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Apple Switching to Intel 2950

Posted by pudge
from the but-but-but-but dept.
Steve Jobs announced at the WWDC keynote today that Apple is switching to Intel processors. MacNN has live coverage. The bottom line is that Mac OS X for the last five years has been running on Intel, the switch is expected to be complete in two years, and Rosetta will allow PPC apps to run on Intel-based Macs, transparently. If you're using Xcode, it is small changes and a recompile; otherwise, you might be seeing a lot of work ahead of you. You will be able to order the 10.4.1 preview for Intel today.
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Apple Switching to Intel

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  • by wankledot (712148) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:55PM (#12737894)
    It's crow. Eat up. (I'll have to eat my share too.)
    • by Otter (3800) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:01PM (#12738042) Journal
      No time for that now! I have to work up my new explanation of why CISC is better than RISC, MMX is better than AltiVec and only an idiot would ever think otherwise!
      • Re:Have a taste... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Golias (176380) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:11PM (#12738222)
        You have plenty of time. The rumors were only half-true.

        Apple is adopting Intel, but is not "ditching" IBM.

        New G5 towers will still be around for at least another year, and probably at least two. Intel is probably going to start by replacing the G4 CPUs in Powerbooks and minis.

        At the Stevenote, he informed devs that they would be supporting both platforms for a long time to come.
        • Re:Have a taste... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Amiga Trombone (592952) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:39PM (#12740249)
          At the Stevenote, he informed devs that they would be supporting both platforms for a long time to come.

          You have to wonder if maybe he's hedging his bets. If IBM or one of the PPC licensees comes out of their coma and delivers, he has plenty of opportunities to backstroke. Nothing like having some options.
      • by m50d (797211) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:20PM (#12738373) Homepage Journal
        I felt something, a disturbance in the network, as if a million mac zealots cried out in horror and were suddenly silenced

        Sorry, just seemed appropriate.

      • by JonTurner (178845) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:10PM (#12739465) Journal
        My apologies to Mr. Orwell, but it must be done:

        At this moment, for example, in 2005 (if it was 2005), Apple was at war with Motorola and in alliance with Intel. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Apple had been at war with Intel and in alliance with Motorola. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Apple was at war with Motorola: therefore Apple had always been at war with Motorola. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
      • CISC, RISC, and MMX (Score:5, Informative)

        by Creepy (93888) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:46PM (#12740324) Journal
        Quite simply, Intel no longer uses CISC. Sure the instruction set is CISC, but it's all microcode reduced to RISC instructions underneath the hood (which was done WAAAY back with the Pentium II and may have partially been implemented on the original Pentium). MMX has been dead for a while, replaced by SIMD and SIMD2, which can actually run in parallel to the floating point unit and no longer requires a context switch. Seriously, though, outside of the math world, you probably don't need either unless you're doing software rendering of graphics - the original reason for MMX was to speed up processing of games and video effects in software and this work is now pretty much entirely handled by the GPU.
  • by professorhojo (686761) * on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:55PM (#12737897)
    Late Friday afternoon, C|Net News [com.com] published an extremely valuable trade secret about Apple [apple.com] and Intel [intel.com], days before Apple was scheduled to announce it ( Apple to Ditch IBM, Switch to Intel Chips [com.com] ). So, where's the friggin' lawsuit [eff.org] against C|Net to find out who leaked? Where is the judge who is going to claim that what C|Net published was "stolen property"?

    From: http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/2005/06 /05/apple_intel_wheres_the_lawsuit_against_cnet.ph p [corante.com]
    • by sterno (16320) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:07PM (#12738168) Homepage
      All of this would assume that they wanted the information kept secret. I have little doubt that if news.com was publishing this information, Apple didn't have that big of an interest in keeping it secret. With individual product releases, they are quite a bit more protective because they want to control how the products are treated in the media.

