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Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
June 5, 2005 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Well, it's an old rumor, but many sources (including the NYT, WSJ, Wired, and many rumor sites) are reporting that Steve Jobs will be announcing a switch to Intel at the WWDC tomorrow. The WSJ claims Apple will be switching to x86 processors, while others speculate Intel will simply be manufacturing PPC chips, or only processors for a tablet PC. If the rumors are true, and it seems like they are, what of the Intel DRM recently announced? Are we destined to have DRM hardwired into our computers no matter where we turn? Curiously, the major rumor site has remained mum on the matter. Your best bet to follow the drama will probably be MacRumors, who will be providing live updates from Steve-o's keynote tomorrow.
posted by keswick (111 comments total)

 
don't hold your breath. this is a yearly thing.
posted by angry modem at 8:09 PM on June 5, 2005


Um, couldn't we have waited until tomorrow, when it's not a rumor? If it's true, it's news, if not, we're talking about nothing.
posted by justgary at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2005


The rumor does seem to have picked up considerably more steam this year, although it doesn't make a switch any more likely than at any time in the past.
posted by clevershark at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2005


It's one thing when Joe Shmoe says it, it's another thing when the NYT and WSJ say it is a certainty, and claim it's verified by execs in the know.

I'm stressed because I was gonna buy a Powerbook tomorrow, but most rumors are saying the new hardware won't be out for at least a year. I don't want to buy hardware that's going to be obsolete even quicker than usual.
posted by keswick at 8:23 PM on June 5, 2005


First an foremost, Apple had a very specific contract with IBM, so that they could avoid getting motorolla'd to all hell. 3ghz within the year, Steve said, and thus it was not so. So this is the retaliation. I've heard that Apple has a buttload of PPC intellectual property, so it is quite likely that Apple will continue to use PPC, with Intel's little iconography on it, and not IBM.

Or this is all hogwash, which is really the most likely event.
posted by Freen at 8:24 PM on June 5, 2005


yawn.
posted by thejoshu at 8:30 PM on June 5, 2005


wow for second I thought I was on /.
posted by hardshoes at 8:36 PM on June 5, 2005


Re:DRM. I'm certainly not worried about it. If DRM ever becomes ubiquitous, DRM cracks will be easily available long before then.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:38 PM on June 5, 2005


keswick, just buy the stoopid thing and move on. Trying to outthink obsolence in the computing industry is a fool's errand.

And as always, do you really think that the first generation of the Intel-PPC based laptop is not going to be ridden with bugs? Go with the mature technology.

To distort and paraphrase Jamie Zawinski, the first gen Intel-PPC Mac is worth buying only if your time has no value.
posted by intermod at 9:14 PM on June 5, 2005


intermod writes "the first gen Intel-PPC Mac is worth buying only if your time has no value."

You have a point. The first-generation PowerPCs (601/603) were pretty awful, quality-wise.
posted by clevershark at 9:21 PM on June 5, 2005


I just don't buy it. I don't think Apple will do it. UNLESS it is for a new product yet to make it the market. You see, moving from a PPC chip to an Intel chip would require a complete rewrite of code for all the applications; much like the switch from OS 9 to OS X. After just getting everyone to switch to OS X, I don't think they'd make us do that again so soon. HOWEVER, if there was a new product coming out (a la the iPod, iPhone, Tablet Book, Newton, etc) that was not going to ever run Mac applications, then using Intel chips over PPC chips would make at least some sense.

Anyway, we'll see tomorrow.
posted by pwb503 at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2005


Far more importantly, it's rumored that new iPod photos will come with TETRIS installed on them.

I see this rumor as a red herring... with Apple, I love red herrings.
posted by sdrawkcab at 9:48 PM on June 5, 2005


I'm going to hit somebody if I have to peel an "Intel Inside" sticker off my laptop. I swear to G-d!
posted by jmgorman at 10:02 PM on June 5, 2005


An Apple Tablet PC is very intriguing. That's what I hope this is about. I think Apple could very well force open the tablet market. God knows the current tablet manufacturers haven't exactly set the market on fire.

Note that Apple has already got a patent for their flavor (unique I assume) of a tablet.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:05 PM on June 5, 2005


Ynoxas writes "God knows the current tablet manufacturers haven't exactly set the market on fire."

Exactly. I don't understand why Apple would want to get into a market which has shown so little promise. AFAIK cheap laptops are where it's at, as opposed to the grossly-overpriced tablet PCs.
posted by clevershark at 10:08 PM on June 5, 2005


The idea of switching to Pentium-family chips would seem to be suicidal for Apple - for a few dollars in savings, they'd gain a huge, huge, possibly terminal risk (and incidentally destroy their sales until the new machines came out). No one bets the farm for a few extra percent.

Getting Intel to make PPC chips is nowhere near as unreasonable. I just don't think it would happen - Intel is simply too focused on Pentium-family chips - but if Jobs announced it, I'd bet he could pull it off.

But I'm hoping they're going to announce the dual-core Power CPUs... if so, I'm going to run out and buy one!

On review -- this FPP is not the "best of the web".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:13 PM on June 5, 2005


since when is that a requirement for a FPP as of late?
posted by keswick at 10:19 PM on June 5, 2005


Some recent comments at Daring Fireball.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:29 PM on June 5, 2005


You see, moving from a PPC chip to an Intel chip would require a complete rewrite of code for all the applications; much like the switch from OS 9 to OS X.

Ummm... no. Most applications don't contain architecture dependent code. What they do contain is platform dependent code, which is why the move from OS 9 -> OS X required rewrites (the underlying API changed drastically). Most of your applications would only require a recompile and you woudn't even need the actual hardware to do this (cross compiling coupled with VirtualPC should suffice). The rest might require more work -- like Photoshop -- but I'd argue that these applications already have x86 versions the developers can steal code from.
posted by sbutler at 10:35 PM on June 5, 2005


Another problem, of course, is that Intel chips aren't wildly faster than PPC chips. They're faster in most areas, sure, but not that much.... 50% at most. In some areas, they're slower... Altivec is very good.

In Apple's one major processor switch, from the 680x0 to the Power PC 601, they were gaining about a ten time performance boost. And the 680x0 series is fairly easy to emulate, because the architecture is very clean and straightforward. So they could reasonably emulate the old code... in fact, even taking the big emulation hit, the PPC was enough faster to give a small speed boost to most existing Mac apps at the time.

