Apple using Intel CPUs

by Volker Weber

intel inside

The rumors were true. Apple is going to build Macs with Intel CPUs.

Mac OS X for Intel will run PowerPC binaries (through a translation layer) as well as universal binaries that contain Intel and PowerPC code. Apparently the PowerPC could not deliver enough power for Apple to bet its future on. If this is true, then it is great news for customers. However I have a few nagging doubts. I assume that Apple needs Intel's DRM on the chip. Otherwise there is no way to lock the customer into DRM schemes.

What this does not mean is that you will be able to run Mac OS X on your PC.

mac os x on intel


Now that the Intel announcement is official, a couple of questions come to mind:

1) Will we be able to run Mac OS on "any" Intel processor, or only some special Apple/Intel hybrid. I suspect that you won't be able to buy any old Dell off their website, and load OS X on it. In order for Apple to maintain their strict control over what's inside the box, I suspect the OS will require the hardware to be Apple hardware ( iMacs, iBooks, PowerMacs, etc ).

2) Will Apple hardware now have to have that stupid Intell Inside sticker on it?

3) What does this all mean for the existing IBM based hardware models? Will this announcement have the effect of killing sales for the next year as people wait for the new Intel Macs? Will we see some sales from Apple to push the now legacy Macs off the shelf? More than anything else, it will be interesting to see how Apple manages this not so easy part of the transition.

Ken Porter, 2005-06-06

1) Phil Schiller says no. Their intention is to have Mac OS run on Apple hardware only.
2) Hopefully not.
3) Interesting question. My guess is the announcement will seriously affect sales over the next two years.

Horst Prillinger, 2005-06-06

Steve has some experience with a transition from Motorola to Intel. He has done it before with the NeXt plattform.

Martin 'm3' Leyrer, 2005-06-06

P.S.: This spells trouble for Microsoft as they have to get the Xbox 360 up an running before the can't sell G5s as development plattforms any more. ;)

Martin 'm3' Leyrer, 2005-06-06

Hm how strange... Intel getting Apple on EM64T?
After all that time talking x86-64 down.
Or are they going to use ia64?
That would be a monster exchange ;-)

Martin Forisch, 2005-06-06

Interesting comment from Ovum analyst Gary Barnett:
Our advice to Apple is this - If Intel has offered you such a good deal (and we know Intel would have pulled the stops out) then by all means adopt a dual architecture strategy. But to defect from one processor architecture just as it seems about to take off to one that may have already peaked doesn't make any sense to us at all.

Wolfgang Sommergut, 2005-06-06

Sound like utter b/s. Maintaining two architectures is way too expensive.

Volker Weber, 2005-06-06

"I don't care if it has chocolate chips inside, as long as it runs OS X" - Best comment I've seen on the subject. The real problem is for people like me. I have a 4 year old iBook G3 (its birthday is tomorrow). Do I buy now, and if so, what, or do I tough it out for 9 months? It is still earning its keep, but the inability to do monitor spanning, and the now-dismal GPU are limiting for some things.

David Richardson, 2005-06-07

It looks like a straight result from Apple trying to go mainstream.

On the issue of supporting two platforms:
Doesn't some of the Linux success come from supporting different platforms?

If Apple manages to build a PC design like the iMac or the Mac mini based on Pentium processors within 1-2 years, this would blame all the PC companies working on this platform for a long time. I understood that Apple was on a way to become true 64-bit. the x86 platform does not really look like fitting this strategy.

I personally have chosen my iMac more for HW than for MacOS.

Arnd Layer, 2005-06-07

There will be new G5-Mac (and G4-Books) till the change to Intel is fully implemented. I hope they will be much cheaper for still selling some although the technology becomes obsolete.

Martin Hiegl, 2005-06-07

"Sound like utter b/s. Maintaining two architectures is way too expensive."

Think about this though. They maintained multiple architectures with NeXTStep and OpenStep. The community does the same with *BSD. They're using GCC which obviously works with PPC and x86. There might be some expensive things like optimizations for the GUI but the performance increase due to moving to x86 should more than make up for it. Honestly this is the first time I've even heard someone suggest maintain 2 architectures. Conversely by not maintaining two architectures Apple can devote more time to the final transition. IBM failed to live up to expectations just as Motorola/Freescale did and Apple is trying to make the best of this especially when their stock is valued at an all time high.

Ed Saipetch, 2005-06-07

Are they really using gcc only?
I always thought that Apple would be using
XL C/C++ Advanced Edition for Mac OS X
Much like intel is offering its own compiler.

Martin Forisch, 2005-06-07

I'd have bet on Apple using the Cell Technology... well, there we go.

Moritz.Schroeder, 2005-06-07

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