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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Apple to switch to Intel chips, says CNET

Apple to switch to Intel chips, says CNET
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Boochie
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Jun 3, 2005, 08:22 PM
 
Hmmm. It's not April 1.

http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+I...?tag=nefd.lede

If it's true, so much for my plans to buy a G5 this year. What a software nightmare this will become.
     
Eug Wanker
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Jun 3, 2005, 08:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Boochie
Hmmm. It's not April 1.
Yeah, somebody has been smoking some pretty good stuff.
     
Severed Hand of Skywalker
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Jun 3, 2005, 08:46 PM
 
sounds rather retarded to me. I don't think it is true.

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jedimstr
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Jun 3, 2005, 08:53 PM
 
Switching to Intel for fabrication from IBM and Motorola doesn't necessarily mean switching to the current x86 architecture.

still... I doubt this article is correct. CNet has been known for their spread of anti-Apple FUD.

We won't know for sure until Monday.
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osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:04 PM
 
this story has a different feel than the others for me.

a) its cnet(which do not get me wrong could be wrong)
b) its a late friday post. (PR and apple people went home)
c) steve announces WWDC first thing monday?


strange days indeed... the lag time could REALLY hurt their sales.
     
exca1ibur
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:04 PM
 
Ouch. Looks like hell has frozen over.
     
osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Boochie
Hmmm. It's not April 1.

http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+I...?tag=nefd.lede

If it's true, so much for my plans to buy a G5 this year. What a software nightmare this will become.

Yes and no. Depends on the tools apple provides. Next software came as Quadbinaries at one point.
     
osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:06 PM
 
hmmm another thought...

clones!?

maybe not dell but other mid tier (maybe HP) i guess it comes down to how much royalties and what type of company apple wants to be 3 years from now.
     
Photog
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:20 PM
 
It is possible that Intel is buying IBM's microprocessor devision and Intel will produce Power derivative chips for Apple. IBM has been selling off everything that is not services and they have not been making money on their chip business. Intel could give the G5 the boost that IBM has not been able to provide.
Or maybe if Intel is not buying IBM and Apple is switching to Intel Apple will port OS X to x86 and you will have a choice when you buy an Intel powered PC between Windows and OS X. A 64 bit dual core Pentium would not be bad, but what happens to all of the software that is designed for Power PC and Altivec.
     
osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:26 PM
 
quad binaries - see my post above

found this too:

http://www.blackholeinc.com/catalog/...ld/index.shtml
     
Quadra
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:37 PM
 
The Cnet story isn't likely in light of today's PC magazine report:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1823587,00.asp
( Last edited by Quadra; Jun 3, 2005 at 09:38 PM. Reason: wrong source)
     
osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Quadra
The Cnet story isn't likely in light of today's PC magazine report:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1823587,00.asp

not really. the cnet story says the powermac would not go intel until 2007
     
zoetrope
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Jun 3, 2005, 09:54 PM
 
This is hilarious, both PC Magazine and Cnet are owned by the same company, and they contradict each other.

So, if the Cnet article is correct (which I seriously doubt it is), that means Apple is willing to watch their sales for the complete line of Macs quickly dwindle next to nothing for over a year while they phase in Intel chips to their Macs. I just purchased my PM Dual 2.7Ghz at the beginning of May. I'm supposed to believe that it will be obsolete by 2007?

If this is true, this will make the iPod class action lawsuit that Apple just tentatively settled look like a walk in the park. Yes folks, Cnet wants you to believe that the new PowerBook, iMac, Power Mac you just bought will be obsolete within a year to two. Wow, this is supposed to pass for journalism?
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osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:09 PM
 
>I'm supposed to believe that it will be obsolete by 2007?

Your machine will still run and look how long the os 9 trans took. You could easily add 2 or 3 years to the 2007 date by which you will be able to buy a new mac with more power for $499 i bet.
     
zoetrope
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:17 PM
 
Apple announced the G5s when? 2003? Just two years later and he's so disgusted with IBM that he scraps the whole PowerPC/RISC architecture for x86? C'mon.

