When macOS Ventura was announced earlier this month, its system requirements were considerably stricter than those for macOS Monterey, which was released just eight months ago as of this writing. Ventura requires a Mac made in 2017 or later, dropping support for a wide range of Monterey-supported Mac models released between 2013 and 2016.
This certainly seems more aggressive than new macOS releases from just a few years ago, where system requirements would tighten roughly every other year or so. But how bad is it, really? Is a Mac purchased in 2016 getting fewer updates than one bought in 2012 or 2008 or 1999? And if so, is there an explanation beyond Apple’s desire for more users to move to shiny new Apple Silicon Macs?
Unlike in the Windows world (at least, up until Windows 11) and the Linux/BSD world, Macs are more like smartphones or tablets in that support for them is regularly cut off well before the point they could no longer run the latest version of macOS. This has both advantages and disadvantages we don’t need to regurgitate here, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Apple Silicon era will accelerate the culling of older Macs.
Most money used to keep MacOS afloat is from hardware sales. It’s astonishing that they keep their long release lines at all supporting hardware made as far back as 2013 and don’t make decisions as this one, to do a early cut off, more often.
In the end, this is just a business decision to kill Intel on their platforms faster. Keeping a entire port of the OS for a architecture that you don’t intend to sell a single product anymore is expensive.
It’s not like the hardware will become paperweight although, who owns it can install another OS.
I went back some time ago and looked at the PowerPC to Intel transition, and from the time the first Intel MacOS was released to the last PowerPC MacOS retired was around five years (2004-2009). As much as the M macs are a work in progress for some things, I wouldn’t buy an Intel Mac today and expect support for anything in four years. At least with the Intel Macs, you do have a fine selection of other OS to choose from until the hardware is EoL.
I have a couple Intel Mac minis (mid-2010 Core2 Duo) that I still use. Until recently one was my workstation (read: web browser and scripting dev) and one is a play “server” for trying stuff around the house. You can install Fedora on them with no sweat. They’ll probably end up as a two-node Kube cluster before long.