Shock and Awe

Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006

Wow. It has been rumour since the dawn of computing but it has finally happened.

Apple have switched.

This should not be such a surprise, they switched from Motorolla to IBM {PPC} and now they are switching to Intel.

This completely caught me off-guard though, as Apple has always been about a Quality Computing Experience rather than about Volume Sales.
And Intel is a volume manufacturer.
It is also strange as the Cell processor, in the PS3, looks far more like a natural successor to the existing Apple hardware than the planned Intel Pentium Multicores.

The problem that Apple will face is that they have been essentially a niche hardware manufacture and now they are going to be playing with the big boys.

They will no doubt try the same trick as IBM did in the 80’s by propriatorizing their bios etc, but by sourcing their chipsets from a volume manufacturer they will have to beware of the Attack of the Clones.

I am curious to see how apple progresses with this.
Are they trying to make a switch to a low cost volume sales model for their hardware?
Or are they trying to make a switch to a pure OS supplier and take on MS in their own territory? [Why would you have MS OS when you could have Mac OS X? I would definitely buy a version for my auld pentium when it is released!]
Either path is risky, but the rewards for Apple could be phenomenal.

They redefined portable music with the iPod and iTunes Store, beating Sony et. al. off the mark.
But to take on MS and people like Dell, who are already entrenched, is really brave. [or Stupid].

A fantastic thing is that the core of the Mac OS is open source.
Something Redmond absolutely hates.
So the choice may be between an innovative operating system or a propriatory one.

I know which I would choose.

2 thoughts on “Shock and Awe

  1. Michiel says:

    Heya Keitaro,

    the more I read on the mactel specs the more I become convinced that OSX will be able to run on Dells with some tweaking:

    It uses DDR-2 RAM at 533 MHz. SATA-2. It is using Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics and it supports Quartz Extreme. The Intel 900 doesn’t compare favorably to any shipping card from ATi or nVidia. The Apple engineers says they dev kit will work with regular PC graphics cards, but that you need a driver. Apple does not write ANY graphics drivers. They just submit bug reports to ATi/nVidia. So, when we asked where to get drivers for better cards the engineers said “The ATI guys are here.” He’s right, they’ve been in the compatibility lab several times.

    It has FireWire 400, but not 800. USB 2 as well. USB 2 booting is supported, FireWire booting is not. NetBoot works.

    The machines do not have Open Firmware. They use a Phoenix BIOS.

    … I mean, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…


  2. Keitaro says:


    Well, that is probably why they are moving from Open Firmware.
    You have to realise that the dev boxes that they are loaning to developers will be nothing like the end machines, apart from the performance tweaking and driver issues, they are likely to get a customized firmware to create a lock in.
    They did say that IntelMacs will be able to run windows, but PC’s will not be able to run Mac OS X. And this is the most likely way they could acheive it considering all the other stuff is identical to PC hardware.
    But you are right.
    As soon as the MacTel version of MacOS X is released someone somewhere will crack it to run on a Dell.
    But, people buy Apple for a “quality experience” rather than on cost alone.
    My little 800Mhz G4 iBook still has a couple of years life in it.
    I will no doubt replace it with a 2.4 Ghz Multicore Pentium-M iBook in a couple of years.


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