Microsoft is about to solve the app problem for ARM-based laptops

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Apple and its forthcoming MacBook with Apple Silicon have made the biggest splash in the world of ARM-based laptops this year, but there are a number of options already on the market running Windows. Laptops like the updated Surface Pro X from Microsoft look impressive, but software compatibility has been one of the big factors holding them back.

Microsoft has finally announced in a blog post that full x64 app support will be available soon, with x64 emulation coming first to the Windows Insiders Program in November (via Slashgear).

Microsoft has seen some uptake from developers using the Microsoft UWP framework. Netflix, Spotify and Chrome were some of the big additions, but the number of supported programs is a fraction of what Windows 10 users are accustomed to seeing. In the end, it's too much of a compromised experience for users who need more than just the core Microsoft apps. 

With x64 emulation, almost the entire catalog of Windows 10 apps should be supported. Now as we saw with the early Apple Silicon benchmarks there are definite performance ramifications to running software in emulation on ARM, so we'll need to wait and see what this looks like in the real world for most apps.

With Apple entering the fray the competition in the ARM-based laptop space is going to be heating up over the next six months and this update is a crucial piece of the puzzle for Windows on ARM.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.