Monday, June 06, 2005

Steve Jobs has confirmed the switch to Intel

Steve Jobs has now officially confirmed the switch to Intel. They are in for the long term, and he states that they will start in 2006 with Intel based machines, with most Macs on Intel by 2007. Xcode 2 will be able to compile fat binaries capable of running on both PPC and x86 machines, and Mathematica was just compiled this way last week.

For applications which cannot be recompiled this way, Apple will leverage "Rosetta" which will translate PPC binaries on the fly to function on x86 machines.

I am truly shocked.

[Update 2005-06-06]

Both Adobe and Microsoft have committed to creating universal x86 and PPC Mac OS X binaries for their apps. Steve Jobs also demonstrated Adobe Photoshop CS2 running under Rosetta with no modification whatsoever. And Wolfram Research states it took only 2 hours of work, including modifying just 20 lines of code, to port Mathematica 5 to Mac OS X x86.

Here is Apple's press release:
Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006

WWDC 2005, SAN FRANCISCO—June 6, 2005—At its Worldwide Developer Conference today, Apple® announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh® computers using Intel® microprocessors by this time next year, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a version of its critically acclaimed operating system, Mac OS® X Tiger, running on an Intel-based Mac® to the over 3,800 developers attending CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple’s software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years.”

“We are thrilled to have the world’s most innovative personal computer company as a customer,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. “Apple helped found the PC industry and throughout the years has been known for fresh ideas and new approaches. We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies, and to collaborating on new initiatives, to help Apple continue to deliver innovative products for years to come.”

“We plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit. “We have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform.”

“We think this is a really smart move on Apple’s part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe.

The Developer Transition Kit is available starting today for $999 to all Apple Developer Connection Select and Premier members. Further information for Apple Developer Connection members is available at Intel plans to provide industry leading development tools support for Apple later this year, including the Intel C/C++ Compiler for Apple, Intel Fortran Compiler for Apple, Intel Math Kernel Libraries for Apple and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives for Apple.
What's this world coming to? Microsoft is on PowerPC with the Xbox 360, and Apple is on x86 with Macs. Whatever the case, I look forward to a new PowerBook Pentium M, in 2006.


Anonymous said...


What does the Intel processor offer over IBMs cell processors? From what I understand, the Cell processor kicks ass for multimedia purposes. Wouldn't this better suit Apple's needs?

I sure as hell hope this doesn't blow up in Apple's face, especially if IBM starts producing much faster PPC-based chips.

Sworkhard said...

Powerconsumption is where intel processers have a huge advantage (think Pentium M) and since IBM has not been able to deliver a mobile version of the G5, Apple has little choice but to go elsewhere for its laptop cpus.

Anonymous said...

With the huge slap in the face given to the Altivec crowd -and very few being inclined to waste time on Cocoa development, the handwriting is on the wall.

Eug said...

1) I'm no engineer, but it seemed clear that Cell was not an appropriate CPU choice for general purpose computing. Perhaps something based of PPE and multi-core would have worked, but Apple obviously chose a different route.

2) Yes, I think it's all about the performance per watt of upcoming MOBILE Intel CPUs. While many have wondered about AMD, AMD simply didn't have everything in place for Apple, especially the mobile CPUs (as well as compilers, etc.) I'm looking forward to Yonah in 2006.

3) You know, it IS a slap in the face to Altivec. However, it could be argued that Apple was really the big proponent for Altivec, and still Altivec had little traction overall. So Apple finally said forget it. People will complain about SSE3, but at least it works, the clock speeds are high, and there are a lot more SSE programmers out there than Altivec coders. Not to mention that Intel has excellent autovectorizing compilers which are coming to OS X. (IBM's autovectorizing XL compilers never materialized.)