      A good example of how this can work, if information came out on the shuffle well in advance of release, you'd see lots of reviews picking it apart for it's lack of a display, etc. So, before it ever hit the streets there would be a certain image of the device that could hurt their sales. But when Apple released it, they managed to spin the lack of display as a sort of feature. That the shuffle is about random playing, not picking songs out of a large library.

      As far as this change goes, it doesn't really need to be handled in any particular way. They needed to keep it officially secret as a publicly traded company, but practically speaking I don't think they really cared. Ultimately the people most effected by it, ISV's, seem to have had some awareness ahead of time under NDA's (at least the bigger ones).

      The end users of macs, for the most part, won't even understand what this means, or care. As long as the next mac they buy runs the software they have now and works as well as what they have now, they won't care.
    • by GPS Pilot (3683) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:55PM (#12738833)
      C|Net's article created fantastic media buzz for Apple. I'm betting that ten times as many people followed today's keynote address than otherwise would have. This allowed Steve to explain the transition in the best possible light, to a huge audience. And I do think he did a great job of putting a positive spin on this, with the CEO of Intel and the cofounder of Wolfram Research as eloquent guest speakers.
  • Holy crap. (Score:4, Funny)

    by outZider (165286) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:56PM (#12737901) Homepage
    Man, it is cold in hell today. Brr. :P
    • Re:Holy crap. (Score:5, Informative)

      by cosmo7 (325616) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:01PM (#12738056) Homepage
      Here's Apple's press release [apple.com].

      Dispel any remaining doubts; we are now living in the evil mirror universe.
    • by zephc (225327) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:11PM (#12738235)
      Macs run on Intel and Microsoft uses PowerPC! What a country!
    • by Om (5281) * on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:18PM (#12738345)

      Think about it. We don't have a G5 Powerbook because we hear about the massive heat issues. Hell, just recently, I am having to take back my recently aquired G4 Powerbook because they are catching on bloody fire.

      Secondly, I understand that Adobe is not making Photoshop and their other products for the Mac *first*. They are going to the PC, and then the Mac.

      I mean, this quote says it all:

      "I stood up here two years ago and promised you 3.0 GHz. I think a lot of you would like a G5 in your PowerBook, and we haven't been able to deliver that to you," said Jobs. "But as we look ahead, and though we've got great products now, and great PowerPC products still to come, we can envision great products we want to build, and we can't envision how to build them with the current PowerPC roadmap,"

      So they go Intel. Who cares? Most of us are using Linux on x86, and we couldn't care less. The only thing that alarmed me was that they didn't choose AMD64, but thats just me. Hopefully, this will influence developers to port their stuff over to OS X now (which would benifit Linux indirectly imo). So hopefully we'll get a ton more games (yay!... games are a wasteland on the Mac) and apps because of this switch.

      Things are abotu to get interesting now. Its like Jobs saying, "OK, Gates... lets fight in your ring."

      ++Om
  • Um (Score:5, Funny)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:56PM (#12737910) Homepage Journal
    Are you sure [y/N]?
  • So here it is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:56PM (#12737924) Homepage Journal
    My prediction of when you'll be able to run Mac OS X on an x86 machine is still: never. Apple isn't a software company. They're a hardware company. Just because they're changing their processor does not mean you're going to be able to run it on your hardware.
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:57PM (#12737931) Homepage Journal
    Let's see, first I said, about 4 years ago, "There will be a color iPod soon." And everybody told me, "No way, that'd be stupid and pointless." The translation from Defensivegeek into English is, "I hope not, or I won't have the coolest, latest toy any more to lord over my friends!"

    I also have been agreeing with the industry analysts who said Apple would be running on Intel chips before long, and I've been vindicated.

    Now, if my prediction that Microsoft will have a Linux or other UNIX-like kernel in Windows by 2015 holds up I'll consider myself the Nostradomus of IT.

  • by Danathar (267989) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:58PM (#12737957) Journal
    The rumors are true: Intel will be inside

    Jobs talked about the major transitions in the Mac's life -- starting from the Mac's Motorola 68000-series processor to PowerPC. "The PowerPC set Apple up fro the next decade. It was a good move," he said.