They couldn't do that this time. The PPC is too close in power to the X86 for the latter to emulate it successfully. Software emulation, even of a clean architecture design, is very slow, at least 10 times slower. (X86 code is particularly hard to emulate in software...a 20x speed hit is more common there.) The PPC is pretty clean, so running existing Mac code on an Intel Mac would probably give results about equivalent to a 300mhz PPC. But Altivec code would absolutely crawl. It would be a total disaster.

Basically, they CAN'T emulate the PPC reasonably, so the only real option there would be to force everyone to recompile. Crossing architecture types is usually pretty painful, and many bugs crop up from assumptions in the code about how the processor executing it was supposed to work. This would piss off a lot of people, and a lot of older stuff would simply never be ported.

It just doesn't make sense for Apple to switch away from the PPC at this point... they stand to gain very little, and stand to lose a huge amount.

The suggestions that Intel could start fabbing PPCs, on the other hand, strike me as quite plausible. Other sources have claimed that Apple's been squeezed by low supplies from IBM for years, so setting up a second source would make a lot of sense.
posted by Malor at 10:41 PM on June 5, 2005


There's no way in hell they're going to switch to x86 from PPC. The logistics of such a maneuver are staggering at this stage in the game.

I'm sure that Apple talks to all sorts of chip makers all the time. Apple doesn't just make computers, and most chip makers don't just make a single line of chips. Intel makes all sorts of different things, including ARM CPUs.

My guess is an ARM based ultra portable Apple tablet/pda/media-device. Whatever it is, it won't be using x86 CPUs for their computer line.

The though that Intel might start fabbing PPC chips is also quite plausible, imho.
posted by C.Batt at 10:45 PM on June 5, 2005


Who. Gives. A. Rats. Arse.

Why does the factory in which a bunch of manufactures are made matter one iota to any of you, unless you're high-level hard core Apple programmers?
posted by wilful at 11:03 PM on June 5, 2005


Malor: Software emulation, even of a clean architecture design, is very slow, at least 10 times slower.

That generalization may be overly broad. For that matter, who says the emulation has to be done entirely in software? Apple determines the hardware specification--if they wanted some specialized translation hardware (a la Transmeta) I'm sure it could be done.

Pure speculation, of course. But I'm not ruling anything out until... well, until tomorrow, when another more worthy Apple thread will hit the MeFi front page.
posted by Galvatron at 11:35 PM on June 5, 2005


True or false, I can hear Steve Jobs screaming from here.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:33 AM on June 6, 2005


sbutler has it down. Most software would just require a recompile - although there will be certain circumstances where code would need to be rewritten. This is because of a little thing called endianess. Broadly speaking, internally processors represent numbers in one of two ways; either the largest number is represented first, or last. Intel processors are little-endian, the Mac family are big-endian. So any software dealing with arithmetic, pointers and suchlike would need to be rewritten. Not a small task by any means.
posted by shoez at 1:51 AM on June 6, 2005


DRM has and will continue to be circumvented by talented individuals solely for the passion in doing so. This will not change; only the ways in which it is done will. Digital Rights management hadwired into motherboards are a joke: BIOS chips can still be updated using software, and DRM quite probably can be disabled from the BIOS setup itself.

Even if both of these options are not possible, there will be another form of circumvention that is possible from the Operating System/Application. In short, DRM will just keep neophytes out of the loop.
posted by Dean Keaton at 2:28 AM on June 6, 2005


Coverage at news.com, Wired, WSJ [reg required].
posted by trey at 2:54 AM on June 6, 2005


Sorry, I should have read the post more clearly. That's what I get for skimming.
posted by trey at 3:13 AM on June 6, 2005


Dean Keaton:

No, the planned endgame for DRM is that the only circumvention available to you will be with a soldering iron, and don't think for a moment this can't be done. I won't go into the details of how, there's plenty of that online, my point is that consumers need to ensure it never reaches that point. I think there is a fair chance that market pressure more than hacking, will be the limiting factor on DRM.

So, when Intel builds DRM into all of their chips, and software starts using it, buy AMD chips instead :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 4:06 AM on June 6, 2005


The power of OSX, combined with the expansionability of fair-market hardware? Ok, you got my attention.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:35 AM on June 6, 2005


So, when Intel builds DRM into all of their chips, and software starts using it, buy AMD chips instead :-)

Unfortunately, AMD is part of the TCPA, and has signed up to implement DRM.

All hail the coming everything-is-pay-to-play overlords.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:12 AM on June 6, 2005


I lied. Check here for MacRumours' live updates.
posted by keswick at 6:08 AM on June 6, 2005


justgary writes "Um, couldn't we have waited until tomorrow, when it's not a rumor? If it's true, it's news, if not, we're talking about nothing."

Metafilter: Couldn't we...
posted by OmieWise at 6:11 AM on June 6, 2005


wilful writes "Who. Gives. A. Rats. Arse."

I always find it hilarious to see people taking time out of their day to post that a given subject doesn't interest them, or that its a waste of time. Evidently I'll never know what goes in those posters' heads.
posted by clevershark at 7:03 AM on June 6, 2005


As to Apple using Intel chips? Stupid, bordering on suicidal.

The guys building the huge arrays of PowerPC boxes for supercomputing are doing so for exactly one reason: Altivec. Get rid of that, and there is no reason, at all, for them to buy a Mac, period. They can get more integer performance with cheap Wintel boxen, for a quarter of the price -- and in clusters, that means that, dollar for dollar, you get more boxes with better performance per box. When it comes to the vector math, though, it's a different world -- a dual processor G5 box is worth ten Intel Xeons, when it comes to vector work.

And it isn't just the supercomputer guys using the vector unit. In all the realms where the Mac is a popular choice, the software uses the vector unit as much as possible -- it is, quite simply, *the* reason to use the G4/G5. Whenever you see a Mac do some operation ten times faster than an PC, there's one reason -- Altivec.

Throw that away, and suddenly, the very reason for those apps to support the Mac is gone. They deal with supporting Macs because they want the performance of the vector unit. If that goes away for an Intel chip, they're gonna say "Hey, screw that, anything we do to make the Mac faster will make the Windows version faster yet, and we don't have to deal with another operating system, build enviroment, etc."

Dumb. I hope it's false, otherwise, Apple is, at best, an appliance company in three years.

The power of OSX, combined with the expansionability of fair-market hardware?

