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I have been following Apple’s move to use Intel processors since the announcement. There are a number of arguments going around various newsgroups and mailing lists about this new direction of Apple. I personally think this new direction for Apple could plunge them into the dark ages again. I am a very technical person with a strong background in Linux, UNIX, Windows, Mac OS, and Mac OS X. I understand processor technologies; RISC, CISC, CACHE, etc, etc. More importantly I understand Operating Systems so please do not dismiss my rant as me being ignorant.

Apple has a history of many technology flip-flops;

Anyone remember the 68000 series of processors? Mac OS 6, 7 and 8.0 had a strong following of Mac users and professional applications. Mac was no threat to Windows 3.1 or DOS but they were slowly gaining ground. The 68000 processors were “slower” in Mega Hertz compared to the Intel processors but the OS was smooth, stable and full of rich apps. Now the OS was not a true pre-emptive multitasking environment with protected memory so it had some serious issues, but that’s the topic of an old rant. Motorola pulled the plug on the 68000 and Apple embraced the PowerPC RISC chip. On paper this processor could hands down take on the world and win. The PowerPC ran almost 100% in 68040 emulation mode with a dated operating system that had it’s own problems. I owned a PowerMac 7100/66AV, It was not the end-all be-all. Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9 did attempted to bring a level of stability to the Apple platform but it still was not uncommon to perform one or two hard reboots a day to recover the system. The later PowerPC systems improved in a lot of areas.

Apple started in a new direction, UNIX and NeXT Computers brought Mac OS X. Mac OS X introduced a new level of pain to Apple. Mac OS X 10 and 10.1 in my opinion did not offer anything more then NEAT-O factor. To aww and woo at UNIX on a Mac was incredible. The OS had little more to offer then the built in apps. All Mac OS apps had to run under Classic mode and under a new level of incompatibility. All Mac users required the ability to dual boot and had to maintain two operating systems, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Mac OS 10.2 was finally usable, it was possible to run for more then a day without booting into Mac OS 9 but you still had to startup classic mode time to time for some apps. Now Mac OS 10.4 is a serious, mature product. The G4 and G5 processor features have been optimized into the operating system. There are plenty of application developers, and there are plenty of apps to choose from. When is the last time you had to startup classic mode? When was the last time you had to reboot into Mac OS 9?

Now Apple and Steve Jobs have turned us all on our sides again. Intel processors will again introduce incompatibilities and emulation mode issues on our beloved Mac platform. Rosetta is a piece of code that we will all become very familiar with in the near future. Rosetta converts code originally written for the PowerPC processor and run it on the X86 processor on the fly. Rosetta requires a special command set of the Pentium 4 processor to work. I don’t wish to get into any SSE2 and SSE3 argument; you can search the newsgroups yourself. Rosetta requires about 25% more memory to run then the native application requires. RAM and Altivec are common words to a Mac user. Think of SSE2/SSE3 as an Intel Altivec equivalent. Your X86 Mac will need SSE3 and lots of RAM to run smoothly. Emulation and Rosetta will also come at a huge hit to processing power. I have run Virtual PC, Linux WINE, Classic Mode, Pear PC, VM Ware and other emulation software. All of them have serious performance issues, integration issues and compatibility issues. VM Ware does not suffer form performance but it has RAM requirements and integration requirements and it is not a viable solution for the average computer user. Pear PC is a wonderful project but it’s an example of emulation and compatibility mode. A native Mac application running under Pear PC may have a performance hit from 1/30th to 1/1000th of its normal speed. Rosetta will perform much better but it will introduce performance and compatibility issues.

What is the point of introducing a faster processor as gauged by Giga Hertz if it can expect to spend all of its time running emulation software? I suspect Rosetta will have at least a 20% hit to performance compared to the native PowerPC application. Application developers will all go into that stale holding pattern that they did when Mac OS X was introduced. “Made for PowerPC” and “Made for Intel” will be the logos on the software boxes we will look for. Some apps may take so long be for they are ported to the Intel platform that they might as well disappear. It’s not an easy task for a developer to take a project on one platform and move it to another platform. A common programming framework and an operating system that was written from the ground up to run on multiple platforms will make this process easier. Mac OS X has those two components it even embraces the open GCC compiler. The process will still be painful and Rosetta will become a fact of life. I am not even going to speculate on the 32-bit/64-bit future of the Intel Apple.