    "The second transition was even better -- the transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X that we just did," he continued. "This was a brain transplant. And even though these operating systems (9 and x) vary only by one in name, they are very different, and this has set Apple up for the next 20 years."

    As the Intel logo lowered on the stage screen, Jobs said, "We are going to make the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors, and we are going to do it for you now, and for our customers next year. Why? Because we want to be making the best computer for our customers looking forward."

    "I stood up here two years ago and promised you 3.0 GHz. I think a lot of you would like a G5 in your PowerBook, and we haven't been able to deliver that to you," said Jobs. "But as we look ahead, and though we've got great products now, and great PowerPC products still to come, we can envision great products we want to build, and we can't envision how to build them with the current PowerPC roadmap," said Jobs.

    Intel processors provide more performance per watt than PowerPC processors do, said Jobs. "When we look at future roadmaps, mid-2006 and beyond, we see PoweRPC gives us 15 units of perfomance per watt, but Intel's roadmap gives us 70. And so this tells us what we have to do," he explained.

    Transition to Intel by 2007, and yes, Marklar exists

    "Starting next year, we will introduce Macs with Intel processors," said Jobs. "This time next year, we plan to ship Macs with Intel processors. In two years, our plan is that the transition will be mostly complete, and will be complete by end of 2007."

    Jobs then confirmed a long-held belief that Apple was working on an Intel-compatible version of Mac OS X that some have termed "Marklar."

    Mac OS X has been "leading a secret double life" for the past five years, said Jobs. "So today for the first time, I can confirm the rumors that every release of Mac OS X has been compiled for PowerPC and Intel. This has been going on for the last five years."

    Jobs demonstrated a version of Mac OS X running on a 3.6GHz Pentium 4-processor equipped system, running a build of Mac OS X v10.4.1. He showed Dashboard widgets, Spotlight, iCal, Apple's Mail, Safari and iPhoto all working on the Intel-based system.

    Apple needs developers' help to complete the transition

    "We are very far along on this, but we're not done," said Jobs. "Which is why we're going to put it in your hands very soon, so you can help us finish it."

    Widget, scripts and Java applications should work in the new environment without any conversion, said Jobs. Cocoa-based applications will require "a few minor tweaks and a recompile." Carbon-based applications require "a few more tweaks," recompiling, and "they'll work," said Jobs. And projects built using Metrowerks' CodeWarrior need to be moved to Xcode.

    The future of Mac OS X development is moving to Xcode, said Jobs. Of Apple's top 100 developers, more than half -- 56 percent -- are already using Xcode, and 25 percent are in the process of switching to Xcode. "Less than 20 percent are not on board yet. Now is a good time to get on board," said Jobs.

    A new build of Xcode, version 2.1, is being released today. This new release enables developers to specify PowerPC or Intel architectures. "... and you're going to build what's called a universal binary. It contains all the bits for both architectures," said Jobs. "One binary, works on both PowerPC and Intel architecture. So you can ship one CD that supports both processors."

    "This is nothing like Carbonizing"

    Many developers reading this news may be thinking that they'll have to go through the same woes they had to in order to get their Mac OS 9 applications "Carbonized" to run on
    • by Danathar (267989) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:05PM (#12738126) Journal
      Continued paste from Macworld...

      Rosetta keeps old apps running

      Jobs also discussed a new technology called Rosetta, that he described as "a dynamic binary translator." It runs existing PowerPC applications on the Intel platform, he said. Jobs described Rosetta as "lightweight," and said "it's nothing like Classic."

      Jobs demonstrated Rosetta by running Microsoft Office applications, Quicken and Photoshop CS 2 -- all unmodified PowerPC-binary versions, unlike Mathematica -- on the new Intel-based hardware.

      "So that is Rosetta, Jobs concluded. "These PowerPC apps just run. And that's what we're going to have for our users, because every app isn't going to be there for our users on day one."

