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Apple Businesses

Another Theory on Apple's Move To Intel 316

Posted by Zonk
from the got-to-love-theories dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Why did Apple really switch to Intel? Larry Loeb thinks that it has everything to do with the Trusted Computing Group's TNC (Trusted Network Connect)." From the article: "The Trusted Computer Group is a multivendor association that grew out of Microsoft's pre-emptive Trusted Computing Platform effort. Microsoft realized it couldn't force this down the manufacturers' throats, so it formed the TCG to give it the veneer of respectability and 'open standards.'"
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Another Theory on Apple's Move To Intel

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  • by shmlco (594907) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:34PM (#13083718) Homepage
    Or for the slightly less paranoid... Cringely [pbs.org].

    Personally, I think the Cringe is on target, as the "iFlicks" version of iTunes has been on the radar for years now.

    Of course, being on /., I suppose we have to support the conspiracy theorists...

  • Re:Compare (Score:5, Informative)

    by FLAGGR (800770) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:39PM (#13083747)
    osx already runs on x86, has for years.
  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:3, Informative)

    by goMac2500 (741295) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:54PM (#13083811)
    Huh? Plenty of applications sync iTunes to PocketPC, and they haven't been sued. I can think of Mark/Space right off the top of my head. They're well back by both Palm and Apple.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:55PM (#13083821) Homepage Journal

    From http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine/standards /st01041.pdf [intel.com]:

    TCG is currently comprised of a variety of vendors, including PC platform, operating system, and TPM vendors, with the board of directors consisting of representatives from Intel, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Sony, Sun Microsystems, Seagate, Verisign, and AMD. TPM vendors include Atmel, Infineon, National Semiconductor, and STMicroelectronics. Until now, TCG has focused on specifying a TPM for the PC.
    Over four million PCs have been shipped with version 1.1 TPMs installed, mostly by IBM and HP. However, Intel has also begun delivering this technology and has just released the Intel® D865GRH Desktop Board, which has a version 1.1 TPM and ships with a software suite that provides better security for users' personal information. Version 1.2 of the TPM specification was recently released, and TPMs conforming to the new specification are under development.
    Now that TPM definition for the PC platform has evolved, the TCG is expanding its membership and beginning to define TPMs for cell phones, handhelds, and servers--continuing to work toward the vision where all devices can talk to one another and communicate their trust state. Work is also moving forward on defining protocols necessary for communicating and interpreting the trust state.

    In other words, there are other vendors producing TPM silicon. Intel is one of the late-comers for sample hardware, not the sole driving vendor that Larry Loeb seems to think they are.

    I'd file Larry's theory under "Tinfoil/Paranoia."

  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:3, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:58PM (#13083832) Journal
    Reference to some incidents [macobserver.com] I referred to.
  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:2, Informative)

    by kponto (821962) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:05PM (#13083865) Homepage
    But then explain to me why Apple has been so against 3rd party extenders to iTunes. For example, try to get your Pocket PC with iTunes. Until recently, you haven't been able to. Why? Companies that provide the apps get sued by Apple. How does this fit the "protect the musicians" model? It doesn't.

    The reason that 3rd party plugs aren't allowed in iTunes is because they would be used to circumvent the measures that Apple has taken to apease the labels, and I think we can all agree that if they were allowed, that's exactly what most of them would do. Apple originally was against a DRM scheme for the iPod and iTMS. If they weren't, I highly doubt it would be as easy as it is to pull songs off an iPod, or that the restrictions on DRM'd iTMS files would be so lax.

    I think DRM goes against what Apple stands for, and not because Apple is a "paragon of virtue". It has nothing to do with high moral ground. Everything Apple does, everything it designs, is all based around a seamless and smooth user experience. All DRM does is hamper that experience. You'll notice that there's no serial number/authorization/challenge-response for OS X. There's no extreme verification for any of their other software. Why? Because it sucks from a users standpoint. What they loose in piracy, they more than make up for in people choosing Apple because it lacks these hassles.

    That, and they want to sell iPods... but chances are you want to buy one, so it all works out.

    Of course, that said, I still won't buy any music with DRM, fanboy or not.

  • by oberondarksoul (723118) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:23PM (#13083925) Homepage
    Remember: Apple haven't 'switched' to using BIOS yet. While the official line is that Mactels won't be using Open Firmware, they've yet to tell us what they will be using. Certainly, the Developer Preview Macs are BIOS-based, but I would expect some serious changes to come.
  • by MrLint (519792) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:26PM (#13083942) Journal
    Agreed. However that would mean that if its not BIOS based then those dev boxes are singularly useless in developing HW drivers.
  • by (startx) (37027) <slashdot AT unspunproductions DOT com> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:38PM (#13083998) Journal
    It was all about laptops. Just before the merger was announced, a study was released showing that something like 40% of new PC purchases were laptops, rather than desktops. For Apple, the ratio is probably even more heavily-skewed in favor of portables.

    Actually, according to their quarterly earning's report [thinksecret.com], Apple laptops were 42% of there Mac sales, so just about even with your quoted industry average. Now, I agree laptops are a huge reason for Apple jumping ship to Intel, and they're probably hoping that percentage keeps going up.
  • by rob.wolfe (875104) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:58PM (#13084078) Homepage
    At the time I had not completed my B.Sc., but had earned an A.A. with a concentration in Engineering from Tyler Junior College. Frankly, given the courses that Miss Shields took my lowly A.A. was a vastly superior degree. ... I do recall that it totally lacked any courses in mathematics, and had but one or two courses in the natural sciences. ...Miss Shields had *a* descriptive astronomy course. What her transcript reveled was a total lack of any rigorous course work on the part of Miss Shields while she was at Princeton.