Yep. You'll have the exact same lack of stability and crappy driver design you do in Windows. Controlling the hardware is an advantage for the software -- you know what's in the box, and can write things accordingly. This is a problem Apple hasn't had to deal with -- and Microsoft has shown just how hard to deal with the problem really is.
posted by eriko at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2005 [1 favorite]


You'll have the exact same lack of stability and crappy driver design you do in Windows.

Mostly FUD, if you've used Win2k or XP. While there are certain manufacturers that release bleeding-edge drivers before they probably should, I haven't had any drivers problems since I first installed Windows 2000, so many years ago. I'd wager that the bulk of driver SNAFU's are with video cards, by the way.

Anyway, this is other side of the "price you pay" argument--greater competition, lower costs, higher risk of dodginess. I'd take it in a heartbeat, but then, I am a bit of a techno-masochist. Not everyone feels the same way about getting their hands dirty with their computer, and I'm the first to recommend Apple to them. /fair and balanced
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:28 AM on June 6, 2005


I'd take it in a heartbeat, but then, I am a bit of a techno-masochist.

I used to be, then I got old, cranky, and realized that, despite the horried abuse I was putting my TiBook and Thinkpad through, they Just Worked, and other stuff didn't.

As to driver problems still being FUD? Do you realized what sort of hoops Windows jumps through dealing with bad drivers? The fact that Windows copes at all is actually a tribute to Windows, and I'm *far* from one to even damn Microsoft with faint praise.

Microsoft coders consider there to be three classes of drivers: Bad, but compliant, Worse, but somewhat compliant, and complete fucking liars who need to die, now. (Yes, that was a quote.) MS spent years trying to get people to write correct drivers, then they gave up, and started writing them themselves for older hardware, and working around gratiuitous stupidity in current ones.

I've got legions of problems with Windows, but they've done the best they can do deal with a very real problem, despite the problem it causes them in other parts of the OS.

Apple is in no way ready to deal with this problem. They've got far more (the kernel) things (FTFF!) to fix (ipsec) in OS X. Indeed, less time on dashboard, more on finder would have been my choice for 10.4
posted by eriko at 9:18 AM on June 6, 2005


The power of OSX, combined with the expansionability of fair-market hardware?

The end of Apple. If Mac OS X for Intel were to run on commodity hardware, Apple will have to something like 4 million copies of Mac OS X a quarter to make as much money as they're making on hardware now. Never happen.

Even if they make it not boot on commodity hardware, there are two problems with that. First, Darwin, the Mac OS X core, is open-source, and there's already an Intel version that runs on commodity hardware. If the hypothetical Intel version of Mac OS X were still to run on top of Darwin, the hackers would have the infrastructure swapped out for the commodity hardware version within a month.

Even if they were not to use Darwin, you still have a huge problem. Microsoft owns Virtual PC, both for Mac and for Intel. A little engineering and you have a virtual machine, running under Mac OS X, that runs Windows apps within Mac OS X at close to native speed. A little more engineering and you have the Windows apps mixed in with Mac OS X apps with Aqua UI widgets instead of being confined to their own window. And at that point, Microsoft wins. Because what they do is, they just give this product away. Then all the software developers go, "Well, why should we develop separate Mac and Windows versions when the Mac will run the Windows version?" And they stop making Mac versions. Everyone buys a copy of Windows XP Home to run on their Mac in the virtual machine to run Windows apps on their Mac. The next year, when Apple wants another $130 for a Mac OS X upgrade, they say "Why am I buying Mac OS X to run Windows apps when I could just run Windows? That Longhorn is looking pretty good, and the upgrade's about the same price..." The Macintosh then ends and so does Apple and Bill Gates gets that last tiny sliver of market domination.
posted by kindall at 9:33 AM on June 6, 2005


it's 10am. hold me, i'm scared.
posted by keswick at 10:00 AM on June 6, 2005


I can't get into a single live wwdc blogging page. Someone summarize the keynote here. Please.
posted by mecran01 at 10:31 AM on June 6, 2005


"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." (via Apple-X)
posted by rmannion at 10:33 AM on June 6, 2005


I can't get into a single live wwdc blogging page. Someone summarize the keynote here. Please.

Me neither. Now would be the perfect time for a JRun error (knocks on wood).

Yes, someone please summarize.
posted by sbutler at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2005


"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." (via Apple-X)
posted by rmannion at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2005


Oh shit, it's true.


10:26am PDT - “Now, let’s go to the big topic: Transitions.”

10:27am PDT - 1994-1996 Moto 68K -> PowerPC. “I wasn’t hear then, but from everything I hear the team did a great job.” 2001-2003: OS9 - OS X.

10:28am PDT - “It’s time for a third transition. And yes, (puts up slide that says): It’s true.” Next slide is one word: “Why?”

10:29am PDT - “I stood up two years ago and promised this (3.0G PowerMac), and we haven’t been able to deliver.” Steve says it’s bigger than that, though. No roadmap for the future based on PowerPC - they can’t see a future.

10:30am PDT - Intel offers not just increased performance, but reduced power consumption. Transition will be complete by WWDC ‘07.

10:31am PDT - PowerPC - 15 integer perf units (not sure what) per watt. Intel does 70 per watt. “Mac OS X has been living a secret double life” for the past 5 years.

10:32am PDT - Satellite shot with crosshairs shows building where a team has been working on the “Just in Case…” scenario. Every release of Mac OS X has been compiled for Intel for the past 5 years. Here comes the demo!

10:33am PDT - “As a matter of fact, this system I’ve been using here…” the keynote’s been running on a P4 3.6GHz all morning”

10:34am PDT - Steve’s hopping through every app. Performance is snappy. He’s playing an H264 movie trailer for something wtih Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. “Ok, enough of that” he says after a few seconds.

10:35am PDT - “Here’s the geekout for developers”. Widgets, scripts, Java: they’ll just work. Cocoa - Xcode: small tweak, recompile. Carbon - Xcode - a few weeks of tweaking, recompile. Carbon- Metroworks: Move to XCode.

10:37am PDT - There’s a checkbox for builds: “Intel, PowerPC” that makes a cross-platform single binary.

10:38am PDT - Theo Gray, cofounder of Wolfram Research, comes onstage to talk about porting Mathematica in the past 5 days.

posted by keswick at 10:42 AM on June 6, 2005


Wow!

Wow!