Comparing OS 9 migration to OS X and RISC to x86 is definitely an apples to oranges comparison. Yeah, developers are supposed to recompile all their code to x86 within the next year so their apps can run natively on lower end macs?
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osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:22 PM
 
I don't get it. Even if this story is true apple will have to make sure all their software compiles for both platforms until a couple of years after 2007.

>. Yeah, developers are supposed to recompile all their code to x86 within the next year so their apps can run natively on lower end macs?

If the story is true then yes. I do not see a techincal reason why they could not within that time frame if apple provides them with tools or a road map at WWDC. Especially if Marlkar is true

See the history of NeXT and quad binaries for an example.
     
Microns
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:28 PM
 
Tiger running on a pair of dual core AMD Opterons wouldn't be a bad thing.
Sure they are only at 2.2Ghz today...
     
zoetrope
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:34 PM
 
> If the story is true then yes. I do not see a techincal reason why they could not within that time frame if apple provides them with tools or a road map at WWDC.

Technical reasons? Just because third party developers have the technical capabilities of recompiling their software to run on an x86 platform doesn't mean it makes business sense. Can you imagine how quick Apple's Mac sales will dry up if Steve makes an announcement resembling the Cnet article? Can the iPod really get them through that hump?
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osxisfun
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:40 PM
 
That's the part that worries me the most.

Guess that 6 billion they have in the bank is going come in handy.

3 more days and we will know if all this was for nothing.
     
Catfish_Man
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Jun 3, 2005, 10:54 PM
 
omgappleisgoingtoswitchtohamsters
     
Zaurus
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Jun 3, 2005, 11:02 PM
 
put the IBM on shame
     
jedimstr
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Jun 3, 2005, 11:41 PM
 
Another thing to remember... since the PPC architecture was developed by the AIM partnership between Apple, IBM, and Motorola (Freescale)... and so far only Motorola and IBM have made chips based on it via their ownership rights... wouldn't it stand to reason that Apple also has rights to the foundation PPC architecture? Which means they could go to any fab out there to co-design and manufacture their own derivative PPC based next-gen processor?

So it stands to reason that Apple can legally go to Intel and ask them to help make their new G6 PowerPC processor without the 80's legacy problems of switching to x86 or migration headaches of moving to a "new" platform.

Still not saying this will happen... but if they go the custom Apple/Intel PPC route, I don't think it'll be that bad! One thing's for sure...if they go x86-clone, they lose out on their most cherished capability with the Mac platform... the idea that everything (more or less) just works... Apple's strict control of the platform made that happen. With an x86-clone architecture, they'd lose that control.
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Zaurus
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Jun 3, 2005, 11:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by jedimstr
Another thing to remember... since the PPC architecture was developed by the AIM partnership between Apple, IBM, and Motorola (Freescale)... and so far only Motorola and IBM have made chips based on it via their ownership rights... wouldn't it stand to reason that Apple also has rights to the foundation PPC architecture? Which means they could go to any fab out there to co-design and manufacture their own derivative PPC based next-gen processor?

So it stands to reason that Apple can legally go to Intel and ask them to help make their new G6 PowerPC processor without the 80's legacy problems of switching to x86 or migration headaches of moving to a "new" platform.

Still not saying this will happen... but if they go the custom Apple/Intel PPC route, I don't think it'll be that bad! One thing's for sure...if they go x86-clone, they lose out on their most cherished capability with the Mac platform... the idea that everything (more or less) just works... Apple's strict control of the platform made that happen. With an x86-clone architecture, they'd lose that control.

they lose the customers too

honestly, OSX-x86 or Intel-PPC
Apple will still lose the business in both way
     
fulcrum
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Jun 4, 2005, 12:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by zoetrope
This is hilarious, both PC Magazine and Cnet are owned by the same company, and they contradict each other.
Get your facts right before you blatantly report them as truths. PC Magazine is owned by Ziff-Davis. CNET is a completely different corporation. CNET aquired ZDNet, which was spun off from Ziff-Davis, about 5 years ago, but not Ziff-Davis itself.
     
darwin23
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Jun 4, 2005, 06:15 AM
 
This maybe some Apple FUD to keep IBM working all weekend to give Steve-O his 3gHz G5.

