The Macintel Report

Core Compatibility, Pentium M Destined for Macintel?, Firefox Ready for Intel Macs, Future Intel CPUs, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.07.07

This Week's Mac-on-Intel News

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Tech Developments

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Mac-on-Intel: Core Compatibility

In this Less Tangible column, Marc Zeedar says:

"With all the hype and horror surrounding Apple's 'huge' switch to Intel there is much speculation, little information, and abundant misunderstanding. I have no more information than anyone else, and I hesitate to speculate too much at this early date, but perhaps I can help with some of the misunderstandings regarding this controversial move.

"It occurs to me that most people who aren't programmers don't really understand exactly what happens when software executes and how a CPU (Central Processing Unit) relates to that. That's where most of the misunderstandings regarding the switch to Intel. So, without getting too technical (and possibly being less accurate because of that), here's a bit of an explanation of how computers work.

"(Trust me: this will eventually have a good Mac/Intel point.)"

Pentium M Destined for Macintel?

Mac on Intel says:

"There has been much speculation as to which Intel CPU core will make its way into the first iterations of the Intel-based Macintosh. With Apple's rather varied low to high end offerings, it seems clear that we will see a similarly varied list of CPUs put to use in Macs ranging from the low-end, consumer Mac mini and eMac to the high-end, professional Power Macintosh series. Let us remember that Apple has indicated that its first Intel machines (consumer units) are about a year out, while the last of the transition (pro machines) are about two years away. That said, clearly the current Intel landscape is not where we should look in speculation as to which processor will be found in a given Mac....

"The Pentium M offers impressive performance in general and far more processing power per watt than the Pentium 4.

"If we leave the Pentium M out of the picture for a moment, the Pentium 4 doesn't look half bad at first; without question, it offers excellent performance. But as soon as we begin to factor in the system's overall power consumption, our eyebrows begin their skyward ascent...."

OS X and Windows to Share Hardware?

CRN's Russell Redman says:

"Now that the speculation about Apple switching from IBM PowerPC to Intel chips is over, industry buzz about more platform crossover for the Macintosh is just beginning.

"Solution providers and analysts said Apple's move to Intel opens up some intriguing possibilities: Would Intel-based Macs be able to run Microsoft Windows and Linux? And would the Intel version of Unix-based Mac OS X - code-named Leopard - be able to run on non-Apple computers powered by Intel processors?

"The answer to both questions likely will be no, at least in the short term, VARs and analysts said. But they didn't rule out either eventuality because of the huge market implications for Apple. Both scenarios would open the Windows PC space - especially the lucrative corporate market - to the Mac platform, potentially lifting Apple's 2 percent to 3 percent computer market share into the double digits, they said. What's more, if Leopard were permitted to run on PCs, Apple could reverse its historic decision to not license its operating system on other manufacturers' computers."

Two Dealers on the Intel Switch

IT's Howard Solomon reports:

"After days of rumours, confirmation this week of reports that Apple Computer Inc. will gradually switch its Macintosh computers to Intel-based processors came as no surprise.

"However, not all of the company's resellers think the news is juicy. At least one is disappointed at the holes in the announcement made by Apple president Steve Jobs at the company's annual developer conference.

"For while Jobs and Intel CEO Paul Otellini patted each other on the back, details of which processors will be running the Mac OS - which will affect the ease of porting Apple applications to the new system - are causing unease."

AMD vs. Intel Leaves Apple Untouched

eWeek's Daniel Drew Turner reports:

"Industry analysts are downplaying speculation as to whether AMD's recently filed lawsuit against Intel will have any effect on Intel's relations with Apple, which recently announced that future Macintosh computers will be based on Intel processors.

"On June 27, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. filed suit in Delaware, claiming that Intel Corp. violated provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Business Act and the California Business and Professional Code. The alleged violations include anticompetitive acts such as pressuring PC manufacturers to reduce or eliminate AMD-based products and influencing retailers to favor Intel-based PCs over ones using AMD chips."

Don't Believe Online Surveys

The Mac Night Owl's Gene Steinberg writes:

"The practice of surveying people about everything imaginable has become an epidemic, and most of it means absolutely nothing. Even those carefully calculated polls by the likes of Gallup and other companies have 'margins of error,' which means mistakes are possible. That explains why, when it comes to a very close election, the wrong candidate may be selected as the possible winner. And let's not forget those exit polls during the last presidential election that showed Senator Kerry emerging victorious."

IBM Says It Could Meet Apple's Needs

eWeek's John G. Spooner reports:

"SOMERS, N.Y. - Apple Computer Inc.'s worries about watts are unfounded, according to IBM.

"Apple said earlier this month that it will switch to Intel chips from PowerPC chips as IBM's future PowerPC processors' projected power consumption will make them too difficult to design into future Apple systems.

"But IBM begs to differ. The company could build PowerPC chips that satisfy the needs of the entire range of Apple's product lines, including portables such as the PowerBook, said Rod Adkins, vice president of development for IBM's Systems and Technology Group, which produces IBM's PowerPC chips."

Firefox Ready for Intel Macs

ZD Net Australia's Renai LeMay reports:

"The Firefox browser has been ported to the new Intel-based Mac OS X platform with the assistance of Apple.

"Firefox developer and Mozilla Foundation employee Josh Aas said the Mozilla team built on preliminary Apple's development work in bringing the browser across to the platform, which is scheduled for rollout to consumers by mid-next year."

The Inquirer's Nick Farrell reports:

"The makers of the Firefox browser say that they have successfully ported their browser to cope with the new Intel based Apple computers.

"Josh Aas, a chief developer of the Mozilla Firefox browser.... said that most of the browser code was actually designed by Apple employees who wanted it for a demonstration."

The Great Microsoft Equation

The Mac Night Owl's Gene Steinberg says:

"I've come to realize that most people just don't care that Apple is going to start switching processors next year. It doesn't make a difference whether the chip is made by IBM, Intel, or John's Chip Factory in Nowhere, California. And apologies if the latter company truly exists. Don't believe me? Well, ask some people who are not in the power user category and/or deeply immersed in Mac lore and see how many know or even care."

Intel's Yonah CPU: Heart of Future 'Books?'s Dennis Sellers reports:

"Although Apple hasn't announced which Intel chips will power the upcoming Mactel systems, the most likely suspects are microprocessors that have been dubbed Yonha, Celeron D 3515, Conroe, Woodcrest, Smithfield and Merom. For the rest of the week, we'll offer a look at the chips and what they might mean to Mac users.

"Yonah is an Intel dual-core notebook processors that have been announced and are due for volume production in 2006. Expect to see it in Apple laptops and Mac minis, probably the first of the Mac product line to go Mactel.

"Based on a mobile-optimized microarchitecture and 65nm process technology, Yonah is designed to provide power management capabilities and enhanced performance for multiple demanding applications and multi-threaded applications."

"A single-core version of Yonah will also be released for budget notebooks. Partly because of reduced power consumption, the footprint on Yonah notebooks will be up to 31 percent smaller than those of existing laptops...."

Tech Developments

News of Forthcoming Intel CPUs

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"What's nice with Intel is that Apple will never be powerful enough to prevent them from publishing very early roadmaps which we will hence comment with delight.

"Their latest one mentioned new CPUs. So, you'll see that by mid-2007 the Kentsfield, a high end CPU, shall arrive. It should not derive from the PIV technology which has reached a dead end by now, but from the Pentium M which demonstrated it was possible to create something powerful without an extreme increase of frequency."

More Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

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