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 developer.apple.com. 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.
posted by mecran01 at 10:50 AM on June 6, 2005


End of Apple. Seriously.

How do you justify buying Apple Hardware when the *exact same* hardware is being sold from Dell at half the cost?

You could at least pretend when it was PowerPC.

The scientific guys are screwed -- they just saw they're vector machines die. They're not going to spend another dime on Apple -- that's going to hurt, when they buy, they buy big.

Adobe? Why support the Mac now? Two codebases on the same processor? So much simpler to just say "Sorry, we don't have Altivec anymore, and we've been fighting with tons of real problems on the platform to use it. Now that it isn't there, there's no reason to do so. Windows only from the end of 2005."

So OS X runs on Intel? Why would we buy your machines? We won't, is what. Do you think you can live on selling OS-X alone? Dream on. If you try, Microsoft will crush you. After Shrub won, and the lawsuit died, they've got free reign to do so.

As a matter of fact, if I were Microsoft, I'd send out a press release saying that Office will no longer be ported to OS-X, and most certainly not OS-X on Intel.

Why do we buy your machines now, Steve? In the end, *you* fell victim to the Megahertz Myth.

Oh, by the way, Second Victim? AMD.

(On preview.)

I just got an email. "We just got a memo. We're shutting down our Tiger porting efforts, and laying off all the Mac developers." I can't say who, but that was way quicker than I even thought.
posted by eriko at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2005 [1 favorite]


eriko,

Wahhhhhh!!!!!

Mac is the OS. It is not the hardware.
posted by pmbuko at 11:15 AM on June 6, 2005


Oh, fuck. This is not good.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2005


pmbuko: Mac is the system, which includes the OS *and* the hardware.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:17 AM on June 6, 2005


Not any more!! Welcome to the machine, suckas!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:06 PM on June 6, 2005


i don't see what the big deal is. it's not like this is going to be the end of apple. their hardware will still sell, just not as much. but personally, i prefer the design of their powerbook to any other laptop out there. aside from that, by moving to x86, they gain a huge amount for pretty much nothing. all the oss applications that have been in the works to get ported won't need to be ported anymore. and on top of this, load up wine and you can start using your windows apps.

personally, i think this is one of the smartest moves they could have made. and with everyone getting increasingly annoyed with windows and the spyware/viruses they endure, lots are going to switch to osx. i'm not saying that osx is immune or anything like that, i'm just saying that there is not as much crap targeted at it.

so now we have end users that have heard all these great things about osx but didn't want to shell out the cash for an apple system. now they will be shelling out their cash for the system, and MS may be the big mighty giant, but osx is certainly going to give redmond a run for their money.
posted by chrisroberts at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2005


ok, but will the user experience be any different? Apple is good at transitions. They seem to have been sitting on this for quite some time -- it is by no means a rash decision -- and they have a nice pile of tools to ease (re-)development of software for the new processors.

Remember, this is Apple/Jobs we're talking about. Don't sell them short.
posted by pmbuko at 12:12 PM on June 6, 2005


And about Mac OS X running in Intel and people not buying Macs anymore, I'm pretty sure you won't be able to just buy a copy and load it on your Dell. ...until someone cracks it, that is.
posted by pmbuko at 12:14 PM on June 6, 2005


I was wrong wrong wrong, that's for sure. Holy christ, was I ever.

Me, I switched to the mac because the mac is a complete package engineered from the ground up so that each part behaves with each other part. It increases stability and reliability and is part of what makes my computing experience that much better than the world of commodity parts based PCs.

OS X is nice and all, but it's not the only thing that got me to switch.

However, if Apple can engineer, and I mean in the same sense as above - a seamlessly integrated hardware platform - using Intel CPUs, then I'll adjust. I'm just not going to hold my breath on that.
posted by C.Batt at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2005


How do you justify buying Apple Hardware when the *exact same* hardware is being sold from Dell at half the cost?

It's not going to be exactly the same hardware. The more apt analogy is IBM. Why buy a Thinkpad when you can buy a cheap Dell? Because it's built better, that's why.

I just got an email. "We just got a memo. We're shutting down our Tiger porting efforts, and laying off all the Mac developers." I can't say who, but that was way quicker than I even thought.

Yeah, your imagination works really fast...
posted by mkultra at 12:22 PM on June 6, 2005


So I need a laptop (my wife needs her powerbook back). Is anything I buy tomorrow obsolete in one year? I had kinda been waiting to buy to see what was available at the end of the summer, but now what? I'm not moving to a windows machine and I don't really have the time to learn linux (and I don't want to - my Tiger is sooo pretty). Shit.

Any ideas?
posted by jmgorman at 12:41 PM on June 6, 2005


End of Macintosh within 5 years. The development API of choice for all programmers on all platforms is now Win32, more specifically the subset of Win32 supported by WINE. I predict a big investment in WINE development by a major software company (e.g. Adobe) over the next year. I see a big uptake of Adobe's open-source declarative UI language too, so developers can write Win32 apps that look like Windows apps on Windows and like Mac apps under Mac OS X. Carbon and Cocoa are dead. No major Macintosh applications using either API will be released after 2006, possibly 2007.

Now of course Apple's own products will continue to use the Carbon and Cocoa APIs. But once they're Intel code, the open-source community will be on it. They'll find a way to get iMovie and iDVD and Final Cut all running on Linux and probably Windows. Maybe that'll mean cloning the API a la WINE. So Apple's own apps won't be a compelling reason to buy Apple hardware. Not for long.

Now it's 2008, 2009. You have a Mac but are looking to upgrade your hardware. All your major applications are already Windows apps and Microsoft is shipping Longhorn. If Mac OS X is way better than Longhorn, then you'll maybe buy another Mac, as long as doesn't cost more than, say, $100 more than the Windows machine. But Apple is not the UI mavens they once were, and Microsoft has lots of resources, and they know the game is on.

In the long term, Apple is basically betting they can make a better PC than Microsoft can, on a level playing field. That is a bet I would not take.

It's going to be great for users. I'm going to love being able to run Windows apps at near-native speed under the Aqua UI. For that matter I'm going to love knowing that my computer matches a Windows box for performance because the architecture is the same. But it spells the end of the Macintosh. Apple can't not know this, so that means they're putting their future in the Internet content distribution basket: iPod, iTunes, and the equivalent for video. If Apple survives, it will be a very different Apple in five years.
posted by kindall at 12:45 PM on June 6, 2005 [1 favorite]


In the previous transitions, there were methods by which you could run your old software on the new machine (680xx emulcation, Classic mode). I haven't seen anything like that here.