Apple and Intel are up to something, Monday we may know what it is.

My money is on PCIe in new G5's.
     
rhogue islander
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Jun 4, 2005, 06:51 AM
 
I'd be happier if they were going to AMD.
     
The Placid Casual
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Jun 4, 2005, 07:05 AM
 
Now that I have got my breath... OMG.

After what happened to NeXT, and if this is true, I really fear that we may be seeing the end of Apple as a hardware maker.

Dark, strange and disturbing times.

     
voth
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Jun 4, 2005, 07:33 AM
 
I can see the switch as a good thing for Apple, meaning more people could afford one and get a access to a high end computer without all the hassles of virii, trojan, etc. (at least for a time until someone creates them), and heck throw in a decent OS to boot. Though, I can see this as a bad thing too, it means less people will have control over Apple's hardware, which will most likely spawn some clones, etc. and we all remember the clone wars, they did nothing but hurt Apple.

Well, that's my $0.02, if it happens it happens. We'll see Monday.
     
pliny
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:53 AM
 
Not too much of a software nightmare, but some work. Like back in the 68k to PPC transition, there might be "fat binaries" for a time-- a package with both x86 and PPC versions. There would have to be some incentive for developers to include two versions in their packages, though, at least a for a little while. Maybe apple and Intel will announce some kind of deal on Monday to this effect.

In the long run it might be a good idea. Intel produces alot of chips and people would be able to easily plunk their MacOS into the x86/AMD, provided of course that it isn't a version with MS DRM coded hardware in it.
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JMII
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Jun 4, 2005, 09:05 AM
 
Here is my take:

IBM can't deliever the goods. We all know they have been way behind in chip production and speed... and now they've got orders to produce a TON of new chips for Sony's PS3 and M$'s XBox360. Those two factors alone mean that all of a sudden Apple is the small fish in IBM's pond.

So Apple takes their chip business elsewhere and Intel starts building PPC RISC chips to Apple's specs. It's a win/win for Apple because they too can now claim "Intel Inside" while still marketing "the same amazing technology that powers the PS3 and XBox". The average consumer on the street would be impressed. In addition, most likely Apple gets Intel to somehow get chip production costs down enough to drop the Mac mini's price to an even more consumer-friendly $399.

Face it, there is no way can Steve go onto the WWDC stage and say "thanks to you developers we have made OSX the best operation system out there, now get back to work and figure out how to make it fly on X86 based chips" everyone would flip him off and stomp out the door crussing and screaming. If I was a developer I'd give up and start porting all my software to Windose at that point. So instead he says "due to our new partnership with Intel the G6 will be out in 10 months running at 3GHz and we've managed to cut the price of entry level Mac ownership by $100 too." The crowd cheers and Steve is a hero once again.
     
Randman
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Jun 4, 2005, 09:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by JMII
Here is my take:

IBM can't deliever the goods. We all know they have been way behind in chip production and speed... and now they've got orders to produce a TON of new chips for Sony's PS3 and M$'s XBox360. Those two factors alone mean that all of a sudden Apple is the small fish in IBM's pond.

So Apple takes their chip business elsewhere and Intel starts building PPC RISC chips to Apple's specs. It's a win/win for Apple because they too can now claim "Intel Inside" while still marketing "the same amazing technology that powers the PS3 and XBox". The average consumer on the street would be impressed. In addition, most likely Apple gets Intel to somehow get chip production costs down enough to drop the Mac mini's price to an even more consumer-friendly $399.

