Arm is holding its DevSummit event this week, where it's discussing the future of its products, specifically for developers. Today, during one of the keynotes, the company revealed that ARM CPUs will drop support for 32-bit applications, as reported by Android Authority.
For the past few years, 32-bit apps and software has been suffering a slow death, with major operating system developers pushing users towards 64-bit. Apple began requiring that apps support 64-bit architectures since 2015, and in 2017, it dropped support for 32-bit apps on 64-bit devices altogether, so you won't see many changes there.
Last year, Google began its own push towards 64-bit, making support for 64-bit mandatory for new apps and app updates, though some existing games can get 32-bit-only updates until August 2021. However, starting next year, apps that don't specifically support 64-bit devices will no longer be served to users on those devices.
Of course, that means there won't be much of an impact to users in terms of what apps they can use, since the biggest platforms that run on ARM CPUs already require apps to support 64-bit. What it does mean, though, is that Arm can remove some of the additional silicon required to support these apps from its CPUs, freeing up more space that could either allow for more performance or better thermals. It's worth noting that, hardware-wise, the transition will only affect the "big" cores in ARM CPUs, so the energy-efficient cores will technically still have 32-bit silicon inside for the foreseeable future.
This change will come to Arm's CPUs in 2022, but these CPUs likely won't make it to consumer devices until the following year, since the company's designs need to be adopted by third-party manufacturers like Qualcomm and MediaTek. The company introduced the Cortex-A78 CPU earlier this year, but we have yet to see it materialize in a consumer product. Still, Arm is already promising a 30% increase in performance in its 2022 chip compared to the ones introduced this year.