The argument that seems to be most predominant on the Net is the Apple proprietary hardware required to run Mac OS X 86. In my opinion, no matter what technology Apple implements to protect their hardware it will be cracked before the first units ship to market. The Internet has created an extremely powerful knowledge base of computer users that can do anything. A team of hackers working together across the glob can accomplish any task and the only incentive they need is, “just because I wanted too”. They are not straddled with the limits imposed on industry; budgets, copy right laws, board of directors, etc, etc. A simple search on bittorent will provide you a copy of the Mac OS X 86 development DVD image. A second simple search on google will provide you the instructions to by pass the hardware security. That is where the simple steps end and the real work begins. To by pass the Apple hardware security you have to run VM Ware, Mac OS X, Darwin and a host operating system, Linux or Windows. It is not the cut and dry insert CD press start install we Mac users have grown accustom too. This would take me at least a day to start and over a week to get up and running. The common computer user has issues downloading MP3 files and burning them to a CD.

The common user will not turn his/her PC upside down for weeks to get Mac OS X 86 up on it, only to say, “oww-ahhh now what?” The computer industry will not install a pirated copy of Mac OS X 86 for legal and support reasons. A small percentage of very skilled people will do it for kicks. Linux is “free” and it is starting to gain a foothold in the computer industry but I don’t see Windows NT/2000/2003 disappearing off the face of the earth any day soon. Apple hardware will always be far superior to the $300 desktops you can pick up. Apple hardware in my opinion is better quality then HP-Compaq and IBM for desktop units. Is Apple really going to be worried about a couple of hackers running a pirated copy of Mac OS X?

Apple hardware is expensive but an apple to apples comparison will show it is not. A dual processor 64-bit Unix workstation from AIX, SUN, HP will cost you a lot more then $3000 dollars. At work I recently ordered a Dual Xeon Pentium Dell workstation. It was considerably more than $3000 and its video card will choke if anything more graphic intensive than WordPad is run on it. Apple has provided the world with the cheapest graphic workstation and PC users still dismiss the Apple as too pricy. The PC world refuses to investigate the ease of implementation of an Apple or other ROI (return on investment) advantages the Apple has to offer. I cannot speculate on the effects the Intel CPU will have on the ROI of the Apple platform.

To close and summarize my observations I believe Apple is not taking the correct steps as a computer company to continue to deliver such a top-notch product. A better direction may be to continue the evolution of the G5 processor. The G5 is used in IBM High End UNIX servers. If anyone speculates that this is not a huge install base, they are dreadfully wrong. The G5 may find it self in game console systems such as the X-Box and others. Apple could have jumped to the X86 platform many times. Why jump now? Is the argument of 2.7 Giga Hertz vs 3 Giga Hertz that compelling? Will the added savings of a cheaper processor drastically reduce the overall price tag of an Apple Computer so it can compete head to head with a Dell? Will Apple fold all of its investments in computer hardware and release Mac OS X 86 into the wind because a couple of thrill seeking hackers can by pass the hardware security? I believe the Apple computer has just stuck in a rotten core. You can compare a Dell computer to a Ford Tempo and the Apple to a BMW both in price and quality. Both will get you from A to B but one does it with style, class and luxury. Why would you put the low-end Ford motor and drive train into the BMW? It will look good from the outside but as soon as you turn the key, you’re still driving that Tempo.
 

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Sorry to rain on your obviously lengthly and thoughtout post...but the decision to go Intel can be explained by one word...laptops.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Never took it into consideration... a 1.5 Gig powerbook for thosands more then a dell 3 Gig laptop is a very compelling argument. IBM can not make a "laptop" friendly CPU?

thanks
 

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Exactly - it's the low end Apple is looking for. High clock low power consumption and lots of integration ( Centrino ).
This of a $799 US laptop and $499 US MiniMac that RUNS BOTH PC AND MAC SOFTWARE.

= rules the Edu world and has a lot of appeal in the enterprise end.

Apple can keep it's options open on the G5 dual core for the top end - but the gorwth and income is in the low end processor.

IBM has no interest in that category and with MS and Sony after PowerPC chips for gaming Apple gets bumped to the bottom of the "pay attention to " list.

Apple can parallel IBM in the top end using the same chips as IBMs servers if it has a real power advantage and also leverage Intel on the low end.

IF they had not been developing for Intel for 5 years I'd be very nervous and there will be SOME hiccups but overall it's a good thing. :clap:
 

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pingpong said:
Apple's move can be explained in one word: Microsoft.

Eventually, Apple will be a software company.
BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Wait...oh wait...my sides hurt...iPod hardware...Mac hardware sales...millions of dollars....

