Apple ditching PowerPC, switching to Intel

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Well Microsoft has been fight

Well Microsoft has been fighting a big uphill battle over the last 10 years since windows 95 with hardware because of plug and play. 10 years ago, plug and play was very pitiful at best and totally unreliable at worst. Hardware from back then was still very concerned with jumpers and irq conflicts and dma settings and all that poop. Microsoft dealt with all that crap for a good 5 years minimum before hardware matured to the point where it really is troublefree. And even then, hardware vendors still provide bad drivers which make instable machines.

Apple shouldn't have nearly these type of issues if they decide to open X to the generic Intel market since they won't need to worry about much legacy hardware. I'm assumjing that they would at mimimum require pentium 4 class machines and if they are smart, they would limit the type of video cards. No making drivers for 237 different video cards, but rather maybe Nvidia and ATI mid-hi end video cards only.

If Apple plays their cards right and makes some restrictions as to suported hardware, hopefully they won't have to deal with the crap that microsoft has had to deal with. Heck, XP still has legacy drivers/support in the os for old hardware that hasnt' been used in many years (colorado jumbo tape backups for example).

Its all wishful thinking anyway, but still interesting to think about.

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Apple is a hardware company!

Apple is a hardware company!

While it's all well and good for anyone to buy a MacIntel to run Windows (or whatever), I don't think Apple will ever release a version of Mac OS that will run on non-Apple hardware.

dan k

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Sega was a hardware company t

Sega was a hardware company too with beautiful hardware (I loved the dreamcast) but look at them today.

Why is "Apple is a hardware company" so set in stone? If it makes better sense for them to become a software company, then so be it. They do have a policy of pleasing the stockholders first and foremost, not the diehard fanboy. They are out to make money afterall!! If selling more software is going to make them more money, then why the heck not?

This is all speculation and I maybe barking so far up the wrong Apple tree, but its possible that this is the first step in the swtichover and it could make sense.

The diehard fanboy just doesn't want to accept this.

Also if Apple were a hardware company only, then we would never have such beatufiul software as OS X and Garageband and itunes and everything else. The only thing that Apple doesn't sell in ways of software is a highend powerful office suite (Appleworks? LOL) like Microsoft does.

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Steve on software

Hey,

Few of you understand Jobs or know what he's thinking. He's laid it out, you only have to pay attention. As he said in the Smithsonian interview:

"We certainly made our fair share of mistakes, but in the end I think we should have taken a bit longer to realize the world was changing and just gone on to be a software company right off the bat."

Read the interview -- conducted when Jobs was at NeXT -- and you'll see it all.

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re: Steve on software

The comments he made in that interview were in direct reference to NeXT, were they not? Next: a company that failed miserably on the hardware side for a variety of reasons. Steve Jobs wanted perfection in the hardware, but back then, that meant charging an arm and a leg for it and nobody was buying. So he actually did take NeXT into the software-only category. Since his return to Apple--after selling to Apple because it was no longer a sustainable venture as a software-only company--he has become known as a hardware guru as well as a software fanatic. He loves OS X, but he loves his iMacs, ipods, iBooks, Powerbooks, Power Macs, etc. as well.

Also, remember what Schiller said about OS X on a standard PC--not gonna happen. Now that the shock has worn off, I think that the intel move will capture the balance that Apple and Jobs have been after all along--to be a broadly utilized and recognized hardware AND software company. I think that is where their future greatness lies.

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The NeXT Steve

Hey,

Try and pay attention. How many NeXT notions have carried over into Apple realities? Stop projecting your limited understanding into what you *think* people are saying. As for the Schiller comment: You take that at face value? Are you joking? OSX will be running on PCs two hours after the public release of the Intel based system. I just wish people would pour out the Kool-Aid and take a look around at the world.

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Apple is a hardware company!

The bulk of Apple's revenue and profits come from hardware sales. Ahearn seems to think that's gonna change, exactly how's that gonna work out, eh?

Mind, unlike some others, I'm not at all distraught over the MacIntel but rather just very curious to see where this is all gonna go.