While the developers will be interested for a while in producing code for two platforms, that will stop the first time money is tight. It might take only 5 days to port Mathematica, but I guarantee it takes much longer than that to test it -- providing they bother. They will probably be dancing with glee to the thought of people having to pay for the new version of their software.

Intel is building DRM into its chips -- how will Apple use that? Not that I'm paranoid, but I wouldn't have considered MacTel before today, either.

As others have noted, Apple just signalled the scientific community that they are a company that can't be trusted. So what if you bought 1100 Xserves -- in a couple more years, you won't be getting any OS updates to your clustered supercomputer. Better hope they fix all the bugs before that. Hey -- here's an idea: why don't you replace all those PPC systems with the type of system you rejected in the first place?

How long before the first G5-owner class-action suit is filed? I can't find the reference right now, but I recall Jobs or some other Apple suit explaining in detail a couple of years ago why OS X couldn't run on Intel even though the core would. Now we hear that it's been running all along in Double Secret mode.
posted by joaquim at 12:46 PM on June 6, 2005


Hasn't it historically been Apple's keen hold on their BIOS that's kept the Mac clones at bay? That hasn't changed today, has it?
posted by punilux at 12:47 PM on June 6, 2005


In the previous transitions, there were methods by which you could run your old software on the new machine (680xx emulcation, Classic mode). I haven't seen anything like that here.

Yes, there will be PowerPC emulation in the Intel version of Mac OS X. As with the 68K-to-PowerPC migration, the inherent performance issues should be ameliorated by the fact that the emulated code will spend most of its time calling native code, and unlike the PowerPC migration, the whole OS will be Intel-native from the beginning (some parts of the "classic" Mac OS remained written in 68K code up until 9.2).
posted by kindall at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2005


darnit, kindall, I was hoping that it was just me being gloom-and-doom and that noone else would have that POV. I agree -- Apple is exiting the computer business. They will spin off or sell that division in the next 4-5 years and take on a business model that will crumble the first time they annoy Microsoft.
posted by joaquim at 12:56 PM on June 6, 2005


In the previous transitions, there were methods by which you could run your old software on the new machine (680xx emulcation, Classic mode). I haven't seen anything like that here.

Yes, there will be PowerPC emulation in the Intel version of Mac OS X. As with the 68K-to-PowerPC migration, the inherent performance issues should be ameliorated by the fact that the emulated code will spend most of its time calling native code, and unlike the PowerPC migration, the whole OS will be Intel-native from the beginning (some parts of the "classic" Mac OS remained written in 68K code up until 9.2).
posted by kindall at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2005


So, Apple is dying?
posted by abcde at 1:04 PM on June 6, 2005


Anybody who thinks the Max will be dead within five years is dumber than George Bush. kthxbye.
posted by keswick at 1:07 PM on June 6, 2005


Any ideas on what this will do to Mac prices? It seems to me that they would go down since the parts they'll be using will be more readily available. Of course, I don't expect to be able to match Dell's prices.

But you know what? If their prices get even 25% closer to a typical big company PC I'm almost guaranteed to buy apple when I upgrade next year.
posted by oddman at 1:08 PM on June 6, 2005


er, Mac. Fucking Dell keyboard.
posted by keswick at 1:08 PM on June 6, 2005


eriko: Your's is one of the more flamboyant cases of the Pundit's Fallacy I have seen in a while. You may be right, still, but...

Kindall: make you a bet over a fine beer of your choice: you're significantly if not completely wrong in your predictions.

This really doesn't change that much at all for Apple, and indeed, there are so many things going against Apple, if the company were going to be driven out of business, it would have already happened.

For every doom and gloom scenario you see, there is also a happy one, and it is really impossible to say at this point what will happen. But the fact that the iMac or PowerMac is running on a G5 or Pentium 4 is most certainly NOT the thing that makes or breaks Apple.
posted by teece at 1:22 PM on June 6, 2005


I agree -- Apple is exiting the computer business. They will spin off or sell that division in the next 4-5 years and take on a business model that will crumble the first time they annoy Microsoft.

But haven't they had one foot out the door in the computer business for some time anyway? Certainly since the iPod exploded. I'm not saying Apple won't get crushed by MS, but in some ways the progression makes sense. Limp along indefinitely with single-digit market share or leverage some of that $6 billion in cash and make the jump (at a time when Apple owns things like internet music stores) to, as kindall notes, a content provider.

They might just pull it off - I just wonder if they can survive long enough to get there. I'm guessing quite a few folks just said, "Looks like I'm waiting 'til 2007 to replace the laptop." I'd imagine even $6B in cash can be burned off quickly if you really try.
posted by jalexei at 1:23 PM on June 6, 2005


Yeah. As I see it, you'll still need to buy a Mac to legally run MacOS. It'll be nice and stable because Apple will still control the hardware, which won't be saddled by the crusty 25 year old PC BIOS. However, I'm forseeing something a lot like Mac-on-Linux, the program that currently lets you run MacOS on both Apple and non-Apple PowerPC machines running Linux.
posted by zsazsa at 1:25 PM on June 6, 2005


Apple announce new startup sound.
posted by kika at 1:26 PM on June 6, 2005


I don't see how I could not be right. Sure, the ability to run Win32 apps under Mac OS X will make it easier to switch to the Mac. It'll also make it easier to switch away. Apple doesn't have a "moat." One thing they could do is finally come out with "Yellow Box" for Windows, like they originally talked about doing, in a bid to make Cocoa the API of choice for Windows as well as Mac development, and go up against Win32. But even if they succeeded, having the standard API doesn't mean anything to Apple's bottom line.

This is an exit strategy, intentional or not. The more I think about it, the more I think it'd be too stupid for it to be unintentional. Apple is admitting that Microsoft has won and is providing a way for their customers to gracefully transition to Windows over the next several years, without having to lose face by explicitly saying so.
posted by kindall at 1:33 PM on June 6, 2005


Damn, I hope they make it possible for me to reuse my old wintel hardware. I would love to dump this craptastical p.o.s. Windows system.

