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Apple Switching to Intel Processors

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  • Apple Switching to Intel Processors

    After weeks of rumours it became official today. Apple is switching to the Intel family of microprocessors on future versions of its Macintosh computer platform. The switchover will start next summer 2006 and will be spread over all Mac models by 2007 says Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

    Here is Apple's Press Release:

    Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006

    WWDC 2005, SAN FRANCISCO—June 6, 2005—At its Worldwide Developer Conference today, Apple® announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh® computers using Intel® microprocessors by this time next year, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a version of its critically acclaimed operating system, Mac OS® X Tiger, running on an Intel-based Mac® to the over 3,800 developers attending CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple’s software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

    “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years.”

    “We are thrilled to have the world’s most innovative personal computer company as a customer,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. “Apple helped found the PC industry and throughout the years has been known for fresh ideas and new approaches. We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies, and to collaborating on new initiatives, to help Apple continue to deliver innovative products for years to come.”

    “We plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit. “We have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform.”

    “We think this is a really smart move on Apple’s part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe.

    The Developer Transition Kit is available starting today for $999 to all Apple Developer Connection Select and Premier members. Further information for Apple Developer Connection members is available at Intel plans to provide industry leading development tools support for Apple later this year, including the Intel C/C++ Compiler for Apple, Intel Fortran Compiler for Apple, Intel Math Kernel Libraries for Apple and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives for Apple.

    Intel (, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products.

    Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.
    There is a lot of buzz on this on all of the major Apple & Macintosh news and fan sites. This is like a huge, huge major change for Apple.... the same as them changing over from the Apple II to the Mac, from the 680x0 Motorola chips to Power PC chips and now from Power PC to Intel.

    Somehow for me, at this time, it seems very odd and even wrong to imagine using a Mac OSX computer with "Intel Inside."
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  • #2
    Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

    Yeah, when the rumors started to fly around last week, I thought the whole deal was possibily a hoax. I was quite surprised that Apple made that announcement. After watching the WWDC presentation last night, it looks like Apple really prepared for this situation, I mean, having an x86 box running Mac OS X in some secret room in Cupertino. I admit the box was very impressive.

    I do think they didn't have any choice on the matter. Freescale (Motorola) at the time was not releasing any faster processors during the G4 days. We are also seeing the same deal with IBM and the G5. I gather Steve Jobs wasn't too thrilled when the "3 GHz G5" was supposed to come out within in a year, but never did. With no promise of new products from IBM, it seems there wasn't any choice.

    I also look at the PowerBooks. That line is seems severely outdated by today's standards. I think Apple should start releasing centrino based PowerBooks very soon. I've been on the fence to get a PowerBook, but been waiting for the G5 version. It's been interesting, to say the least. The last time I remember being at this level was in 1994, when the PowerPC Macs first came out.


    • #3
      Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

      Business-wise, Apple's switch to Intel chips makes a lot of sense. It's about the only way they could make inroads into the business computing arena. With the exception of graphics people, most businesses use boxes powered by Intel chips. Apple has its eye on the business market, and by using the reliable Intel chips, it's positioning itself to make some inroads into Squishy's domain. Plus I'm sure Intel is giving them a smoking deal on the chips, too. Since IBM got out of the PC market, there was no real compelling reason for them to develop any more chips. Their market now is in the mainframe and applications for their Websphere line.

      "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain


      • #4
        Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

        Oh the carnage!!! Pretty soon Apple will be using MS-based OS
        Life is what you make of please read the instructions carefully.


        • #5
          Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

          I haven't read into this that much but is Apple using Intel's Pentium series of processors or is Intel making their version of Apple's processor?

          I would think it would be eaiser to for Intel to make their version of Apple's processor instead of having other companies recompiling code for a different processor.


          • #6
            Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

            I think Apple's Mac business may falter over the next 18 to 24 months as people will decide to put off buying new Mac hardware until an Intel version of that hardware is released. I talked to a few friends today and they say "I was thinking about buying a G5 iMac, but now I think I am going to wait another year."

            Apple plans to introduce the Intel technology on their low-end models first like the Mac Mini. This will occur in 2006. By the end of 2007 Apple plans to have the entire Macintosh line on Intel. The Mac OSX system software will support both Intel and Power PC products for the near future. The next build of OSX will be "Leopard" if I remember correctly.

            Developers will be recompiling code for Intel. Apple will start to sell a $999 developers kit that will include some kind of Intel based computer. One of the Mac sites I read indicated that programs that can run on a Power Mac G3 will be easy to port to Intel. However programs that run only on G4 and G5 using the AltiVec technology provided by those processors will be harder to recompile.