Face it, there is no way can Steve go onto the WWDC stage and say "thanks to you developers we have made OSX the best operation system out there, now get back to work and figure out how to make it fly on X86 based chips" everyone would flip him off and stomp out the door crussing and screaming. If I was a developer I'd give up and start porting all my software to Windose at that point. So instead he says "due to our new partnership with Intel the G6 will be out in 10 months running at 3GHz and we've managed to cut the price of entry level Mac ownership by $100 too." The crowd cheers and Steve is a hero once again.
That could be very well it. Nice post.

This is a computer-generated message and needs no signature.
     
acadian
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Jun 4, 2005, 10:07 AM
 
Could also be a great marketing ploy on the part of Apple, remember the "leaked" G5 specs on Apple's site......
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Maflynn
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Jun 4, 2005, 10:10 AM
 
Don't flame me but if this story is true and I hope it isn't what incentive of spending more money the hardware. I feel in the long run the hardware will go by the board and apple will be a software company and at that stage I'm not sure they can compete against M$

to be honest I'm not really interested in spending more money for an apple if its a PC


Mike
     
osxisfun
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Jun 4, 2005, 10:46 AM
 
how is it a pc? it will still run OSX. and apple will choose the HW parts that goes with it so we don't get pc clone quality.
     
jamil5454
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Jun 4, 2005, 10:53 AM
 
http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1110

^ AppleInsider is reporting it too.
     
Commodus
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Jun 4, 2005, 11:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454
http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1110

^ AppleInsider is reporting it too.
They're just pointing to the News.com article. Nothing of their own to confirm or deny it.
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marcelol
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Jun 4, 2005, 11:05 AM
 
Everyone is speculating.

1. Yes, it's possible that Apple wants Intel to FAB out their chips.
2. Yes, it's possible that Apple is shifting to x86.
3. Yes, it's possible that IBM is trying to dump Apple because it has the console market now.
4. Yes, it's possible to rebuild OS X to x86 ( with a lot of effort ).
5. Yes it's possible it's a mutual "trial separation" between IBM and Apple.

All these are entirely plausible and possible options. BUT.....

Weighing all the likelihoods together. Not much of it adds up. The one slim possibility might be a "FAB" deal.
But.....I seriously doubt much of it. Surely something is cooking, but anything before WWDC, is sheer speculation.
     
axlepin
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Jun 4, 2005, 11:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn
I feel in the long run the hardware will go by the board and apple will be a software company and at that stage I'm not sure they can compete against M$

to be honest I'm not really interested in spending more money for an apple if its a PC

Mike

you both suggested an idea AND refuted its wisdom there, Mike..there was a good article on this 'Apple switching to Intel' posted at MacWold week before last.

With regard to Apple becoming a software or OS-only company, the author said that Apple would have to sell MANY more copies of OSX to make up for the loss of hardware revenue, which would be like saying, Apple would have to grow its market share to something like 15-20% in order to stay afloat.

That's not going to happen.

The fact that Apple makes both OS and computer is a big draw..it's no small whoop to say that "it just works" to a company that needs to get work done.

Imagine taking the great OS X to a piece of hinky hardware...not a good scenario. Who do you call for support? Apple? They'll just say it's a hardware problem. Call the hardware vendor, and they'll say "We don't offer support for OS X."

The above scenario already happens too often - hardware and software companies pointing the finger at each other.

If OSX becomes just as fraught with headaches as windblows, then what's the advantage of OSX?

Just that it looks cooler?

axle
     
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Jun 4, 2005, 12:11 PM
 
I don't think if apple switches that means that you can buy the os separately neccessary. at least in the short term. if they do it in the long term then there will be a new spec that will say "mac os x compatible" that would get rid of most of the problems that windows uses have had with their HW.
     
ryarber
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Jun 4, 2005, 12:12 PM
 
I am sure that apple would build something into their intel macs that will enable them to boot MacOS X. However, I wonder if we'll would finally get the mythical red box to run windows in. Would we then be able to run windows natively without the use of an emulator? That would be sweet as I would like to have the ability to run windows software at native speeds on my mac. Could apple support windows API's if they were on intel so that any windows app would run natively under OS X?