As for X on generic x86, of course it'll happen, though I'll wager Apple legal will happen too. Smile Hacking X to generic x86 is a tiny bugbite on Apple's ass, certainly not significant in terms of market share or revenue lost. How many regular-folks Windows users are gonna go through the bother, especially since so many are apparently irrevocably wedded to Windows? It's not the hardware platform that keeps 'em with M$, it's the OS. Those folks aren't switching now, nor will they switch to Mac OS just because (with a hack) X runs on x86.

I'm a tad skeptical though about how easy it'll be to run X on generic hardware. While I don't know much about Intel's capabilities, lots of folks seem to think the DRM stuff presages a pretty tough technical nut to crack. And don't forget that frickin' law - whatever it's called - that makes it illegal to circumvent this stuff. Might make any hacks/cracks a tad dicey to share, at least here in the good ol' USA.

And one more thing - since decreeing X shall be dual platform, there's little reason Apple couldn't continue to make PPC machines indefinitely. If IBM or Freescale comes through with something cool and appropriate Apple could just sell those Macs right along side the MacIntels.

dan k

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Ha ha ha

Hey

You said:

"It's not the hardware platform that keeps 'em with M$, it's the OS."

Oh, that Ahearn, he's just bug-eyed crazy . . .

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...but what does this mean in 2005 ? ? ?

I have been holding off but feel the urge to weigh in...

First, being a hardware company in 2005 means something very different than it did in 1985 or even 1995... Nobody can reinvent - or even improve - upon the commonly agreed to "wheel" without slipping into the realm of embedded systems or radically new solutions (which probably will hit the scene someday and make PCs look like the Model-T...).

Second, nobody said that Apple (or Microsoft, Sony, etc.) has to have a single platform philosophy... my guess today (with little to base it upon, I agree) would be that in five years, if successful, Apple will have product lines that look something like this:

- Proprietary appliances like the iPod, perhaps often accompanied by web services like iTunes...

- Relatively closed software on relatively open hardware like Tiger on the notebook/desktop hybrid that is becoming the reference design... and with the option of running other software (as in Windows, Linux, etc.) if the Apple-supplied proprietary frontend is not 'the best choice' (meaning too generic, expensive, etc.).

- Relatively open software on relatively open hardware for application and storage devices (like the Xserve and Xsan for institutions and business...) that has integration and software advantages when used in an Apple-oriented environment but that are, in reality, platforms for Darwin plus services optimized for markets that Apple is focused on (such as MPEG-4 and HD streaming...)

My point is that they have lots of options... The question is whether the opensource components on x86 will be as efficient on non-Apple hardware as on Apple hardware (nobody, to my knowledge, runs Darwin for PowerPC on an IBM machine... and some, myself included, wanted to supply services on Darwin/x86 in an industrial manner but never succeeded because it was not fully "supported" in the sense that it was the core of a more largely deployed solution*).

The only question(s) I have is what Apple will do about game consoles and media centers: my speculation is that they will "simply" offer up the MacMini (and more focused variants) as a target and let third parties develop games and peripherals for both markets...

I guess I am not sufficiently steeped in the Steve Jobs mythology, be it pro-or-con, to presume much... and I would imagine that even he is 'maturing' as he hits the half-century mark (as I have myself, recently...). In any event, I think the brand power of Apple is enough to transition a significant fraction of the installed base to insure stable marketshare... and in a relatively saturated market with one major player and two 'pretenders' (Apple and F/OSS), only major errors (or shenanigans) can cause that reality to weaken...

In any case, change is inevitable but managed change is better than chaos and uncertainty...

* for example, I will be interested to see whether LaCie can offer a NAS device with Darwin/x86 rather than Windows CE (or maybe Apple will do it themselves, which might explain why LaCie avoided it...)

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Re: Apple is a hardware company!

dankephoto wrote:

And one more thing - since decreeing X shall be dual platform, there's little reason Apple couldn't continue to make PPC machines indefinitely. If IBM or Freescale comes through with something cool and appropriate Apple could just sell those Macs right along side the MacIntels.

dan k

I disagree with you on this point. Apple will only sell both platforms for as long as it takes to convert the entire product line over to Intel. Apple will not sell PPC macs indefinately because a move like that will surely confuse the consumer. Apple learned this lesson in the mid-90's when there product matrix read like nightmare. It was a mess and it was one of the reasons why Apple was doing so poorly at that time. Since then Apple has gone on to simplify their product offerrings greatly. Why would they put themselves in a position to confuse customers again?