            I don't know much about writing programs but that is what I read... can't remember where at the moment. To me this change sounds like it may be messy for some developers and could be the end to some of our favorite Mac software as we know it.
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            • #7
              Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

              As other geeks would say: "let the cracking begin!!" (a response to the possibility that a Mac OS might run on any x86 based processor)
              How'd I get so white and nerdy?


              • #8
                Re: Apple Switching to Intel Processors

                I do wonder what will be the future of Mac OS X applications. Apple mentioned that they will not stop anyone from installing Windows onto their Intel based Mac. This infers that the system will run Windows as any other PC out there.

                I did play around with Virtual PC back in the Mac days. You can imagine the emulation was very slow. On an Intel based Mac, one would assume that this type of Windows environment loaded into Mac OS X would run natively. Now, as a developer, would there be any point in creating a Mac OS X version of the application where you can just make a Windows version?

                OS/2 had this same predicament. I wonder if that could happen here?


                • #9
                  First Look At The Intel Mac

                  Source w/ pics
                  Apple's Intel-based Mac development kits have started trickling into developer's hands, Think Secret has learned.

                  The Apple Development Platform ADP2,1, as the systems are officially designated, features 3.6GHz Pentium 4 processors with 2MB of L2 cache operating on an 800MHz bus with 1GB of RAM.

                  The Intel systems run Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger identically on the surface as ordinary Macs, with the exception of a modified Processor System Preference (from Apple's CHUD tools) that allows the user to toggle Hyper-Threading on or off. Apple System Profiler includes a new line under Hardware listing CPU Features; for the 3.6GHz Pentium 4 this comprises a rather lengthy list of technical acronyms: FPU, VME, DE, PSE, TSC, MSR, PAE, MCE, CX8, APIC, SEP, MTRR, PGE, MCA, CMOV, PAT, PSE36, CLFSH, DS, SCPI, MMX, FXSR, SSE, SEE2, SS, HTT, TM, SSE3, MON, DSCPL, EST, TM2, CX16, and TPR.

                  Apple's System Profiler reports the graphics card as an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 800. Inside the Intel Mac, DVI support for the video card is provided by a Silicon Image Orion ADD2-N Dual Pad x16. Oddly, neither Silicon Image's Web site nor Google turns up much information on the latter card, the latter yielding a single link to a recent Dell support forum posting.

                  The motherboard on the system is unmarked except for the word Barracuda. The system's internals are housed inside a case similar to Apple's Power Mac G5 systems but with a different configuration of fans.

                  Running Windows; Mac OS X on other PCs

                  Along with running Mac OS X, Windows XP installs without hitch on the Intel-based Mac, just as it would on any other PC, and booted without issue when installed on an NTFS-formatted partition. The only misbehavior sources encountered involved the video card. Initially, Windows refused to budge from an 800x600 setting on a 23-inch Cinema Display. Some prodding managed to get the screen to 1600x1200, but sources were unable to get Windows to take advantage of the entire screen.

                  Apple alluded to developers at its recent Worldwide Developer Conference that Windows should be able to run on Apple's Intel Macs.

                  As for installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, attempts to boot from the included Mac OS X for Intel disc resulted in an error message on both a Dell and off-brand PC. The message states that the hardware configuration is not supported by Darwin x86.

                  Sources have indicated that Apple will employ an EDID chip on the motherboard of Intel-based Macs that Mac OS X will look for and must handshake with first in order to boot. Such an approach, similar to hardware dongles, could theoretically be defeated, although it's unknown what level of sophistication Apple will employ.

                  Also uncertain is whether the Intel-based development kits seeded to developers already feature the EDID chip or whether the installation disc contains a less sophisticated installation check that simply seeks out one particular hardware configuration--the one given to developers--and will not install on other configurations.
                  How'd I get so white and nerdy?


                  • #10
                    Re: First Look At The Intel Mac

                    I think a big worry for Mac users in the future will be the proliferation of possible cross platform viruses and other malware infecting both Windows and Mac OSX at the same time. Would that be possible? Surely, anyone runnng Windows on an Intel based Mac will be vulnerable to all the Windows malware. This is one of the things that I probably won't like about moving to the Intel processor. Perhaps (hopefully) for those who choose to stick only with Mac OS running on their Intel Macintosh, they can remain malware free as much as we pretty much are with the current Power PC Macs.
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