Microsoft: Office will be about 20 seconds slower initially on Apple Silicon, Rosetta 2

"The first launch of each Office app will take longer as the operating system has to generate optimized code for the Apple Silicon processor," says Microsoft.

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Microsoft said Office apps will take longer to load initially on Apple Silicon when using Rosetta 2 translation.

Apple launched new Macs based on its M1 processor, which begins the march off of Intel. Given that Intel applications aren't equipped to run natively on Apple Silicon, the Rosetta 2 emulator will be critical. Apple Silicon Macs -- MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini -- will also run iOS apps.

Rosetta 2 is a translation layer in macOS Big Sur runs apps compiled for the Intel chipset. For Microsoft apps, Rosetta 2 will support all features and support for third-party add-ins.

In a support doc, Microsoft outlined some of the Apple Silicon moving parts. The company said:

The first launch of each Office app will take longer as the operating system has to generate optimized code for the Apple Silicon processor. Users will notice that the apps 'bounce' in the dock for approximately 20 seconds while this process completes. Subsequent app launches will be fast.

There are no feature differences.

Microsoft said that the latest release of Microsoft 365 and Office 2019 apps can be installed on Apple Silicon architecture.  Key apps include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive.

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The software giant recommended that customers using Apple Silicon install the November 2020 release (build 16.43), which includes the latest optimizations for macOS Big Sur.

Microsoft said it has "already started the process of moving Mac apps to universal binaries. In the future, we will natively support both Apple Silicon and Intel chipsets within the same executable."