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One more thing to consider.

One more thing to consider. Apple won't be hurt too badly by some random people getting Mac OS X to insall on generic x86 hardware. What will keep the mac hardware business solvent is not to legall licence Mac OS X to other computer makers. Licening Mac OS X to say Dell, would really hurt Mac sales. Having some Linux geeks install Mac OS X on their unsupported machines probably wouldn't. Besides, since Apple won't support anything but Macs, an X install on generic x86 hardware would likely not be very fun.

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Oookkayy! Take a breather ahearn

Gettin' WAY too personal there williamahearn. Why are you so angry? Do you need a hug?

Yeah, I buy what Schiller says. Steve Jobs has always been adamant about maintaining exclusivity of the Mac OS. Schiller's comments merely emphasize this, while making reference to one area in which Apple seems to be acquiescing (sp?)--a multi-OS mac hardware platform.

My understanding is not limited. I have read many books on Steve Jobs, and I am a big fan of Apple from way back. You make the assumption that you "know" Steve Jobs--when was the last time you guys hung out, huh?? I am simply pointing out that taking comments he made more than a decade ago concerning a different company and a different business reality and trying to apply them to Apple's present day decision-making represents faulty logic. Apple will make whatever decisions they make and I will continue to purchase and enjoy whatever they produce, as long as it maintains quality and design elements that I have come to love over the years. Hopefully this will include proprietary hardware, but hey--that's just me.

You are way to emotional on this issue. Until you let go of that a little, please spare us the sermon and step out of the pulpit. Maybe switch to decaf. I prefer yoga. So does Steve Jobs, btw. But you already knew that, didn't you?

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Too personal?

Hey,

Your comments about me are rubbish and you can stuff your hug. Now I am angry. I was singled out by name and ridiculed and yet your warm and fuzzy pretensions extend to my response which only quoted someone who said something -- while disagreeing with me -- that supported my contention. If some kool-aid drinking, Jobs idolizing, Apple worshipping geek wants to make fun of me that's fine. I can handle it and I didn't respond in any way that suggested anger and I resent your assertion that I did. My statements about Jobs stands. He's smoking the bunch of you. Has it ever occurred to you that it is the very hard core Apple faithful that is holding Apple back from the mainstream? First all of you chicken littles are running around saying that it'll never happen and then you're down on your knees salaaming the great Steve because he's going to save Apple. Make up your minds. First Steve spun you to hate Intel and now he's going to spin you to love it. Think different but don't try and think for yourself: You can't handle it. And that is my last word on this silliness.

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Thanks!

williamahearn wrote:

Quote:

And that is my last word on this silliness.

That's the best news I have heard all week.

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But . . .

"williamahearn" wrote:

And that is my last word on this silliness.

Well, I certainly wasn't attacking. You seem to be thinking differently and I (for one) am interested in reading a clear explanation where you think this move is intended to take Apple.

dan k

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Keep it civil, folks.

Keep it civil, folks.

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did he say x86 or not?

So the dev box is x86, but is there *any* place where it is definitely stated that future Macs will be x86 as opposed to "Intel"?

This is interesting:

http://www.macmusic.org/agora/forums/index.php?s=&lang=EN&act=ST&f=12&t=20894&st=20

Quote:

The move to Intel for desktop machines seems foolish on it face until you
look at the time frame for their integration into the high-end Macs.
High-end Macs migrate to Intel LAST at the end of two years. What is
happening in 2 years at Intel?

That appears to be the timeframe for the release of a chip designed by a
very NON-Intel design team. Specifically, the old DEC Alpha team. If anyone
remembers DEC Alpha's they were the fastest processors available in the
90's. Consistently outperforming everything. 64-bit, multiprocessor from day
one with a very elegant, efficient design. DEC was, unfortunately, a
foundering company with a very 70's management style and vision. As a result
a superior chip design lost in the market place. Compaq knew even less than
DEC so the design team jumped ship. HP was even more clueless. For several
years now Peter Bannon and his old Alpha design team (over 300 of them) have
been working on Intel's next generation 64-bit designs. Their first design
for Intel, not-polluted by previous Intel in-house missteps, is planned for
a 2007 release. Interesting timing is it not.