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Sorry...tears in my eyes...all of Apple's software designed to enhance hardware sales...iLife...Tiger...Pro apps...not for $$$...for hardware sales

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
 

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See what happens in 5-10 years.

Calm down, it's all speculations. Maybe I am wrong.

guytoronto said:
BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Wait...oh wait...my sides hurt...iPod hardware...Mac hardware sales...millions of dollars....

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Sorry...tears in my eyes...all of Apple's software designed to enhance hardware sales...iLife...Tiger...Pro apps...not for $$$...for hardware sales

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
;) ;)
 

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PosterBoy said:
But they won't. By 2007, Apple products will all be running x86 processors.
Like you, I've tried correcting MacDoc on this a half a dozen times already, but he keeps on saying it. MacDoc obviously is in denial.

As for the changeover, there is lots of hints that Apple's changeover to Intel could be a good thing:

- http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1175
- Intel going 64-bit
- Intel going dual core processors which use less power
- no more Endian issues which seem to cause network problems for games between Macs and PCs.
- .... and I could go on and on...

Let's just see how things go...

As for why Apple decided to make this change now, Steve told us why over 2 years ago (I need to find that quote again), he said when OS X would mature they would be in a position to look at a processor options. He told EVERYONE this over 2 years ago. I'm sure some of the other hardcore Mac users remember this. That was when the first rumors of Mac OS X going Intel first came out.
 

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Why are they changing now? I think it's pretty simple. The IBM roadmap is unappealing to them, they are debt free and have decent revenues. In short, they're being smart and acting now, from a position of strength, rather than later, from a position of desperation.
 

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Everyone seems to look at what Intel has today. I will say it again, the first PB's of the line will be 64 bit based on the Yonah chip.

As far as the rest, this is very much part of a much larger plan which we will not be informed of until Jobs and Co. want us to. One thing that is obvious is that the Mac world will change significantly over the next 5 years.
 

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pdksh:

I think you're still locked in "but PowerPC is always better! Always!" mode.

IBM announced low-power 970FX chips only in the middle of this year. The 1.6 GHz version has a typical power output of 16W; a 1.4 GHz version gets 13W, and a 1.42 GHz G4 from the current generation (MPC 7447A) nets about 18.3W if Freescale's charts are correct. Notice how only a 200 MHz boost in the G5's speed makes the power jump? Further more, the G5 is supposed to partly rely on clock speed to make its speed meaningful. A 1.8 GHz G5 probably wouldn't be faster than a 1.67 GHz G4 in most cases, and beyond that you quickly run into the thermal problems Apple has publically complained about.

Compare that to the Pentium M. Intel will have dual-core Pentium Ms in 2006 that will still be cool and miserly enough to put into a thin laptop. IBM may have trouble just getting above 2 GHz for low-power chips by that point.

As far as desktop architecture, don't forget that it's not Pentium 4 Forever at Intel anymore. They're going to announce a future desktop architecture on August 23rd which should be much closer to the Pentium M in terms of efficiency and power draw. Make it 64-bit and you could make a much more convincing case for future Apple desktops and servers, and I'm sure the design will filter down to laptops soon enough.
 

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pdksh said:
I am a very technical person with a strong background in Linux, UNIX, Windows, Mac OS, and Mac OS X. I understand processor technologies; RISC, CISC, CACHE, etc, etc. More importantly I understand Operating Systems so please do not dismiss my rant as me being ignorant.
When I read something like that from a guy who speaks of "Mega Hertz," I'm not inclined to be charitable.

pdksh said:
Apple has a history of many technology flip-flops
Then why didn't you mention any? 68K to PPC to x86 aren't flip-flops. Neither is moving from Mac OS to Mac OS X. (The only flip-flops that come to mind are ADC/DVI and the missing/returning audio-in.)

pdksh said:
Mac OS X introduced a new level of pain to Apple. Mac OS X 10 and 10.1 in my opinion did not offer anything more then NEAT-O factor.
Oh boy, where to start? How about dumping the Chooser, SimpleText, Control Panels, and that stupid Control Strip? How about up-time? How about an interrupt chord that actually worked? How about the quick ports of former OpenStep apps like OmniWeb and Create? How about the cool chess game? :)

pdksh said:
Rosetta will perform much better but it will introduce performance and compatibility issues.
It will "perform much better" but still introduce "performance issues?"

pdksh said:
What is the point of introducing a faster processor as gauged by Giga Hertz if it can expect to spend all of its time running emulation software?
"Giga Hertz" Are you kidding? Emulation is not what Rosetta does. Rosetta transforms the apps into x86 code. That new code won't be as efficient as true x86 code, but it will be much better than emulation.

pdksh said:
Application developers will all go into that stale holding pattern that they did when Mac OS X was introduced.
No, they won't. Microsoft and Adobe will be ready on Day 1. Cocoa developers will have few problems. Everyone else has a year to be ready. The UT2004 developer has already said that he created a working port during the WWDC.

