It's Official: Apple Moves to Intel

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
It's Official: Apple Moves to Intel

Yahoo

And Neowin.net, which is unfortunately bogged down right now, had live text updates from the WWDC, which stated that Jobs not only confirmed the move to Intel, but that they were moving to the x86 architecture.
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
It means that Steve, who for years was running 'selected Photoshop filters', is going to have to find a new way to spin the fact that he's now using the same processors he claimed were so outclassed by the G5 the previous year.

What I am surprised at is MS' statement that they will develop versions of Office for the new x86 Macs.

Jobs also announced Rosetta, a real-time binary instruction translator, that apparently can be used to run PPC code on an Intel Mac at nearly normal speeds. This definitely impresses me. They're also releasing XCode 2.1, which can compile fat binaries; Steve is saying that both architectures will be supported for 'a long time to come'.

I'm very interested to see if MacOS X will run on commodity hardware. If it will, I might be convinced to get myself a copy to see how it runs.
 
That looked like English, and the words even made sense, but I read it and felt no more enlightened that I was originally.

How will this impact me, a Mac user?
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
Not much, at first.

But this is how I see it:

If MacOS X86 runs on commodity hardware, or is readily available, developers will stop writing for the PPC (hand tuned AltiVec, for example). Why would, say, Adobe invest so much extra in writing a PPC-tuned version of Photoshop, when they can just release the x86 compiled binary, which would run on the Intel Macs?

But you, a PPC user, might be up the creek.

You're not a Macolyte, so this isn't going to completely shake your worldview ;) But for some folks (no names here . . . ), who have been touting the superiority of not only MacOS, but also the underlying hardware itself, this is a big deal. Remember that Steve Jobs has spent years (with the G4 and the G5), claiming that the particular PPC CPU in question is so much more powerful than a P4. And he always 'proved' this by running selected Photoshop filters and cooked benchmarks.

And Macolytes loved him for it. Now he has to explain to them that he's switching to Intel processors, the same ones he spent years trashing. It'll be interesting to see their reactions, although I'll bet that they'll eat up whatever he says. The man could **** in a pretty plastic box, and they'd buy it by the millions.
 
{KOW}Spazed said:
Only if I can plug my iPod into it.



I am fairly pissed.
Eventually there will be just one big Company, called Macinsoft, or perhaps Microtosh.

This is only the beginning.
 
MixedVariety said:
Eventually there will be just one big Company, called Macinsoft, or perhaps Microtosh.

This is only the beginning.
Well we have Wintel now, so it would have to become something like Macrinsoft.
 
No, the 1 company in the future will be called Mc-int-soft-mart.
Anyway, i think as with most stories as they come out, people fear the worst, and the odds are in 5 years time everything will be lovely at mac, with even more ipods.
 

Amra

Diabloii.Net Member
So how should I feel about this? Should I still plan on switching to a mac?

???

Oh, I wouldn't be switching anytime soon. Probably not for months (unless there is some reason to change sooner?).
 

mhl12

Diabloii.Net Member
It's not really gonna affect the mac at all really. If you're switching for just the outside looks and the operating system, theres really almost no difference. The only thing changing is the processor i think.
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
I disagree. This will hurt PPC development at best, and at worst sink it. Think about it.

If a developer can save money by simply developing an x86 version of an application, and just compile for the Windows API and the MacOS X86 environment, why would they bother compiling and testing for PPC as well? The first one requires only one set up of code, and any hand tuned assembly would be portable. Developing for a PPC core would require hand written AltiVec that couldn't be ported.

For example, see Adobe. If they could focus on compiling and optimising only an x86 version of Photoshop, such as hand coded assembly and SSE / SSE 2 / SSE 3 instructions, and it would function on Macs and x86 systems, why spend the extra money and time on an AltiVec version for PPC systems?

Although if you really want a Mac, Amra, I wouldn't be surprised if prices drop precipitously in the coming months. Apple may have just Osborne'd themselves. At least they have the iPod to keep them going.
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
Steel_Avatar said:
What I am surprised at is MS' statement that they will develop versions of Office for the new x86 Macs.
This surprised me too, at first, but then again MS sees Mac Office as a "get out of jail free" card it can use when it's accused of monopolistic practices and predatory pricing and stuff.

Steel_Avatar said:
I'm very interested to see if MacOS X will run on commodity hardware. If it will, I might be convinced to get myself a copy to see how it runs.
Don't hold your breath. Apple is and will remain for many years a hardware company, and they'll do what they can to keep OS X running on Apple machines only. I don't doubt that some hackers will come up with a BIOS kludge to get it running on certain beige boxes, but it's going to be unsupported.

On the other hand, I understand that Windows will run on the MacTel hardware. So you could just get yourself a Centrino PowerBook next time you're in the market for a new machine. :D

It's a good thing that Apple has more than $6 billion in cash right now, because they're going to burn through at least a quarter of it when their sales go into the toilet for the next year. I was going to make a new purchase soon, but now it looks like I'll be waiting for a MacTel machine running 10.5 late next year instead.

Steel: This development kills PPC for the PC market. But I think IBM is going to be quite happy developing POWER chips for their heavy iron and, oh, I dunno, the PPC-based chips that will go into all three new gaming consoles. I think those might be worth a bit of money to the company. ;)

Amra: You might be able to get a fantastic deal on a used Mac, since lots of people will be panicking and selling their machines in preparation for the new stuff. (I know a few people who are buying nice monitors and cheap Mac Minis to use for the time being, with the plan to get a new machine once they come out.) PPC will be supported in Apple's software for some years to come, so anything you get now will be usable for a while. But if you can afford to wait, waiting until an Intel-based Mac comes on the market will probably ensure that what you get will be compatible with the newest software for many more years into the future.
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
Durf: I agree that the PPC iron market isn't going away; I guess I should have been more specific. I meant that MacOS development for the PPC core is going to go down the ****ter.

