The Macintel Report

First Macintels Shown at Expo, Macintel Software, Intel May See Earnings Lift with Apple, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.01.11

This Week's Macintel News

Apple unveiled the first Macintel models this week and promises to convert the entire Mac line to Intel by the end of the calendar year.

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.

They're Here

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Other Intel News

They're Here

Apple Unveils New iMac with Intel Core Duo Processor

PR: Apple on Tuesday unveiled the new iMac featuring Mac OS X running on the new Intel Core Duo processor, delivering performance that is up to twice that of its predecessor.* The widely praised iMac design now features dual-core processors, a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing out-of-the-box, and the breakthrough media experience of Front Row with the Apple Remote for a simple, intuitive and powerful way for consumers to enjoy their content from across the room.

Starting at just $1,299, every new iMac comes with iLife '06, the next generation of Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring major new versions of iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and introducing iWeb, a new iLife application that makes it super-easy to create amazing websites with photos, blogs and Podcasts and publish them on .mac for viewing by anyone on the Internet with just a single click.

The new iMac is shipping and is the first of a new generation of Macs featuring Intel processors.

"The iMac has already been praised as 'the gold standard of desktop PCs', so we hope customers really love the new iMac, which is up to twice as fast," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "With Mac OS X plus Intel's latest dual-core processor under the hood, the new iMac delivers performance that will knock our customers' socks off."

The new iMac features Apple's breakthrough Front Row media experience and the Apple Remote, a simple way for customers to enjoy the content they have on their iMac - including songs from their iTunes music library, photo slideshows from iPhoto, videos including TV shows, Podcasts, iMovies and DVDs, and popular movie trailers streamed from apple.com - all from across the room.

Every new iMac comes with a built-in iSight video camera for out-of-the-box video conferencing using Apple's award-winning iChat AV software, or recording a video Podcast or iMovie using iLife '06. The built-in iSight video camera takes advantage of the Intel Core Duo processor to deliver up to four times the resolution over the previous model. Each iMac also includes Photo Booth, Apple's fun-to-use application that lets users take quick snapshots with the built-in iSight video camera, add entertaining visual effects and share their pictures with the touch of a button.

The new iMac comes standard with a SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs, 512 MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2 GB, hard drive storage capacity up to 500 GB, and ATI Radeon X1600 PCI Express-based graphics with 128 MB of GDDR3 memory for outstanding graphics performance and realistic game play. With the latest high-performance connectivity options, the new iMac includes built-in 10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme for fast 54 Mbps wireless networking,** built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire 400 ports. The new iMac now includes mini-DVI video output to connect up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display. With mini-DVI and the new iMac's extended desktop mode feature, users can more than double their available screen real estate.

The new iMac was designed to be the perfect computer for iLife '06, the next generation of Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring major new versions of iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and introducing iWeb, a new iLife application that makes it super-easy to create amazing websites with photos, blogs and Podcasts and publish them on .mac for viewing by anyone on the Internet with just a single click. All the iLife '06 applications are Universal applications that run natively on the new Intel-based iMacs for maximum performance.

Every new iMac comes with the latest release of the world's most advanced operating system, Mac OS X version 10.4.4 "Tiger" including Safari, Mail, iCal, iChat AV, Front Row and Photo Booth, running natively on Apple's first Intel-based desktop. Mac OS X Tiger includes an innovative software translation technology called Rosetta that lets customers run most Mac OS X PowerPC applications seamlessly.***

Pricing & Availability

The new iMac is shipping today and will be available through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new 17" 1.83 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US), includes:

  • 17" widescreen LCD display;
  • 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
  • 512 MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2 GB;
  • 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • PCI Express-based ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 MB GDDR3 memory;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • 160 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • mini-DVI out (adapters for DVI, VGA and Composite/S-Video sold separately);
  • built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
  • the infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

The new 20" 2.0 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,699 (US), includes:

  • 20" widescreen LCD display;
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
  • 512 MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2 GB;
  • 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • PCI Express-based ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 MB GDDR3 memory;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • 250 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • mini-DVI out (adapters for DVI, VGA and Composite/S-Video sold separately);
  • built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
  • the infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM, 250 GB and 500 GB Serial ATA hard drives, up to 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory on the 20" iMac, iWork '06 (preinstalled), AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme Base Station, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Apple Wireless Mouse, Apple USB Modem and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

*Based on estimated results of industry-standard SPECint and SPECfp rate tests. SPEC is a registered trademark of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).

**Actual speed will vary based on range from the base station, environmental conditions and other factors.

*** See http://www.apple.com/rosetta/ for information on Rosetta supported Apple software. Contact the manufacturer directly for 3rd party software.

Apple Introduces MacBook Pro with Intel Core Duo Processor - Up to 4x Faster than PowerBook G4

PR: Apple on Tuesday unveiled its new MacBook Pro notebook computer featuring the new Intel Core Duo processor which delivers up to four times the performance of the PowerBook G4. The new MacBook Pro, the first Mac notebook based on an Intel processor, features a stunning aluminum enclosure just one inch thin, weighs only 5.6 pounds, includes a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go, and the Apple Remote and Front Row software for a simple, intuitive, and powerful way for users to enjoy their content wherever they go.