The MacIntels will fly off the shelves. The developer community will work their asses off for the sales.

pdksh said:
“Made for PowerPC” and “Made for Intel” will be the logos on the software boxes we will look for.
Why? Making a Universal Binary is easier.

pdksh said:
Some apps may take so long be for they are ported to the Intel platform that they might as well disappear.
So long, Quark! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

pdksh said:
I am not even going to speculate on the 32-bit/64-bit future of the Intel Apple.
I will then. The Intel PowerMacs will be 64 bit. That's end of 2007, right when Intel is planning to ship it's Pentium M derived 64 bit.

pdksh said:
A simple search on bittorent will provide you a copy of the Mac OS X 86 development DVD image.
Bit Torrent isn't a search engine.

pdksh said:
At work I recently ordered a Dual Xeon Pentium Dell workstation. It was considerably more than $3000 and its video card will choke if anything more graphic intensive than WordPad is run on it.
Hyperbole.

pdksh said:
Apple has provided the world with the cheapest graphic workstation and PC users still dismiss the Apple as too pricy.
Maybe because the PC world prefers gaming PCs and internet PCs?

pdksh said:
The PC world refuses to investigate the ease of implementation of an Apple or other ROI (return on investment) advantages the Apple has to offer.
Maybe those advantages don't include a huge game library, or cheap and upgradable PC towers, or they have a lot of money invested in software already?

pdksh said:
I cannot speculate on the effects the Intel CPU will have on the ROI of the Apple platform.
I can. I will be like manna from heaven.

pdksh said:
A better direction may be to continue the evolution of the G5 processor. The G5 is used in IBM High End UNIX servers.
No, it isn't. The 970 is used in low-end Blade servers. The high-end servers use the POWER4/5 processor - an expensive monster designed for system-critical functions. Besides, Apple cannot "continue the evolution" because it isn't their technology. IBM has set it's own goals, and Apple feels those goals aren't right for them.

pdksh said:
If anyone speculates that this is not a huge install base, they are dreadfully wrong. The G5 may find it self in game console systems such as the X-Box and others.
Not "May." Will. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have already signed on for 970-derived processors from IBM.

pdksh said:
Apple could have jumped to the X86 platform many times. Why jump now? Is the argument of 2.7 Giga Hertz vs 3 Giga Hertz that compelling
No, the heat-production and power-consumption of the Intel stuff is "more compelling."

pdksh said:
Will the added savings of a cheaper processor drastically reduce the overall price tag of an Apple Computer so it can compete head to head with a Dell? Why would you put the low-end Ford motor and drive train into the BMW?
The Intel chips may end up being more expensive. Steve Jobs never mentioned anything about price being an issue for the switch.

I'd be happy to drive a BMW with a Ford motor. Right now, I stuck with this BMW with a Yugo motor.
 

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Too few high end G5 users to worry about !

The shift to Intel will make all Macs more performance competitve with Wintel. In reality most Mac users do not use high end G5 chips. Most iMac and Powermacs run lower speed G5 chips yet pay a premium to do so. I am very disappointed in the power pc development over the past 7 years, losing ground each year. Except for some specialized applications even the top G5 computers do not match top end Intels. What distinguishes the Mac is the operating system. As well, Intels hardware development will allow more seamless integration with many of the other hardware components that they produce. Heat issues are a huge problems for Macs. Look at the hardware problems plaguing the iMacs, and the absence of G5 laptops. If one looks to the recent past the Intel roadmap has been more reliable than that of the power pc consortium. I would rather 95% of the Mac buyers benefit than just those very few rich enough to buy the top end G5. Cheaper faster processers for the rest of us. Besides, I am sure there are other benefits of using Intel chips such as easier compatability with graphics cards, faster porting of programs and reliability of delivery. Thinking different is great if it also means thinking better. :cool:
 

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lpkmckenna said:
No, they won't. Microsoft and Adobe will be ready on Day 1. Cocoa developers will have few problems. Everyone else has a year to be ready. The UT2004 developer has already said that he created a working port during the WWDC.
Indeed. I can't imagine any software developer having a hard time building software for x86-based Macs. It's really quite easy and quick if you're already using Apple's developer tools. If you're not, then it takes a bit of time to port the project to Xcode, but once that's done you're set.

