The Macintel Report

Apple Locks Out Clones, Intel Switch Bodes Well for Apple, and Transition Won't Be Easy for Some

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.09.15

This Week's Macintel News

Low End Mac has standardized on Macintel as our 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 desktops 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

New Tiger Build Prevents Use on Unauthorized Intel Boxes

engadget's Barb Dybwad reports:

"The newest build of Mac OS X 10.4.3 . . . includes anti-piracy measures that will supposedly prevent it from running smoothly on Intel-based machines that haven't been authorized by Apple...."

Macintel Fan Club Starts

The Inquirer's Rob Squires says:

"Apple's OS X fan club has setup shop over at http://www.osx86project.org . It seems that there is now a complete install disc floating around the BitTorrent networks that allow you to install OS X on any x86 platform and yes that includes AMD.

"On a more interesting note, anyone looking for Windows compatibility? According to their site, 'by adapting the Wine compatibility layer for Windows, some enterprising developers have developed a method to run Windows programs under OS X for Intel.'"

Intel Switch Could Heat Up Apple's Hot Computer Sales

BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl says:

"Jobs & Co. are already starting to win back lost PC share, and this switch, if negotiated properly, could accelerate that trend

"With all the attention paid its iPod music player and its hot-and-cold relationship with major music labels, it's easy to forget that Apple Computer is at its core a computer company.

"And a computer company at a critical crossroads. Having announced a once-unthinkable shift to using chips from Intel in its systems beginning next year, it's enjoying renewed interest in its traditional desktop products - sparked, in part, by the iPod's popularity. And with the move to Intel, Apple may begin to regain some of the market share that has ebbed away over two decades of competition from Windows-based rivals.

"Indeed, Apple's computer sales are growing at a rate more than twice the industry average. In July, research firm IDC reported that Apple PC sales grew by 37% in the second quarter, compared with a 16.6% rate for the PC industry as a whole. That was enough to push Apple's share of the U.S. PC market to 4.5% in the same period, up from 3.7% in the second quarter of last year.

"The switch to Intel, if negotiated properly, could prove to be the turning point by enabling Apple to grab a larger slice of the PC market. But it won't happen without challenges. The changeover won't begin until next year and isn't expected to be completed until sometime in 2007."

Energy Miser CPUs and Optimized Libraries to Strengthen Macintels

Fairfax Digital's Garry Barker says:

"Rumour mongering reminds me of our cat. It's half Siamese and possesses a special kind of feline evil. It will sit beside my easy chair with a paw raised and fix me with a steely yellow eye. 'No, cat. Not again!' I plead....

"Launching rumours is like that but, what the heck, raise the paw and let's begin, recognising that good rumours need some facts and, in this case, they are coming fast.

"Last week Intel released details of its new microchip; power-frugal and allowing processors with four or more cores - running cooler but working harder.

"How cool is in Intel's claim that its most economical chip will draw only half a watt. A small torch draws about five watts, a Pentium 4 about 95, as much as an average room light. Imagine battery life on half a watt!

"Intel has since said it will port a complete set of compilers and performance-enhancing libraries to Apple's Intel-based version of Mac OS X for both single and multicore processors, matching Windows and Linux. The tools will work as plugins to Apple's Xcode development environment.

"The new chips mean the Pentium is history and Wintel geeks and server farmers will have to find new ways of frying their breakfast eggs.

"The first Intel PowerBooks look likely to use Merom, a notebook chip due next year. The standard chip will consume five watts, but that will drop to the aforementioned 0.5 watts with the introduction of an ultra-lean version at the end of next year. Pentium M chips draw up to 22 watts and in notebook form 5.5 watts."

Macintel Switch Won't Be Easy

CNET News.com's Charles Cooper reports:

"Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen recently met with CNET News.com to discuss his company's acquisition of Macromedia and changes he sees in the technology world. During the interview, he offered insights into Apple Computer's switch to Intel chips.

"Such as: 'Steve (Jobs) likes to trivialize the process and make it seem easy, but moving the apps over is not that easy... Getting over to MacTel is work. I think in the long run it's going to be great because what the users will get is better performance . .  . and greater value. At Adobe, we tend to optimize for Intel today on the Windows side. The fact that we'll be able to optimize for Intel cross-platform will make it even better for us.'"

Macintel Switch May Be Easy or Hard

MacDevCenter's Derrick Story says:

"I was just thinking about Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen's comments on Cnet.com where he was quoted, 'Steve (Jobs) likes to trivialize the process and make it seem easy, but moving the apps over is not that easy...'. Although Chizen remarked that 'in the long run it's going to be great,' his overall tone was not exactly optimistic....

"When I was being interviewed by Gene Steinberg on The Tech Night Owl, he asked me, 'which is it - easy or not?'

"This is the beginning of what will be a long discussion. But the short answer is: 'That depends on your code now.'"

Tech Developments

Intel's Dothan vs. AMD's Turion 64

Laptop Logic's Dan Zhang says:

"For many years, Intel's Pentium M processor and the the Centrino platform, has reigned as king. Offering high performance at a fraction of the power consumption of its competitors, the Pentium M was the obvious, no-brainer choice for most mobile users.

"However, things are becoming more complicated. With AMD's recent release of its Turion processor, Intel's dominance of the mobile market faces its first real challenge since it introduced the Centrino platform. Based on AMD's powerful Athlon 64 line, the Turion 64 mobile processor claims to offer comparable battery life and even better performance than Intel's Pentium M champion....

"This article fully covers the architecture of both the Pentium M and Turion CPU, along with a brief history outlining the various tweaks and optimizations that were performed during their development. To appeal to a broader audience, this article will first discuss the effect of the respective designs rather than delving into any engineering details. Then, the pros and cons of each CPU architecture are discussed, followed by a brief evaluation of price. Finally, the bulk of the article compares the Turion ML-37 against the Pentium M 760 in a myriad of benchmarks, starting from simple synthetic benchmarks to the four main categories of computing: office/business, multimedia, gaming, and scientific use. Battery life is also compared, and the conclusion will provide a brief summary."

Intel Chip Sets 'Sold Out'

eWeek's John G. Spooner says:

"Intel's chipset factories are running flat out, the company said.

"The chip giant, which earlier this year said it was reprioritizing its chipset manufacturing in an effort to keep up with demand, doesn't expect to catch a breather until early 2006, said Andy Bryant, Intel Corp.'s CFO, on Thursday."

More Mac News

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

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