The new MacBook Pro, available in February, also features Apple's new patent-pending MagSafe magnetic power connector, designed especially for mobile users.

"MacBook Pro delivers dual-processor desktop performance in a thin, sleek notebook," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The new MacBook Pro, with its Intel Core Duo dual-core processor, delivers the performance of not just one, but two G5 processors in the world's most stunning one inch thin design."

MacBook Pro features the new Intel Core Duo processor which delivers dual-core performance in a breakthrough power-efficient design, making it ideal for use in MacBook Pro's thin and lightweight design. MacBook Pro is up to four times faster than the product it replaces, the PowerBook G4, running industry standard benchmarks.

Every new MacBook Pro comes with a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go using Apple's award-winning iChat AV, or recording a video Podcast or iMovie using iLife '06. MacBook Pro also includes Photo Booth, Apple's fun-to-use application that lets users take quick snapshots with the built-in iSight video camera, add entertaining visual effects and share their pictures with the touch of a button.

The new MacBook Pro is the first notebook to feature Apple's breakthrough Front Row media experience and the Apple Remote, turning MacBook Pro into a portable theatre. Front Row gives customers a simple way to enjoy their content wherever they go - including songs from their iTunes music library, photo slideshows from iPhoto, videos including TV shows, Podcasts, iMovies and DVDs, and popular movie trailers streamed from apple.com - all from up to 30 feet away.

The new MacBook Pro also debuts Apple's patent-pending MagSafe magnetic power connector, designed especially for mobile users. The MagSafe power connector makes charging the notebook's battery easier than ever by magnetically coupling the power cord to the MacBook Pro. The MagSafe power connector safely disconnects from the notebook when there is strain on the power cord, helping to prevent the notebook from falling off its work surface when the power cord is inadvertently yanked.

The new MacBook Pro features a 67% brighter 15" display, which is now as bright as Apple's Cinema Displays, and offers a completely new system architecture for faster performance, including a 667 MHz front-side bus that is four times as fast as the PowerBook G4 and 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2 GB that is twice as fast as the PowerBook G4. Each MacBook Pro comes standard with ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 PCI Express graphics, with either 128 MB or 256 MB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory. Each MacBook Pro includes built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), integrated AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g WiFi wireless networking, a scrolling trackpad and Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor that is designed to protect the hard drive in case of a fall.

Pricing & Availability

The new 15" MacBook Pro will be available in February through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers. Visitors to the Apple Store can pre-order MacBook Pro beginning immediately.

The 1.67 GHz, 15" MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:

  • 15.4" widescreen 1440 x 900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness;
  • 1.67 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
  • 512 MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2 GB;
  • 80 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128 MB GDDR3 memory;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port;
  • one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
  • scrolling trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • the infrared Apple Remote;
  • 60 Watt hour lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85W AC power adapter with MagSafe magnetic power connector.

The 1.83 GHz, 15" MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:

  • 15.4" widescreen 1440 x 900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness;
  • 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
  • 1 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2 GB;
  • 100 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256 MB GDDR3 memory;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • built-in Airport Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port;
  • one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
  • scrolling trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • the infrared Apple Remote;
  • 60 Watt hour lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85W AC power adapter with MagSafe magnetic power connector.

Additional build-to-order options for the 15" MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to 120 GB (5400 rpm) or 100 GB (7200 rpm) hard drive, up to 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple USB Modem, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

News, Analysis, and Opinion

Intel: Just What Apple Needs

BusinessWeek's Cliff Edwards says:

"The alliance with the world's biggest chipmaker will put Jobs & Co. on an equal footing with PC rivals and will open many more new doors

"Is the world ready for Mactel? It better be, because come Jan. 10, that name could very well become synonymous with the historic shift taking place in the PC industry. As the annual Macworld conference gets under way, Apple Computer's Steve Jobs will demonstrate his closer ties to chipmaker Intel, kicking off what's expected to be a year chock full of glitzy new consumer-electronics gear and computers - much of it powered by Intel chips.

"And just as the Wintel alliance between Microsoft and Intel, forged decades ago by the development of the world's first personal computer, created symbiotic ties between those two companies, the Apple-Intel relationship stands to benefit the new partners immensely."

Link: Just What Apple Needs: Intel

How Goes the Macintel Software?

BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl says:

"If one thing dominates the technical history of Apple Computer, it's transitions. The most recent example: the shift from Apple's old operating system OS 9 to OS X. It was like starting all over again with a completely new computer. And software that Mac users had come to rely on - from publishing programs like Quark XPress and Adobe's Photoshop, to more general-use software like Microsoft's Office and Qualcomm's Eudora e-mail program - all needed updating to run in a radically different environment.

"Now, Apple is shepherding the Mac and its legions of software developers through another transition - this one nearly as momentous as the shift to OS X....

"That means big changes in programs written for the Mac. And it has left some developers scrambling to ensure they're ready when Apple announces the availability of the first Intel-based Macs. Rumor has it that could happen at the annual Macworld Conference & Expo...."

