Thursday, June 30, 2005

IBM talks about the mobile G5, and of future Macs

In response to Apple's announced plans to switch to Intel, IBM has issued some statements to eWeek about its PowerPC lines and Apple.

Not surprisingly, IBM counters Apple's claims of Intel's superiority in terms of the power efficiency of future CPUs:
"Apple positioned it that way in the public," Adkins said in an interview with But "Obviously I have a different point of view, because there's nothing about power architecture that limits you in any way in terms of power management or power efficiency."
IBM also confirms that they were working on a mobile G5:
"They had Freescale primarily for the low-end and mobile solutions, and they really had IBM focus more on PowerBook, xServe and iMac. That's where we collaborated deeply with Apple," Adkins said.


Intel, as Adkins sees it, won out mainly based on its mobile chip technology and the way Intel chips fit into Apple's software planes, even though he maintains that IBM has the capability to deliver a product such as a mobile PowerPC 970 chip.
At this point I would be surprised to see a mobile G5 in a Mac. However, if Apple does release a G5 PowerBook, I'd consider buying it. If IBM can get its power utilization under control, it could be a reasonable chip for a laptop (at least in 2005).

In addition, IBM goes on to state:
"We still have a number of products we're doing with them," Adkins, who declined to elaborate on the exact ones, said. Thus "this is not a transition that's going to occur over night."
We already knew that Apple would continue to ship G5-based machines for quite some time, but the wording of this statement could suggest that the dual-core G5 970MP is still coming. The release of the 970MP by IBM and its utilization by Apple in Macs would make practical sense for both sides, especially in light of Apple's current transitions plans. Apple will not finish the transition until 2007, and still needs to release additional PowerPC desktops in the interim. IBM and Apple have a contract to work together until then, and the 970MP is the perfect fit.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Developers unimpressed by PS3 and Xbox 360 CPUs

AnandTech today posted (and then promptly removed) an article detailing how developers dislike the CPUs in the PS3 and Xbox 360.

The developers appear less than impressed with the raw performance of the PPE unit(s) in these CPUs. They also say the SPE units in the PS3's Cell CPU are difficult to use in game code.
Right now, from what we’ve heard, the real-world performance of the Xenon CPU is about twice that of the 733MHz processor in the first Xbox. Considering that this CPU is supposed to power the Xbox 360 for the next 4 - 5 years, it’s nothing short of disappointing. To put it in perspective, floating point multiplies are apparently 1/3 as fast on Xenon as on a Pentium 4.

The reason for the poor performance? The very narrow 2-issue in-order core also happens to be very deeply pipelined, apparently with a branch predictor that’s not the best in the business. In the end, you get what you pay for, and with such a small core, it’s no surprise that performance isn’t anywhere near the Athlon 64 or Pentium 4 class.

The Cell processor doesn’t get off the hook just because it only uses a single one of these horribly slow cores; the SPE array ends up being fairly useless in the majority of situations, making it little more than a waste of die space.
Even though much of the article should be considered speculation since it does not contain any hard data (partially because the hardware hasn't even been officially released yet), we should not be surprised that some developers feel this way, given the differences in the designs of these chips from current general purpose CPUs. Nonetheless, it's not surprising that Apple's engineers chose not to use Cell in the Mac.

[Update 2005-06-30]

We now have an explanation as to why the article was pulled: "PS3 article is pulled for now because Anand is worried about MS tracing his anonymous insider."

Apple's hints for the iTunes phone?

It seems Apple may also be giving us hints as to what the iTunes phone will look like. If you change your screen to 256 colours in the Displays preferences, and then look at the preferences for iTunes 4.9, the purple Podcast icon will have changed to what appears to be a white phone.

In addition, macprime has discovered an icon for a white phone in iTunes 4.9.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Motorola leaks picture of iTunes phone?

Motorola leaks picture of iTunes phone?
Michael Tatelman, Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Devices for Motorola North Asia, gave a presentation to Morgan Stanley analysts recently, which shows this picture of a phone with an Apple logo.

Given its aesthetics, one can only hope it's just a mock-up, and not the real iTunes phone.

[Update 2005-06-28]

AppleInsider, Engadget, and c|net all now seem to have picked up on this. For the record, I'd be surprised if the phone really did look like this. I'm more inclined to believe the Le Figaro article, which states the phone is a white one close to Motorola's E398.

[Update 2005-06-29]

MacDailyNews has posted more pictures that add support to the rumours that the iTunes phone is in fact similar to the one shown here.

[Update 2005-07-03]

I am happy to report that the iTunes phone is not black and green. As originally thought, the E790 is white and based off the E398.