One way or another, I'm leaving the Windows world. I'm delighted Apple is going to offer me choices.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:36 PM on June 6, 2005


Apple will litigate anyone who tries to get MacOS running on non-Apple hardware into the ground--and meanwhile I will look forward to dual-booting my new 2007 Mac with both Windows and "Leopard." I imagine that the exclusivity ethos of Apple and the clone ethos of Microsoft will allow exactly this kind of symbiotic relationship. Good news all around.

I think folks who are reading this as the end of Apple are really not understanding how little the chip inside matters to people who are buying Macs now or who are considering buying Macs in the future. No one I know has ever decided to go with the Mac because of the PowerPC.

To the reasonable arguments raised by kindall, I'd say: 1) This isn't an exit strategy at all; Apple has to do it. They're not happily exiting from the PC business, they're grudgingly moving to Intel because IBM has not been moving fast enough. Steve Jobs in particular is far from giving up on the personal computer. This is a response to a crisis. The iPod does not in itself constitute a competency in consumer electronics; and a look at the company's history shows, I think, that Apple will sell computers until its dying day. Jobs does not want to make iPods, stereos, and digital cameras.

2) What's enabling Apple to take this step is the belief that their core competencies of interface and hardware design are, at this point, sufficiently developed as to themselves constitute a "moat." My bet would be that they must have a lot in the pipeline to make this kind of decision. In terms of the next iterations of the OS and in terms of iPod and iPod-like media products, they must feel that they have products that are sufficiently compelling. But particularly in terms of Macintosh hardware and OS design they must have a lot going on that will make the dual-boot future survivable.

I would assume that this is a calculated risk, that they know what they're doing, and that they're doing it now because they're strategically positioned to do so.
posted by josh at 1:46 PM on June 6, 2005


Apple is basically betting they can make a better PC than Microsoft can

No, a better operating system. And as big a Windows fanboy that I am, I'd rather have OSX on the PC platform (with a few minor tweaks, of course).

Apple had to do something, though. IBM wasn't holding up their end of the bargain, and with laptop sales exceeding desktops by a number of percentage points, Apple was stuck. The PowerPC platform uses a boatload of power, and IBM wasn't delivering on their contractually-agreed-upon 3 Ghz., so Intel it is.

The real question is, will this be x86? I can't see how it wouldn't be, since Intel has most of their R&D in the x86 platform, but still, it would be a big "gotcha!" if the "Intel-inside" was some proprietarily-developed new chip instead of the x86.

Either way, the BIOS (as mentioned above) will be incompatible. It will probably take hackers a good month or two to crack it (anybody remember how long it took 'em to get Linux running on the X-BOX?) At that point, the floodgates will be open. I'm really, really, really looking forward to seeing what happens.

Really, what you'll have is Windows Longhorn vs. Linux (via Mac), with a decent windows manager and solid hardware support (they'll probably insist on writing their own drivers, thank goodness). On the same platform. Microsoft will take a beating.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:59 PM on June 6, 2005


According to the Apple's Universal Binary Reference, they won't be using Open Firmware on x86. :/

'Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors do not use Open Firmware. Although many parts of the IO registry are present and work as expected, information that is provided by Open Firmware on a Macintosh using a PowerPC microprocessor (such as a complete device tree) is not available in the IO registry on a Macintosh using an Intel microprocessor.'

That document is pretty fresh and notes anything there is subject to change, but man... I really do not want to power on my x86 macintosh and be presented with an Award bios with an Apple logo. I hope it doesn't come to that at least. Way to put a damper on my high hopes.
posted by Josh Zhixel at 2:06 PM on June 6, 2005


I seriously don't think there is much to worry about. The majority of the mac market was never about the internals, it was about the OS and hardware being nice and nicely integrated. This makes no difference to that. A mac five years from now will be just as distinctively "apple" as the mac is today. And if the mac is just as distinctively "apple", then the market goes on as usual. Even if that is not the overriding factor steamrolling the details as insignificant, the gains from this move are significant and solid, while many of the disadvantages seem largely speculative.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:12 PM on June 6, 2005


kindall: Where did you read about the emulation? I'd like more info.

jalexel: I think the iPod gave them the means to exit the computer business. Without it, they could have survived as a niche player, but that's just not sexy to the stockholders, is it? Like you, I'm wondering about the next year -- their sales will almost certainly fall because people know there's a change coming.

teece: you may have a point, but do you really think they could have shoehorned a Pentium into the new iMac? They'd have to have fans to powerful that the thing would hover over the desk. (Hmm...maybe I'm onto something here.)

No one I know has ever decided to go with the Mac because of the PowerPC

From an article about the VA Tech cluster on Apple's website:
Dr. Varadarajan considers the Xserve’s PowerPC processor ideal: “Its floating-point performance matches or exceeds that of Intel’s Itanium2 solution.” It may not have been the main reason, but it was a factor.
posted by joaquim at 2:13 PM on June 6, 2005


Microsoft will take a beating.

I bet Bill gates is quaking in his boots. His mature OS (Longhorn) with a huge user base against a newly ported OS with a smaller user base than most Microsoft beta programmes. He must be crapping himself.
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:18 PM on June 6, 2005


Microsoft will take a beating.

I bet Bill Gates is quaking in his boots. His mature OS (Longhorn) with a huge user base against a newly ported OS with a smaller user base than most Microsoft beta programmes. He must be crapping himself.
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:23 PM on June 6, 2005


There certainly is a roadmap for PPC...problem is, it's all console hardware. Cell and Xenon are both PPC -- and I think Revolution is as well. We don't know much about Rev, but these IBM PPC chips actually threw out all the Out-Of-Order execution hardware in lieu of just more hardware to compute with. This is great for single purpose systems, but fairly disastrous for general purpose computing. It's likely that the scientific market was going to abandon PPC/Altivec for Cell anyway. Jobs is looking ahead -- IBM sees the CPU future escaping general purpose computing, while Intel sees itself collapsing unless it revives Moore's law.
posted by effugas at 2:26 PM on June 6, 2005


Somewhere, Steven den Beste is masturbating furiously.
posted by darukaru at 2:32 PM on June 6, 2005


What people are missing is the money line. Apple makes money selling premium priced machines. The reason people are willing to pay the premium price -- for frequently subpar performance -- was to get the OS.

Why do you think Jobs killed the clones? Simple: Apple could not survive as an OS company. They need to sell the hardware to make the money. This was the real crux of the Megahertz Myth argument -- you couldn't justify the purchase without a vigourous handwave about the performance, unless you worked in a realm where the vector unit was useful.