Link: How Goes the Mactel Software?

Other Intel News

Intel Formally Unveils Host of Chips

PC Advisor's China Martens reports:

"Intel officially announced the pricing and branding for a host of processors this week, making the details available on its website.

"New on Intel's pricing list were four dual-core mobile Yonah processors - the T2300, T2400, T2500 and T2600 - and one single-core chip called the T1300....

"The single-core T1300 costs $209 (about £120), while the T2300, T2400, T2500 and T2600 are priced at $241, $294, $423 and $637 (£139, £170, £245 and £369) respectively. All five chips are produced using a 65-nanometer manufacturing process and include 2 MB of Level 2 cache. Clock speeds range from 1.66 GHz for the T1300 rising to 2.16 GHz for the T2600.

"Intel has two other dual-core mobile Yonah chips that operate at low voltage: the L2300, with a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and a price tag of $284 (£164), and the L2400, clocking in at 1.66 GHz and $316 (£183)....

"The chip giant also introduced four more Pentium D dual-core chips: the 920, 930, 940 and 950, with clock speeds of 2.8 GHz, 3 GHz, 3.2 GHz and 3.4 GHz respectively, and pricing from $241 (£139) for the 920 up to $637 (£369) for the 950. All four chips were produced using the 65-nanometer manufacturing process."

Link: Intel Formally Unveils Host of Chips

Intel's Core Duo Notebook Performance Revealed

Anand Tech's Anand Lal Shimpi says:

"We were so excited about Yonah when we first heard about it, but now that we already know so much is there anything more worth talking about? And is there even anything more worth getting excited about? We already know it's going to be called the Core Duo, we already know about Intel's Leap ahead slogan and we've heard the word platform from Intel more times in the past year than we've heard in the past decade. Is this even an article worth doing?

"As if you didn't already know the answer to that rhetorical question, we should at least point out one thing. In our previous articles we looked at Yonah very similar to a fish out of water, we compared a very fast, very cool running, low power mobile processor to a bunch of desktop alternatives. We used it to give us a clue into future desktop performance from Intel, but it was what we didn't do that makes this article today so very important. What we didn't do with Yonah was stick it in a notebook and see how it fares in its natural habitat. And that's what we're here for today.

"Today's article is very much a look at Yonah and Centrino Duo as they were intended to be viewed - as members of a mobile society. The primary point of comparison here today will be Dothan and the previous generation Centrino. While we would like to compare to AMD's Turion 64, we only had a very limited time with the notebooks in this review and we could not get a Turion 64 notebook given the short notice and time constraints. The other point worth mentioning is that the Turion 64 vs. Yonah comparison will be a lot more fair and make a lot more sense when AMD releases their dual core Turion later this quarter."

Link: Intel's Core Duo Launch - Notebook Performance Revealed

Will Intel's Mobile Alliance Save Clone Notebook Makers?

DigiTimes' David Tzeng and Jessie Shen report:

"Intel's new push with its Mobile Alliance (MA) in the clone notebook market will be key in deciding how the worldwide notebook market landscape will look in 2006, unspecified Taiwan notebook makers said, highlighting that the survival of non-top-10 makers of notebooks really depends on the success or failure of the program.

"The chip giant's MA program, slated to be carried out by the first quarter of 2006, is aimed at boosting the market share of the clone market to 30-35% of the total worldwide notebook market by 2007. The purpose is to help the non-top-10 notebook companies avoid being edged by the current top-five vendors.

"If Intel's Mobile Alliance works out successfully, clone notebook players that include non-top-10 brands will surely enjoy better sales and grab shares from the current top-five players. On the other hand, clone notebook companies could be phased out in the market if the initiative fails."

Link: Will Intel's Mobile Alliance Save Clone Notebook Makers? (subscription required)

Intel May Get Earnings Lift from Apple Business in Q1

Forbes' Maya Roney reports:

"J.P. Morgan research analyst Christopher Danely maintained a "neutral" rating on Intel in anticipation of overcapacity but raised earnings estimates after checks indicated that the company is on track to begin shipping processors for Apple's new PCs this quarter.

"'We expect the PCs to be introduced at Macworld next week,' wrote the analyst in a research note on Friday.

"Danely said Intel should ship its processors into roughly 55% of Apple's calendar 2006 PC shipments...."

Link: Intel May Get EPS Lift from Apple Business in Q1

Multicore Everywhere: The x86 and Beyond

ExtremeTech reports:

"Microprocessor architects have often toiled in obscurity as they invent innovative approaches to advance the state of the microprocessor art. Research scientists publish technical papers, and small start-ups add to the Darwinian struggle to find a competitive advantage with clever new architectures.

"However, the world only seems to take notice when a proven architectural approach finds its way into an x86 microprocessor from one of the two leading vendors. The original microprocessor architects often get swept aside as established terminology gets replaced with heavily-marketed buzzwords. Most media help promulgate the public perception that new x86 features started in infancy in a Santa Clara research lab and then emerged, fully-grown and ready to finally lead the computer industry forward."

Link: Multicore Everywhere: The x86 and Beyond

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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