Also, would this mean that we have seen the end of carbon? Supposedly if apps are written in cocoa, they will be portable. Isn't that right? I guess we should expect to see a big push to cocoa at WWDC.

I think this could be the 2nd best move Apple ever made, 2nd only to the move from classic to MacOS X. I can see that it might absolutely kill their hardware sales for the next two years, however. I can see them doing a similar thing here they did in the transition from classic to OS X. ie. support both platforms for a couple of years, encourage their developers to move to cocoa, especially for the common folk apps like quicken and MS office.

It is possible that Apple and MS could cooperate on this one as well. Don't rule out this possibility. Jobs has said himself that the OS war is over. I can't see him going out and taunting the 800 pound gorilla, but rather trying to team up with them somehow. Cooperation could come on many fronts. They could work to bring some of MS's proprietary technology to the MacOS, for a nominal fee of course, eg. Active X.

As for Apple becoming a software company, I don't see it happening that way. Apple has a sense of style absent for PC companies. Apple will want to have attractive computers, just as their OS is attractive. I think Jobs and Ives would hate seeing MacOS X running on a standard beige or black dell or emachines computer. This is one of the things that sets apple apart from others.
     
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Jun 4, 2005, 12:37 PM
 
If this is true.....

1. I will have to throw out my G5 pretty soon because will have a new transition again...
2. I will never buy a mac (Cant stand it saying intel inside.....)
3. Buy a Windows based desktop and have lots of beer in the evening and talk to friends about the good old mac days....
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Jun 4, 2005, 12:41 PM
 
> I will never buy a mac (Cant stand it saying intel inside.....)

I just don't understand comments like this. The OS is most of what makes the mac great and the left over percentage that is hardware will be overseen by apple to ensure similar quality.

Very few people think that apple is going to announce that OSX will run on _any_ pc you can buy at Frys.
     
Agent69
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Jun 4, 2005, 01:09 PM
 
I think that the reaction of some people to this possibility is amusing. It really doesn't matter if Apple switches to x86, as long as they engineer the machine properly. And I have heard a few times that Apple builds Mac OS X on x86 machines for compatibility reasons, so this might not be a bad as some say it will. (I used to run NeXTStep on a Pentium Pro 200 and it ran great.)

I can see a few immediate benefits to moving to the x86:

1. Video card makers would no longer have to custom build video card ROMs for the Mac, so video card selection should increase (provided drivers are available).

2. People who always crowed about Apple CPUs being slower would no longer have that argument.

3. Apple can purchased CPU for less.

As I have said before, if Apple does switch, don't think that you will be able to slap Mac OS X into any old PC. I believe that Apple will customize their hardware, and Mac OS X, to the point where you have to buy Apple x86 hardware to run Mac OS X.
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terrancew_hod
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Jun 4, 2005, 01:52 PM
 
I've been looking at posts and articles about this topic all morning, and the biggest benefit of the Intel/Apple relationship would be the Powerbook. Right now, Apple's been saying that there are many challenges to putting the G5 into a laptop. Imagine that being solved by a custom centrino-based motherboard. You would have a longer lasting laptop with the OS X operating system. Also I remember way back on a rumor about there being a x86 based version of OS X that stays in sync with the current version of the OS. The transition to a different hardware platform may not be as big of a hurdle as we think--as long as developers are writing their code to the API and SDKs and not dropping down to the hardware. That's how some developers on the x86 platform ran into trouble with past versions of windows, especially around the time windows 95 came out.

And i agree with JMII's post about IBM not delivering. Still not breaking the 3GHz mark after two years and problems moving the next-gen processor to the mobile computers may have taken their toll (not to mention Apple NEEDs to advertise their OS on TV!!!). Maybe it's time for them to look at a chip company that can consistently give them a supply of chips so they can continue to innovate and maybe produce a cheaper mac at that.

