Yesterday, Apple released the third developer beta of macOS 11.3 Big Sur, and it included something interesting. As spotted by MacRumors, there's evidence in the code that Apple might be getting rid of Rosetta translation in certain regions.
If you're unfamiliar with Rosetta 2, it's the translation service that lets you run Intel apps on Apple's new ARM-powered Macs. And indeed, many apps are still made for Intel processors, since the bulk of Apple's Mac user-base is using Intel-powered machines, so to run those apps on the new MacBook Air, you need Rosetta 2.
Apple is removing Rosetta from Macs during updates in certain countries in Mac 11.3 beta 3. Maybe this is due to legal issues? “Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update” “Rosetta is no longer available in your region. Applications requiring Rosetta will no longer urn” pic.twitter.com/NmsjXOwPvP— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) March 3, 2021
What's unclear is why this is happening, although it's entirely possible that this change won't make it into the shipping product. It could simply be that Apple is building the system into macOS in case it has to shut down Rosetta in certain regions. Or, perhaps there are legal issues with Intel, something that Intel actually threatened when Microsoft and Qualcomm started talking about emulating Intel apps on Windows. For a possible reason that's less exciting, Apple might just be shutting down Rosetta in regions where it doesn't sell Macs.