Bitrise announces virtualized Apple Silicon M1 CI/CD dev environment

Developers working on complex enterprise apps who need to more easily develop around both Intel and Apple Silicon platforms will welcome this new option.

Apple, Mac, iOS, Apple SIlicon, Computer, Bitrise, software development

For developers working on enterprise applications who need to develop for both Intel and Apple Silicon platforms, Bitrise now has a cloud-based option offering the world’s first virtualized M1 CI/CD environment.

Easing the transition to Apple Silicon

“The M1 chip provides many benefits, but to take advantage of them today, developers need to be able to seamlessly switch between Apple Silicon and Intel-based build options,” Bitrise CEO Barnabas Birmacher said.

The company, whose customers include N26, Transferwise (now “Wise”), Virgin Mobile, Tag Heuer, Mozilla, Paysafe, and Philips Hue, sought to provide developers with that kind of flexibility while also providing a scalable solution built on the company’s own iOS CI/CD technology.

“As a result, teams can concentrate on expanding capabilities, instead of manual setup and troubleshooting that can result in a drop of release frequency. For the sophisticated mobile product organizations building on Bitrise today, a delayed feature or fix can cost millions of dollars,” he said.

The introduction reflects a reality in which millions of Apple Silicon Macs are already being deployed across the enterprise, which means the need to port apps from Intel to M-series processors is also growing.

What is Bitrise offering and who is it for?

The cloud-based solution was developed in collaboration with more than 100 companies and is designed to meet the needs of sophisticated development projects. It’s a managed solution that doesn’t require the purchase of physical hardware.

Birmacher said the product is aimed at “anyone who is developing on iOS — so, every iOS developer and development team. Apple is completely phasing out Intel-based machines and the entire Intel-based development environment, so everyone developing for iOS will have no choice but to move to Apple silicon.”

If you use Bitrise, you can enter the virtualized Apple silicon environment in Bitrise’s Workflow Editor under the Stacks & Machines tab. The M1 Elite XL machine will be available for use there.

The environment features several layers of automation, including an Insights tool that lets teams monitor app performance to identify weaknesses. It allows developers to build, test, and deploy app updates to the app store faster than any other solution on the market.

“This launch of a fully virtualized Apple silicon environment built for iOS CI/CD is the first one available, reinforcing our commitment to get these kinds of capabilities into the hands of our customers faster than anyone else,” Birmacher said.

“Before using Bitrise’s Apple Silicon compute option, we were struggling with our M1 builds since our third-party libraries do not support Apple Silicon yet,” Radoslov Radenkov, engineer at Paysafe, said in a statement. “We have been able to transition and increased the speed of our builds by 50%. We have also decreased testing times from one hour to 22 minutes.”

What about WWDC?

To some degree, M1 Macs are already on the way to being superseded following Apple’s introduction of the first M2 Macs earlier this week.

“The new M2 chip is even more efficient than M1 and features exciting capabilities,” Birmacher said."However, Apple didn’t announce a M2 Mac mini with larger memory (to be racked in the data center like M1 Mac minis). Since a 16GB memory isn’t great at handling larger apps, M2 will struggle to be a viable option for many iOS teams. Even M2’s 24GB memory isn’t quite enough.”

Like most developers I’ve been in contact with since the show, Birmarcher was optimistic overall, saying:

“Apple pairing immediately available developer APIs with the many new iOS 16 features and functionalities stands out…. Developers will be able to quickly support the newly announced features.” He also saw the introduction of real-time widgets, the opening of HomeKit, and improvements to CarPlay as big opportunities for app developers.

Apple also introduced interesting changes in device management and declarative device management for Macs at the event, which I'll have more on tomorrow.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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