Compared to the transition from OS 9 to OS X, this transition should be simple and straightforward. The only thing that I wonder about is how long will Apple and other software developers continue to support PPC-based Macs.
 

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Like you, I've tried correcting MacDoc on this a half a dozen times already, but he keeps on saying it. MacDoc obviously is in denial.
I'm in denial over nothing, Jobs will keep his options open with IBM just as he did with Intel.
He kept Intel on the back burner for 5 years without a SINGLE customer with an Intel chip in their Mac and he still developed for Intel.

He has MILLIONS of PowerPC Macs in the field - you're braindead if you think he won't keep that option open to use upper end IBMs well into the future.
Locking into to Intel alone would be the height of stupidity and Jobs is NOT stupid......as he showed by giving himself the Intel option in the first place.

I could care less if he uses a coal burning difference engine as long as it works and is reliable.
The MORE choices in processors he has the better for the Mac community. YOU are buying into Jobspeak hook line and sinker. :rolleyes:

IBM uses Intel and AMD as well as their own PowerPC chips in their variety of products tho that will likely change somewhat with the sale to China. Smart companies keep their options open and I fully expect Jobs to continue to keep his open as well. :clap:

Clear enough even for you I would hope.
 

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MacDoc said:
I'm in denial over nothing, Jobs will keep his options open with IBM just as he did with Intel.
Keep compiling Mac OS X on PPC hardware in a back room somewhere? Yes, more than likely.
Keep producing Macs using PPC chips after 2007? No. Not at all.

Maybe in a number of years time they might go back, but consider this:

MacDoc said:
He has MILLIONS of PowerPC Macs in the field
Which Apple is doing their best to maintain backwards compatibility with[1].

MacDoc said:
The MORE choices in processors he has the better for the Mac community.
The more architectures Apple has to keep OS X running acceptably on, the more it will cost them. Besides that, if all their needs are met with one (which they are with Intel, and not with IBM/Frescale) there is no need to maintain the OS for both.

MacDoc said:
YOU are buying into Jobspeak hook line and sinker.
No, we're just reading the <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/06intel.html">press release</a> that says:
<blockquote>Apple® announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh® computers using Intel® microprocessors by this time next year, and to <strong>transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007</strong>.</blockquote>

MacDoc said:
Clear enough even for you I would hope.
Why do you feel the need to talk down to everyone who disagrees with you?

[1] There is room for debate whether Apple's backwards compatibility is any good at all.
 

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I remember reading an article a few years ago about how Apple seriously needed to make some money. If I remember the article correctly, it cost Apple $1 billion US to develop the first version of OS X. Apple has been debt free with about 5 billion in revenue to spend on building cool things! But the money eventually would run out.

This article was a few years ago and since then Apple has had major breakthroughs with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

I do not remember where I read the article but it sure was a good insight into the future. Eventually Apple would run out of money making OS's at 1 billion a pop so Apple saved themselves with the iPod and iTunes (which of course have made them a lot of money). Maybe Apple cannot sell computers anymore? Maybe they will become a software/music/iPod company!

I sure hope not.
I really do not know a lot about this subject so I hope my impression on this matter is wrong! I cannot see myself running OS X and beyond on a Sony!
 

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There were millions of 68K Macs in the field when Apple made the transition to the PowerPC chip, and Apple didn't make any more 68K Macs.

If Apple had to lock itself to any one CPU supplier, Intel would be the obvious choice. Intel is the largest CPU manufacturer by far, and while they don't always have the fastest chips (e.g., the Xeon compared to the Opteron), they generally don't have the supply problems other manufacturers have.

I think Apple's looking forward to working with a company that can actually supply them with CPUs in a timely manner.

I'm also not convinced that more CPU options is necessarily better; developers tend to favour a particular CPU over another.[1] I remember when Windows NT 3.1 came out it had multiple CPU options (MIPS, PowerPC, Alpha, and x86). Four versions later, Windows NT 5.0 (er, Windows 2000) only supported the x86.

[1] Developing for more than one CPU architecture makes things ... interesting. For one you have to double the amount of testing you do, since you'll get bugs that only appear on one platform and not the other. Optimizing becomes trickier, too, since an optimization on one architecture might actually slow things down on a different architecture.

The nice thing about Apple's transition from PPC to x86 is that it is just that, a transition. It's only going to involve a couple of years of doing development for both architectures.
 
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