Then again:

http://arstechnica.com/columns/mac/mac-20050608.ars

Quote:

The following hypothetical Apple-Intel road map is based on the reasonable presumption that Apple does not consider the ageing, power-hungry Netburst architecture to be an improvement over the relatively new and powerful G5 architecture, and that they'll skip Netburst entirely in favor of Yonah and its more power-efficient successors.

Time frame Apple product Intel processor

1Q 06-2Q 06: Mac Mini, iBook, and PowerBook
Yonah: A dual-core Pentium M successor; 65nm process; 32-bit; SSE3; improved FPU performance

2Q 06-3Q 06: iMac
Sossaman: A desktop Yonah derivative. This chip will have very low power consumption for a dual-core desktop design.

4Q 06-1Q 07: PowerBook
Merom: A dual-core Pentium M (Banias) successor
PowerMac
Conroe: A 64-bit desktop version of Merom (see comments above about Conroe).

3Q or 4Q 07: Xserve
A Xeon based on the same architecture as Merom and Conroe.

The above is, of course, just speculation. However, I do think it represents a realistic picture of how Apple's product line might evolve along with the Pentium M architecture.

The MacMusic forum has been interesting on this.

The announcement specifically says that Rosetta won't emulate Altivec. Audio studios are always upgrading to the fastest machines they can afford, and then tweaking like mad ferrets to get the last ounce of performance out of their boxes. Digital audio and other DSP apps like video and Photoshop are often tightly CPU dependant, and Altivec did give a real advantage for a while. Raw power probably makes up for most of the advantage now, and if IBM simply aren't going to build any faster Altivec-enabled CPUs the point is rather moot.

(On the other hand, Apple still part-own the IP for Altivec IIRC...)

EDIT: Some interesting comments about better Intel vector processing here.

The transition to OS X was painful for a lot of audio people, as it is a minority market and a lot of software and hardware wouldn't work under Classic. So people were stuck between wringing a few more years out of their existing OS/hardware or shelling out big bucks to replace dozens of different and highly specialised apps and hardware devices. Some apps, hardware and indeed whole companies didn't survive the transition.

The same sort of thing happened with 68k-to-PPC and Nubus-to-PCI (which is why some studios still run Quadras - to support Lexicon Nuverbs for example), and I think this transition may well be similar.

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intel won't make PPC chips, t

intel won't make PPC chips, that's an IBM architecture. Intel will stick to their own. Personally, I can't wait for the 2ghz and up Powerbooks.

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MacIntel startup sound?

Just for fun . . . Came across this audio file, dunno if genuine but sounds as if it could be.

dan k

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That can't be real. If it is,

That can't be real. If it is, I will die a horrible, painful death...

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MacIntel OpenFirmware equivalent?

I also came across a mention of Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) as a likely ". . . interface between operating systems and platform firmware.

dan k

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Re: MacIntel startup sound?

dankephoto wrote:

Just for fun . . . Came across this audio file, dunno if genuine but sounds as if it could be.

dan k

And if you have perfect pitch, its painful to listen to.

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Re: MacIntel startup sound?

dankephoto wrote:

Just for fun . . . Came across this audio file, dunno if genuine but sounds as if it could be.

dan k

The startup chime is not at all genuine. From the site hosting the sound file:

"Exclusive! New Startup Chime for Macintel Computers Revealed

A source deep within Apple, someone I will call Deep Rosetta, has sent me a copy of what she claims will be the startup sound of the new generation of Intel-based Macs.

Download it now (112K AAC file).

I'm kidding, of course. I made that little ditty myself using Apple's Soundtrack Pro software. Ah, this is going to be fun."

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cringely

Cringely on Intel and Apple merging down the track.

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050609.html

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Re: cringely

ccowner wrote:

Cringely on Intel and Apple merging down the track.

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050609.html

Interesting story.

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Re: cringely

bobotech wrote:
ccowner wrote:

Cringely on Intel and Apple merging down the track.

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050609.html

Interesting story.

And interestingly debunked here: Daring Fireball

If it falls off the front page, it's the Friday, June 10th article in the archives.

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