    Actually all that it revealed is that she wasn't a science/engineering student.

    I have a Comp.Sci degree but along the way I took a great many "arts" courses and it is certainly not correct to say that my engineering courses were any more difficult than some of the 4th year Philosophy courses I took. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because English/Economics/whatever were easy for you in high school or even as freshman courses in university it means that the disciplines that they are introductions to are easy to master.

  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:3, Informative)

    by vought (160908) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:31PM (#13084212)
    as iPod fever dies off.

    Apple sold more iPods during the last quarter than ever.

    6.1 million iPods in three months.

    I'm glad you have a PowerBook, and while you may not be trolling, it would be prudent to check your facts next time.

  • by moofharmacrod (526683) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:05PM (#13084351) Homepage
    When you say ''Laptops account for MORE THAN HALF of apple computer sales,'' you are in error. If you were to look at Apple's most recent financial release here [apple.com] (note: PDF), you would see that laptops, described here as "portables" are outpaced by desktops in both unit sales AND revenue, by a fair amount. This is not to say you aren't necessarily right about Apple's motivation, just that you have made a mistake.
  • TFA is BS (Score:4, Informative)

    by cyberformer (257332) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @10:28PM (#13084855)
    Trusted computing is (mostly) bad, as has been discussed many times on Slashdot, but TFA makes so many mistakes that his whole argument is BS. Among them:
    • He gets the basic acronyms wrong: The chip is called a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), not "Trusted Computer Module". I know that seems like a minor nitpick, but if he can't even get the name of the technology right (despite working for a magazine that I assume has copy-editors and perhaps even fact-checkers or access to Google), what else has he got wrong?

    • Intel isn't the only manufacturer of TPMs (or TCMs as he calls them). Right now, it doesn't officially* make them at all, though several other companies do. Intel has a long-term plan to build the TPM into the CPU, but so do AMD and others. (*: I say officially because many people suspect that Intel might already be building TPMs into CPUs and not enabling them, a bit like it did with x86-64. But that's still speculation, and it doesn't make a lot of difference.)

    • The Trusted Network Connect spec that he talks about is only one of the TPM's applications, and not the most important. Depending on who you believe, it was designed for DRM or for encryption (most likely the former).

    • Trusted Network Connect isn't a Microsoft inititative. Like most standards, MS would prefer not to use it, and so is developing a proprietary system ("NAP") instead. That's still vaporware, of course (supposdely built into Longhorn).

    This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be extremely concerned about TNC and its proprietary counterparts. (As well as NAP, there's a Cisco one called "NAC", which isn't entirely vaporware.) The Bush administration has even suggested making something like it mandatory for everyone who wants to access the Internet, which would scare me a lot if I thought the technology would actually work. But none of that has anynthing to do with Apple using Intel.
  • by TitanBL (637189) <brandon@tCOWitan ... minus herbivore> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @11:46PM (#13085088)
    Larry Loeb is just recylcling this article [wired.com]. which I came across the day the Intel switch was announced.

    "Apple -- or rather, Hollywood -- wants the Pentium D to secure an online movie store (iFlicks if you will), that will allow consumers to buy or rent new movies on demand, over the internet.

    According to News.com, the Intel transition will occur first in the summer with the Mac mini, which I'll bet will become a mini-Tivo-cum-home-server.

    Hooked to the internet, it will allow movies to be ordered and stored, and if this News.com piece is correct, loaded onto the video iPod that's in the works.

    Intel's DRM scheme has been kept under wraps -- to prevent giving clues to crackers -- but the company has said it will allow content to be moved around a home network, and onto suitably-equipped portable devices.

    And that's why the whole Mac platform has to shift to Intel. Consumers will want to move content from one device to another -- or one computer to another -- and Intel's DRM scheme will keep it all nicely locked down."


    I don't think this was the SOLE reason for Apple's decision. but I bet it was the deciding factor. Bottom line is that the success of the iPod has influenced Apple's focus. Now a majority of people associate Apple with iPod and iTunes not OS X or PCs. They pretty much own the portable music player market and will try to extend this to video as well,.. blah blah blah... Anyways, The real question is whether they will be able to use this newfound brand awareness coupled with cheaper systems to increase their share of the PC market. Maybe, just maybe, they can generate enough revenue selling media devices and start licensing OS X to run on non-Apple hardware. Would you like your new Dell with OS X or Windows? Ha. Its not unimaginable anymore.
  • Re:Trusted computing (Score:3, Informative)

    by steve_bryan (2671) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @12:54AM (#13085287)
    Why does Apple sue folks who port iTunes over to Pocket PC?

    You keep repeating this as though you have something very specific in mind. Would you mind sharing it with the rest of us so we'll also know what you are talking about? I don't think anyone else can make sense of what you might mean when you use the phrase: port iTunes over to PocketPC. The product iTunes is an application that Apple created (well at least the PC version of it). They have the source code for it. I don't see how anyone would be in a position to port it to anything else besides Apple since no one else has the design/source code.

    Do you mean someone took the design, tried to create a PocketPC version based on that visible design and Apple tried to supress that product?
  • Re:You serious??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zo0ok (209803) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:58AM (#13085605) Homepage
    Also, Apple started OSX x86-development before 2000, before the release of OSX 10.0. That is, long before Microsofts trustworthy computing initiative.

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