      Microsoft's Roz Ho and Adobe's Bruce Chizen both took the stage to reaffirm their commitment to the Macintosh platform. Ho said that Microsoft has been "working with Apple for some time" to create future versions of Office using Apple's Xcode tools, and will create universal binaries accordingly." Chizen called Apple's decision to move to Intel "great," and gently chided Steve Jobs: "What took you so long?"
  • IBM Screwjob (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@lGIRAFFE ... minus herbivore> on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:58PM (#12737961) Homepage
    I think that IBM happily supplying the PPC-based Xenon chip for Xbox 360, while being unable to deliver 3.0 GHz chips for Apple, was the slap in the face that finally caused them to jump.

    Now, the question is... what will the new platform be called? Certainly not PowerMac...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:58PM (#12737975)
    Somebody send this guy [slashdot.org] some Worcestershire sauce. I hear it goes well with felt.
  • Switching ends? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:58PM (#12737987)
    I wonder how they'll transparently handle all the endian issues? Every data file with binary integers in it will have to be converted. Arghhh!
  • by SeanTobin (138474) * <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `rtnuhdryb'> on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:59PM (#12738002)
    This page will refresh automatically every two minutes.
    PLEASE DO NOT OVERLOAD OUR SERVERS.
    D'oh! Sorry about that one.
  • by Quarters (18322) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:03PM (#12738097)
    I'm guessing that IBM/Motorolla told Apple that, due to the small # of Macintoshes made each year---as opposed to the # consoles manufactured, that they would be fulfilling Microsoft's, Sony's, and Nintendo's orders before Apples.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:04PM (#12738110) Homepage
    Now that Apple has announced that it is moved to Intel, who is going to buy a G5 now? I am sure as hell not. Apple just killed the sales of its hardware for the rest of the year. Also does this mean I will be able to buy a Dell PowerEdge 2850 running Mac OSX Server?
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:05PM (#12738133)
    ...did he say anything about a two-button mouse?
  • by MotownAvi (204916) <avi@NOsPaM.drissman.com> on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:06PM (#12738144) Homepage
    Watch the tool vendors scramble to catch up. Note that Metrowerks only recently sold its entire x86 compiler chain to an unnamed party to focus on PowerPC. Looks like Apple didn't keep them in the loop.

    This isn't good news for many developers using Codewarrior. Either build for a second-class processor, or switch over to a new IDE (whose quality is why many keep to CW). There's a third option there, but it's not very pretty.
  • by kompiluj (677438) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:08PM (#12738185)
    when Intel CEO Otellini said he would buy an apple [theregister.co.uk].
  • IBM forcing this? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 3770 (560838) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:10PM (#12738211) Homepage
    I can't help but think that Apple didn't want this move, but was forced by IBM.

    IBM might have said that they weren't going to spend any R&D on the G5/970 for the laptop for instance.

    And Apple was forced to take the plunge.

    And now they are desperately trying to make this sound as if it will be an advantage to the end user and that it is a great thing.

    But behind the scenes Steve Jobs is cursing IBM.
  • Oh this is so exciting.

    Over the years, I've made a ton of bets with Mac fans who swore up and down that Apple would never, ever switch to Intel processors.

    I am now owed several kegs of beer and some free fancy dinners. A couple people owe me a million bucks.

    Business strategy:

    1. Make wagers with Apple people.
    2. ...
    3. Profit! Steve Jobs will make the announcement for you.
  • Intel branding (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:14PM (#12738271)
    Will intel incorporate a tasteful logo on the new macs? Or can I peel that sticker off? Seriously, doesn't intel have some licensing agreement with computer manufacturers s.t. they have to put that sticker on? Or do they actually want the sticker? Is Apple's brand strong enough that Jobs can just say no to the Intel co-branding? Of course I didn't RTFA
  • by Jay Carlson (28733) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:17PM (#12738333)
    Although Apple clearly isn't becoming a software company the way NeXT did, the parallels to NeXT history are a little spooky.

