The Macintel Report

Apple's Rush to Judgement, Intel Transition Myths, IBM Shows Dual Core and Low Power G5, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.07.14

This Week's Mac-on-Intel News

Low End Mac has standardized on Macintel as our official informal label for the forthcoming OS X-on-Intel Macintosh computers, although you'll probably find just as many people calling them "Mactels". Whatever we call them, Apple's decision to switch to Intel CPUs means we live in very interesting times.

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 iPod News Review.

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Tech Developments

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Expect Mac mini, Laptops as First Macintel Systems

Macsimum News reports:

"Some analysts are predicting that the first Macs to use Intel chips - the Mactels - will be iMacs and Mac minis, according to an article at Macworld UK. ". . . given that Mac OS X is a 64-bit operating system and Intel hasn't yet announced a 64-bit mobile chip, Apple will probably make desktops such as the iMac and the Mac mini the first recipients of Intel architecture, says Shane Rau, PC chip analyst for the research firm IDC," adds Macworld UK.

"That may be the case, but I think the first Mactel machine will be a Mac mini, followed shortly thereafter by iBooks and/or PowerBooks. These will then be followed - according to my crystal ball - by Intel-based iMacs, then eMacs, and finally Power Macs. There may be some snafus to work out with Intel chips for laptops and Mac OS X, but I suspect that Jobs & Company are working with Intel right now to iron out those difficulties."

Did Apple Rush to Judgment in Choosing Intel?

Gene Steinberg, the Mac Night Owl, writes:

"The way Steve Jobs tells it, Apple decided to switch to Intel because its processor road map is superior to IBM's. On the surface, it does appear that IBM was unable to deliver the parts Apple needed when it needed them. Since then, there's been plenty of speculation as to just what chips will make their way into the next generation of Macs, which some of us call Macintels just to distinguish the new from the old. Or just to be silly, or a little bit of both."

The Big Myth About the Intel Transition

Macsimum News' Dennis Sellers says:

"After Apple announced its plans to move the Mac line to Intel chips, Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood said it was a bad idea. He told the San Mercury News that Apple lost market share every time it has made a major transition, such as in the mid-1990s when the company moved from Motorola's 680x0 line of chips to IBM's PowerPC chips. Brookwood added that such a move could frustrate some loyal customers of Apple....

"There's some fallacies in his argument, which the excellent MWJ, the 'The Weekly Journal for Serious Macintosh' points out and which I thought I'd share with you (in summary form; you'll need to read the entire lengthy report for details)."

Intel, the iPod, and the Future of Apple Computer

ars technica's Jon "Hannibal" Stokes says:

"If you've been following the Apple-to-Intel transition, you're going to want to read this whole article. Why? Because I'm going to do something that I almost never do: spill insider information from unnamed sources that I can confirm are in a position to know the score. Note that this isn't the start of some kind of new trend for me. It's just that all this information that I've been sitting on is about to become dated, so it's time to get it out there."

Macs with Intel Inside - What Next?

PC World's Rebecca Freed says:

"It was a 'Hell-has-finally-frozen-over' moment: In early June, Steve Jobs stood before the most devout of the Mac faithful, software developers for the Mac, and told them that Mac hardware will be based on Intel CPUs in the future. Even though rumors of the news had been circulating for a few weeks, the announcement still came as a shock, since Intel is so closely associated with Microsoft.

"It's a testament to Jobs's persuasive abilities that the news was accepted with relative equanimity by many Mac users and developers. Presumably, all those developers are now working to port their programs to the new Mac architecture.

"On the whole, I bought the story too, although I know that it won't all go smoothly. Anyone who owns or is considering buying a Mac has to have questions; these are what I think the answers are."

Apple to Break Wintel Duopoly?

TechWeb's Alexander Wolfe says:

"Two countervailing trends are converging, in a technological pincer movement that could upend long-standing notions about just what constitutes the standard PC architecture. Since 1992, when Windows 3.1 was released, the dominant platform has been the 'Wintel' combo of a Microsoft operating system and an Intel processor.

"Sure, there have been attempts to supplant Intel with alternate architectures, notably Apple's Macintosh, which started life in 1984 using Motorola's 68K processors and 1994 moved to the IBM-Motorola PowerPC. It's safe to say, however, that perceptions about the Mac's market success outpace the reality....

"....Apple's plan to use the Mac OS on Intel hardware - I call it the Mactel architecture - is likely to create a large, messy category consisting not only of Apple-authorized machines but also standard PCs that have been hacked to host Mac OS."

IBM and Apple: A Mutual Break-up?

webpronews' Jason L. Miller says:

"Steve Jobs has accomplished at least one thing recently: all eyes are on his company as industry aficionados give themselves migraines trying to figure out what's going on over there. So much so, IBM's new multicore Power PC chips becomes a conversation speed bump serving only to redirect comments toward a confounding Apple business move.

"The assumed reasoning behind Apple's pivotal switch to its old enemy Wintel, um, I mean, Intel microchips was IBM's inability to deliver the goods on 3 GHz speedy and less power consuming processors for the next generation of Macs....

"If Apple wanted speedier multicore processors consuming less power, then IBM has delivered, a month after Apple's shocking Big Blue drop. The PowerPC chips were presented at the Power Everywhere forum in Tokyo."

A Secret Plan to Kill the Mac?

Gene Steinberg, the Mac Night Owl, writes:

"The conspiracy theories abound and some of them are so far beyond the realm of logic that you have to wonder what the writers were drinking, smoking, or whatever. Some theories actually seem logical, although you wonder if the writers want you to believe they employ mind reading abilities to get their information."

Tech Developments

IBM Shows Dual-core, Low-power G5 Chips

IDG News Service's Tom Krazit reports:

"IBM unveiled two new PowerPC chips Thursday at an event in Tokyo, one month after its primary customer for those chips announced plans to switch to Intel's processors.

"The new PowerPC 970MP is a dual-core version of the PowerPC 970FX, which users of Apple Computer's Power Mac and iMac computers know as the G5 processor. IBM also unveiled a low-power version of the 970FX chip with power consumption statistics that would make it suitable for a notebook.

"IBM had said little publicly about its PowerPC road map during the last several weeks of speculation, then confirmation, that Apple would make the historic switch away from the PowerPC architecture in favor of Intel's x86 architecture starting in 2006. IBM and Apple have had a rocky partnership since IBM became the exclusive supplier of the G5 processors. Manufacturing problems at IBM caused a delay in shipments of the G5 chips last year and power-consumption issues forced Apple to use liquid cooling in a high-end Power Mac and hold back on launching a G5 PowerBook or iBook."

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 iPod News Review.

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