs are still up there with the best that Intel has to offer for general computing purposes. But that’s not going to happen - there’ll be plenty of support, and quickly. Apple has made the transition about as easy as it could possibly be. And, of course, if you don’t need mind-boggling speed but you do care about being able to run whatever OS you choose then this may not be the computer for you - but, luckily, AMD are making some tasty and quick CPUs that will be right up your street.
Would I buy one though? No. This Intel-slayingly quick processor is Apple’s ‘budget’ model. This is the low end - and a first attempt at that (historically, of course, first stabs are always compromised - Apple's, perhaps, more than anyones). I want to see what they can do with the high end. When the high end models launch, I’ll open my wallet.