    NeXT eventually threw in the towel on shipping 68000-based hardware. The transition from "black" NeXT hardware to "beige" PC x86 hardware pissed off a lot of early adopters.

    One of the pissed-off users remixed the original audio welcome mail into this [nyud.net]. They posted it to usenet with the readme:
    This is a sound file with SteveJobs and Khan. I do not see the two as mutually exclusive.


    I'm sure the mindless Apple fanboys are now going to find some new magic word besides "Altivec" to justify their purchases. Me, I'm just happy with this mini.
  • by The Mutant (167716) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:27PM (#12738488) Homepage
    Folks, you can argue the technical pros and cons back and forth until you're sick in the face, but one thing lept out at me from Steve Jobs' presentation :

    "Mac OS X has been "leading a secret double life" for the past five years, said Jobs. "So today for the first time, I can confirm the rumors that every release of Mac OS X has been compiled for PowerPC and Intel. This has been going on for the last five years."

    Damn. This is forward looking, hedge all your bets corporate Management. World class Management.

    I don't know if this thing will succeed or fail, but just parsing that statement above shows me that Jobs and Apple Computer will continue to evaluate all possible options at all possible times.

    This is one well run company.
  • by illtron (722358) on Monday June 06, 2005 @03:06PM (#12738964) Homepage Journal
    I've figured it out. You may be wondering what the hell Apple's reasoning is when IBM has some very promising things in the pipeline. Well I know. The MHz myth is now dead. Even if Macs could be X% faster than PCs by using IBM chips, it's a gamble. If Apple is ahead, eventually they'll be behind, and the cycle will repeat itself. The whole argument is now a moot point. Macs will always be THE SAME SPEED as PCs (give or take a small bit at any given time) from now on. If IBM pulls out ahead in the speed race, it won't matter, because Windows PCs don't use IBM chips, and they never will. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. A guaranteed tie is better than gambling on a possible loss or a very, very minor win at best. There's also a secondary benefit: If the hardware business becomes unprofitable, Apple can always become a software company at a moment's notice. And it looks like Apple's going to make this easy enough for both end users and developers. I see all of this as good news and welcome our new Intel overlords.
    • by tesmako (602075) on Monday June 06, 2005 @06:00PM (#12740503) Homepage
      There are real problems with the way IBM is going with the PPC also however. They are going with much simpler in-order cores plus a whole bunch of vector units. The problem with this is that while you can get great performance with few transistors with code specially tuned for the chip you will get abysmal performance if the code is not tuned.

      Sure we have lived with in-order cores before (out-of-order was introduced to the PC with the Pentium Pro), but it is troublesome, we are back to the compiler having to do the heavy lifting trying to put together the ideal instruction stream. It is actually a lot worse than it seems when I compare it with the original pentium, with its shallow pipeline and the relativly speaking lower memory latency of those days you could get away with a lot more without trashing performance.

      Even if Apple through some magic manages to generate decent code for the in-order primary core (and it is not unlikely that they'd have to dump GCC since lots of hard-to-merge work would have to be done, and then they would lose the advantage of having a freely redistributable compiler) they will still be stumped on the vector units. Sure some of the heavier apps manage to make good use of Altivec, but that is a lot easier than trying to keep 8-16 vector units filled at the same time. Basicly only scientific and various extremely expensive pro applications would ever manage to invest the effort needed to actually manage to tap much of the power of the vector units (part because vectorization is hard, but also importantly because there are so many units to fill).

      This all adds up to the Cell (and IBM's new in-order cores without the vector units) being quite unsuitable for any market where the applications are not written very specifically targeting the chip. It works for consoles since development is hardware-specific there, but putting out a computer with the Cell and expecting it to work out on peoples desktops is not in any way a good idea.

  • by Knytefall (7348) on Monday June 06, 2005 @04:38PM (#12739667)
    Apple posted Intel Universal Binary [apple.com] documentation to their website. It's interesting, and everyone should read it. Notable is a caveat that OpenFirmware is going away. That seems to point towards more standard hardwware.

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