Now, Jobs is faced with the following facts.

1) The entire Apple inventory of machines just took a massive hit to saleability. "Come buy the machine we're abandoning!"

2) He now has to manage to sell a machine that people can compare, as the wags say, Apples to Apples. The whole point of the "Megahertz Myth" was to get around the fact that when you compared bullet points, Apple lost. It was the handwave that let you cope.

Now. Dell has the same parts. Apple can't sell machines at a 1.5 to 3x premium anymore, because people aren't going to buy the OS X premium. 'Wait, Dell sells that box for $800. You want me to to pay $1800? That's like $900 more for the OS." Then the "And another $120 in two years" argument *really* starts coming into play.

3) If he does start to succeed, and people do start buying Macs to get the OS, he's now a threat to Microsoft. I know MS is saying they're going to support OS X86 right now. That will change the moment Microsoft realizes what this is -- a desktop OS with enough of an installed base to potentially, if Apple stops selling hardware and only sells the OS, cut Windows off at the knees. Microsoft will respond as they always do. Apple has to sell premium machines to keep MS from gutting them, yet, now, they've destroyed the justifications for the premium pricepoint.

So, on the Intel platform, you can get the OS with, by far, the most software support, or you can get one of the Free Operating Systems, or you can pay a premium on the hardware to be allowed to buy OS X.

Never mind previous Mac faithful who were just gutshot by this. Take, forex, Metroworks -- who just sold their X86 products off, and Apple repaid thier loyalty by destroying the value of everything they had left to sell.

The scientific community isn't going to touch Apple after this -- why would they? They invested a ton of money in Apple, gave Apple huge press when the big clusters starting showing up near the top of the gigaflop lists, and now, they're abandonware -- and the people who were using Altivec are now left in the cold. Without the Mac, there's no reason for Freescale or IBM to keep making processors with the technology. I wonder how many outstanding orders and cluster expansion projects are getting cancelled today.

I'll probably make a few phone calls in a couple of months -- XServes will probably be heading for fire-sale prices.
posted by eriko at 2:36 PM on June 6, 2005


Apple releases transition kit.
posted by silusGROK at 2:58 PM on June 6, 2005


Only time will tell, eriko, but I suspect your numbers for the "OS X premium" are way off.

About your Microsoft point: it is valid, and Apple needs to worry about it. It is also wholly and completely unaffected by the switch to an Intel processor. I also think you vastly overestimate the number of people that buy based on benchmarks.

Regarding the scientific community, Altivec, and speed: I'd have to see numbers. Sure sounds like the Pundit's Fallacy to me.

I know I'm a little worried, but I guarantee you for every doom and gloom scenario you come up with, someone else can, and will, come up with a rosy scenario.

My prediction: in 5-10 years, Apple will be exactly where it is now, a niche system with a small but substantial and loyal install base.. Take it for what it's worth: nothing.
posted by teece at 3:15 PM on June 6, 2005


So, what should I do about the iBook, or Powerbook or iMac I was going to buy this month? Do I go with the cheapest alternative now? Do I wait for a discount sale on Powerbooks? WHAT? WHAT?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:26 PM on June 6, 2005


PP, i'm in the same boat as you. I'm leaning towards buying one. PPC will be supported for quite a while, and even if they stopped making apps for it tomorrow (which they won't), there's plenty of great apps for my needs. Plus, you gotta remember Rev A products usually have bugs features. I reckon we'll be seeing new form factors on the iBook and Powerbook when they get their Intel chips... And I expect the iBook, Powerbook, and maybe the Mini to be the first to get the new chips.
posted by keswick at 3:31 PM on June 6, 2005


oh, and I just noticed this:

His mature OS (Longhorn) with a huge user base

BWAH-HAHAHA

I like you; you're funny.
posted by keswick at 3:34 PM on June 6, 2005


His mature OS (Longhorn) with a huge user base

A "mature" OS that is still being developed, with a userbase of approximately 0? Versus Apple (stable OS, few viruses to speak of, etc.), open-sourcers, and practically every enterprise server in the world (Linux, in case you missed the memo).

Well, I'd be worried.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2005


keswick he type faster.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2005


The scientific community isn't going to touch Apple after this -- why would they?

They would have lost the scientific community either way. In a couple of years, I expect everyone will be building Cell clusters.
posted by Galvatron at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2005


OMG - For the first. time. evar. PP and I are in the same boat.

PP- if it makes any difference, the apple store guy this afternoon said that apple, adobe and microsoft, at least, will continue to support the ppc for a while. He said that only the pbooks will go intel in 2006 (probably Q3) and then the rest of the pro line in 2007. They won't get to the i-line until Q1 2008.

He also said that this announcement wouldn't affect the software (bullshit) but even if it did emulators will be built in.

Me, I think I'll be buying as soon as I can so that my new pbook is as old as possible when I replace it (they just updated the pbooks in march, so they aren't due for a little while - the ibooks, however, may see a bump this summer).

Now just to decide between the 12" and 15".

[not that we can really know any of that]
posted by jmgorman at 3:56 PM on June 6, 2005


And people were wondering what Apple was going to spend their substantial cash reserves on. Looks like they'll be spending it on staying afloat when no one wants to buy hardware that'll be literally obselete in a year.

So they're going to have a PPC emulator for their Intel machines. Are they also going to have an Intel emulator for their PPC machines?
posted by bshort at 4:12 PM on June 6, 2005


Thinking about it, a triple-boot machine would be cool: OS9/OSX/Windows

and you're right bshort--why buy anything now if next year you'll just have to buy new?
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2005


And now there's the question: if I was thinking of buying a Powerbook to have a better screen, and a longer usable life for what I buy (even though most of my work is Office-ish), has the balance now tipped to iBook--a $500 savings?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:19 PM on June 6, 2005


The balance has tipped in favor of the iBook for quite a while now. The only reason I'm looking at the Powerbook is because of the full-sized keyboard. (I have big Iowan farmboy hands.)
posted by keswick at 4:24 PM on June 6, 2005


THose of you wondering whether to buy now, now seems the perfect time to buy - you get a stable machine to tide you over while the rest of the world sorts out the teething problems for you. Then, by the time you're ready for a new computer, THEN you'll have an interesting choice to make, and chances are great that the rest of the world's teething pain has created a system you can painlessly switch to. Right now, it seems kind pointless to not buy.