I'm saving up for a Powermac G5, I don't have all the money saved yet, but I wouldn't mind buying an intel-based machine for the performance and the OS for the software and security.

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Jun 4, 2005, 04:46 PM
 
Would Virtual PC run faster?

Could OSX outrun windows on the same CPU?
     
Agent69
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by kman42
Would Virtual PC run faster?

Could OSX outrun windows on the same CPU?
Virtual PC would only be considerably faster, since the x86 instruction set would not have to be emulated. In this instance, Virtual PC would be similar to VMWare.

As for outrunning Windows, Windows would probably feel faster due the its simplier graphics subsystem, as least until Longhorn is released.
Agent69
     
new newton
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:05 PM
 
Y'all must be new...

It's not as though we haven't been through this before. The change to PPC was just as big. The world won't end, no matter what. Some of you are just plain batty.
     
CaptainHaddock
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:13 PM
 
Here are my thoughts on the matter, and I could be wrong.

1. There's almost no way Apple would switch to x86. It's almost impossible to estimate how much R&D they would be wasting, R&D that has made the PowerPC and Altivec a superior CPU architecture. They would also lose the ability to outpace PC performance. And while Intel CPU code can easily be emulated on a PowerPC, the reverse is not possible. There's no easy way to run all the existing OS X software on x86 with emulation.

Note, however, that the Cnet report does not actually say Apple will switch to x86 processors.

2. If Apple is concerned about IBM's ability to make enough PPC chips, they could very well be getting Intel to fabricate some of their PowerPCs from now on.

3. Apple could also be acquiring x86, Itanium, or Xscale processors for a non-Mac device: a video iPod, an Apple PVR, an Apple tablet, an Apple PDA, a network file server ... take your pick.

4. An anonymous Apple employee who develops PowerMacs posted the following to Slashdot:

Now, I have no evidence if we have Intel based Macs hiding anywhere. But, I do have evidence of the next PowerMac (yah, yah we just speed bumped them). But, it means at least one more generation of PowerMacs that are 970 based. http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.p...1&cid=12720684

In other words, he's heard zip about Intel-based Macs, and knows for a fact that a new round of Macs with PPC speed boosts is on its way.
     
osxisfun
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:20 PM
 
which makes sense if the powermacs will not get intel until 2007 as stated in the cnet story.
     
crucial
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Jun 4, 2005, 08:46 PM
 
Who cares what OS X runs on. All I care is that it runs, is fast, is stable and is fully supported.

If Apple moves over to an X86 architecture we as users would be in a win win situation. Faster, cheeper processors, greater variety of video cards, the ability to run those horrible windows programs that we occasionally need in native mode, and all on a machine that was as tightly integrated as the current Macs are because Apple would put a ROM on the motherboard, or have that X86 chip tweaked so that you had to buy an Apple machine to run OS X.

If all the stories of Apple keeping a version of OS X up to date that compiles to X86 architecture are true, and I don't doubt that they are (its called insurance) (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1656622,00.asp). I would not be surprised if they also had compilers that would allow software developers to VERY easily move their code over. NextStep had a compiler that allowed software to run on any of 4 different platforms, so Apple obviously know how to do it.

Steve, might be arrogant, but thankfully he is not dumb. If Apple makes this move he would want it to be as painless for all concerned, I am sure he is aware of the risk and does not want to lose any more market share than he already has.

As for anybodies brand new G5 2.7 becoming obsolete overnight that is simply not going to happen. (Unless you really feel that life is just not worth living if you don't have the latest and greatest). I have a friend who has been running her graphics consultancy quite effectively on an old Quadra running OS 9 until a few weeks ago when she moved to a used eMac. OS X and G3's 4's and 5's did not mean that that Quadra would no longer work, it just meant any new software ran slower and slower as it became more resource hungry, the old software continued to run as fast and stability as it ever did.
     
 
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