And you're right about Apple having to burn through that warchest.

Interestingly enough, I've read comments from Apple muckitymucks that say that the new Mactel boxes will not use the Open Firmware approach used in the current Mac boxes. This leads me to believe, again, that Apple will be using an off-the-shelf CPU from Intel, and not a new proprietary design.

And if that kludge ever hits Bittorrent, you bet I'd download it to try it out :) Perhaps Apple will have to get used to mass-market piracy :p
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
Steel_Avatar said:
Durf: I agree that the PPC iron market isn't going away; I guess I should have been more specific. I meant that MacOS development for the PPC core is going to go down the ****ter.
Well yeah, since Apple is instructing developers to stop developing PPC-specific stuff. The list of requirements for Rosetta is pretty frightening to folks who've been doing PPC software for a while:
Rosetta does not run the following:
* Applications built for Mac OS 8 or 9
* Code written specifically for AltiVec
* Code that inserts preferences in the System Preferences pane
* Applications that require a G4 or G5 processor
* Applications that depend on one or more kernel extensions
* Kernel extensions
* Bundled Java applications or Java applications with JNI libraries that can’t be translated
(source)

Steel_Avatar said:
Interestingly enough, I've read comments from Apple muckitymucks that say that the new Mactel boxes will not use the Open Firmware approach used in the current Mac boxes. This leads me to believe, again, that Apple will be using an off-the-shelf CPU from Intel, and not a new proprietary design.
Yeah, but there's lots of things you can do to a motherboard to make sure it's an approved setup for the software to run on. There's interesting stuff in this post and the comments that follow it, including:
I don't know what the developer NDA covers, so I won't go into too much detail on this, but I have a source who has provided me with some details on the IA-32 machines that are going to start shipping to ISVs in a couple of weeks. They're Power Mac G5s with almost totally stock system boards and new, air-cooled IA-32 PMUs. The U3H memory controller and bridge ASIC has been altered to match the bus timing of the IA-32 processor, but that's all. Everything else on the system board is exactly the same. The internal components are all still connected via Hyper Transport through the K2 ASIC and the PCI-X bridge chip. The PMUs have 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 processors on them, but these will definitely not be the processors that Apple ships next year. The processors will be IA-32-instruction-set-compatible, but they will not be Pentium chips. They're going to be specially designed processors that Intel delivers to Apple but to no other customers, binary compatible with the Pentium family but not identical to any off-the-shelf microprocessor. For lack of a better name, I've taken to calling them "G6," but that's totally my own invention and not meant to be in any way authentic. It's just my own shorthand.
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
I saw that too. The only thing is, it runs smack up against the issue I was talking about earlier. Apple is a small customer compared to the overall number of chips Intel ships per year. Are they really going to be willing to shell out the money to design such a chip, test it, and then set up one of their fabs to make the things? And even once they start runs, Intel seemingly always has issues with yields in their first runs of a line. I just don't see all that happening within a year.

At least IBM had the Power4 and 5 series that could benefit from development work on the PowerPC 970.

And yeah, that list of things Rosetta won't do pretty much screams: "It won't run anything, so might as well switch to developing for the new IA."


PS: I've seen you all over the Ars forum thread about this :)
 

Ranger14

Diabloii.Net Member
From http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ quoting Jobs.

...We've been through many transistions. 680x0 to PowerPC, Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Today we begin a third transition. It's true; We are switching to Intel. Why are we switching to Intel? Intel offers great performance. Intel offers great power consumption. The transition will take a few years, but it will be worth it. We want to be making the best computer for the customer going forward. June 2006 will begin our Intel transition. By June 2007, we will be complete.
We face two challenges. The first, is Mac OS X on Intel. We've been maintaining Mac OS X on Intel AND PPC, secretly, for the past 5 years, just in case. Now is the time. Every prior release of Mac OS X has been compiled for multiple architectures.
The demos of the last half-hour of Tiger have been on a Pentium 4.
I don't know, it doesn't sound like it is going to be that big of deal, though it means I will want to wait a year now to buy a new laptop. :(

What's the surprise about Microsoft developing office for the new systems? They've done it for the existing systems and they do have a vested interest in Apple.
 

Steel_Avatar

Diabloii.Net Member
The surprise is that except for Apple, Adobe and MS are basically the only things propping up OS X. *dodges Macolytes*. Take either of the latter two away, and the platform will eventually wither and die.

What this means is that honestly, before today, MS could have easily finished off Apple at any time, simply by stopping development for Mac Office.

However, Apple will now be running on similar if not identical hardware to the armies of boxes running Windows. Now Apple is in direct competition with MS, whereas before MS could kind of smile and say, "Oh aren't they cute."

So I'm surprised that MS would help Apple compete with them.
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
Steel_Avatar said:
PS: I've seen you all over the Ars forum thread about this :)
No, that's my evil twin, I swear. :D

Ranger: If you're really hurting for a new machine (are you still on that old colorful iBook?) it won't harm you to get a G4 iBook. That'll work just fine with Tiger, and certainly Leopard, and probably whatever they call 10.6, too. Whatever you buy now will serve you will in OS X for years to come.

I definitely understand the "was going to buy soon but might as well wait for the newer stuff" feeling, though.
 
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