Allthough, it would probably be too much for the prospective buyer to ask that the price of PPC macs comes down a little as demand is scared away, but in a few months when the first intel macs start to come out, you'll might benefit in the 2nd hand market - near top-line machines might be that little bit less desirable, which would be your gain.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:35 PM on June 6, 2005


Amazing how many people here are much more competent than, say, Steve Jobs, at determining what Apple should or should not do!

That aside, here's my worthless two bits to join all yours:

- laptops started outselling PCs this month. There is no way G5 is ever going to come to the laptop. Apple needs to address this. This is how it is addressing it.

- on the whole, laptops aren't commidity-part devices. Apple can make it rather difficult to use its MacIntel OSX on anything but its laptops.

- the G4/G5 will continue to be used in its professional-quality PC boxes. Apple will continue to use MacMotorola OSX on everything but its laptops.

- the "weird" set of Macs (the Mac Mini, the all-in-one Macs) may use the MacIntel platform: these machines will be re-jigged laptops, with bits missing or bits remotely-located (ie., connecting the Ethernet via a short cable, instead of surface-mount to the mainboard.)
posted by five fresh fish at 4:35 PM on June 6, 2005


keswick is 100% right. The iBook is the way to go, unless you specifically need PB features (video spanning, PCMCIA slot, etc.)
posted by bshort at 4:38 PM on June 6, 2005


My ibook has a creaky, noisy case, one of the feet has disappeared, and the letters are wearing off the keyboard. It's about a year old, and with tiger and 512mb it feels slow.

I'll probably get a powerbook, but what I'd really like is a tablet running OS X with a thinkpad quality keyboard. Maybe now that can happen.
posted by mecran01 at 4:39 PM on June 6, 2005


I have big Iowan farmboy hands.

Stop it, keswick. You're turning me on.
posted by pmbuko at 4:43 PM on June 6, 2005


You know, something that just occurred to me is that while Apple is going to make sure that you can't run OSX on anything other than an Apple box, they're going to do everything they can to make sure you can run Windows apps in nearly native mode (think WINE).

This will be an *awesome* feature. Everyone I know that considers a Mac starts talking about how there's some particular program that they can't live without that they need a Win32 box for.
posted by bshort at 4:45 PM on June 6, 2005


By the way, to you OS9/Classic holdouts, Rosetta does not work for Classic apps. So the death knell has finally come.
posted by darukaru at 4:47 PM on June 6, 2005


The funny thing is, Microsoft announced that the new XBOX360 is going to be using PowerPC chips. Heh.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:08 PM on June 6, 2005


I'm in kind of a weird place here - I'm bi-platform, working comfortably on both sets of hardware/OS, but I've always preferred the Mac (I'm an artist and tech nerd).

My main box at home is a dual 1.2Ghz G4 with 1.5 GB of RAM and the usual accoutrements, running OSX 10.3. This machine is now 3 years old and technically obsolete. In fact I'll be making the final payment this month. So I should be ordering a new Mac shortly, right?

Well, no. I won't be, not anytime soon.

Not because of this processor thing or anything, but simply because the duallie is fast enough to do everything I do in Photoshop, Illustrator and Painter with no problems, no crashes, no frustrations. I can work at my absolute top speed in all my workhorse apps, and the computer never slows me down at all.

So unless I start doing hi-def video editing and processing, I really don't need another machine; the tool has reached the point for me where it needs no further refinement. The "best mousetrap" for me, if you will.

I think that's true of a lot of people, especially those who don't need the latest hottest fastest box to do their work (I used to be that guy). Most people just do the Web and Quicken and other things that don't require the kind of raw firepower that artists, video people, hardcore gamers and scientists need. Buying a new computer every couple of years is just feeding the economic "growth machine," like buying a new car.

I think the world computing market is going to reflect this over the coming years, especially with widespread broadband connections, where a lot of the stuff people currently process on a local box might wind up being done elsewhere, distributed.

But, ya never know. I don't think this will kill Apple.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:14 PM on June 6, 2005


You know, Intel's builtin DRM makes sense now. That's how Apple is going to lock the OS to Apple brand hardware.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 PM on June 6, 2005


You know, Intel's builtin DRM makes sense now. That's how Apple is going to lock the OS to Apple brand hardware.

Unfortunately Intel denies it's chips have that 'feature'...
posted by kika at 9:34 PM on June 6, 2005


It came to me -- it would be real easy for Intel to make a series of Pentium-derived CPUs in which some infrequently-used legacy opcodes don't work. They'd be Pentiums just with a couple of opcodes turned off. Or just switch a couple around, something that'll keep Windows from booting and prevent Windows binaries from ever running easily on the chip. Of course no PC manufacturer would want these chips. But Apple, since it controls its development tools, could probably use them in a product. It wouldn't cost a lot to make these, it'd just be a minor change to an existing design. I have no idea whether Intel would go for something like that, but it could easily be a part of Apple's plan... they may not be planning on using 100% stock CPUs.
posted by kindall at 11:25 PM on June 6, 2005


OK: one more cry for help: how much better is the quality of the screen/image on a Powerbook and an iBook? The price differential would pay for a decent flat screen monitior for home (which I would have to use as a mirror); much of my interest in an iBook = it being my primary computer.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:59 AM on June 7, 2005


kika writes "Unfortunately Intel denies it's chips have that 'feature'..."

Of course they do, right up until it starts shipping in the first test batches. Geez, if you're not going to wear your tin foil hat I can't play with you.

Seriously though, the fact that they are shipping all sorts of announced DRM tech in their chipsets means that if Apple asked for a serial number or hash code to be embedded on Apple brand chips/chipsets Intel would be willing and able. And because Mac OS has always had a big ol' dongle the Mac fan boys are a likely to be less fanatical than the x86 guys. kindall has a good point too. Does Apple own the Altivec system or does IBM? If the former Apple could license it to Intel to add to Pentiums for Apple use while removing a op or two that has been depreciated..
posted by Mitheral at 1:48 PM on June 7, 2005


I just watched the video of the presentation. I think lots of you are truly doom and gloomers. There's about a 95% chance that this development will be neutral or positive for Apple. And, Steve Jobs is awesome!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:27 PM on June 7, 2005


mmm, Reality Distortion Field.

Just kidding.

I bought my first Mac yesterday. It's teh secks.
posted by keswick at 8:27 AM on June 8, 2005


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