Today’s much anticipated MacWorld keynote brought Intel Macs – and OSx86 – to the masses. Apple today released the Intel-based iMac and newly christened MacBook Pro, along with a slew of universal products. iLife, iWork, iTunes and Quicktime will all run on the new Mactels. While many small time application developers have been porting their software since the transition announcement last year, larger software houses such as Microsoft and Adobe promise to have their applications ready soon. Apple’s pro apps, such as Final Cut, will be available by March.
Questions and Answers
Announcing the Intel Macs in January rather than June was a strategic wager. Unless Apple released the right products at the right time, some models would languish with buyers waiting for the new models to come.
This may still occur, but Apple covered both the desktop and portable markets with today’s announcement, and in doing so showed the world that they are fully committed to Intel transition. According to Steve’s keynote, all of Apple’s models will be transitioning to Intel chips by the end of the year.
The keynote answered many questions, such as how Apple would roll out Intel-native software and if the introduction of the Mactels would be accompanied by full redesigns. There are still many things we do not know, however. It remains to be seen how Apple will lock OS X to their own hardware, whether by a TPM chip similar to those found in the Developer Transition Kits or by some other means.
And although Steve promised nothing but a smooth transition to the Intel hardware, we must wait a few months to see if Apple has ironed out the wrinkles OSx86 watchers have seen for months. Finally, will the Intel transition mean greater interoperability with PC hardware, such as the ATI Radeon X1600 with which it ships?
The Meaning of It All
There are instants in life – never more than a few seconds – that cause me to reflect, “This… this is a moment in which things are changing. This is a landmark event.” Time will prove me wrong or right, but I can’t shake the feeling that Steve Jobs’ keynote at MacWorld 2006 will be one of those moments for the computing industry.
That’s a pretty grand statement – one almost worthy of Steve himself – but I think it has merit. Steve is a top-notch presenter and even the most aware among us struggle to keep the Reality Distortion Field in check. But Jobs’ presentation today does represent a turning point in modern computing: within a year, almost every major manufacturer will be building with x86 chips. In hardware, Apple and Dell will be almost identical. It is the philosophy of the company – and the devotion of its followers – that will separate the Apples from the Gateways of the industry.
Apple has gained much from its adoption of Intel chips – faster speeds, new technologies, etc. But it has also placed itself in a vulnerable position. It must now make the case that the Mac experience is more than just the sum of its processors and hard drives; there must be something unique about owning and using a Mac. Its processors, graphics cards, and OEM parts will be the same as their competitors – competitors such as Dell that excel at undercutting the prices of their adversaries.
Companies like Dell, however, are also forced to take note of Apple’s announcement. Consumers and stockholders will pressure PC makers with questions (be they subconscious or verbal) such as, “If Apple can build a better computer with the same parts, why can’t you?” Indeed, in the hours since the announcement, value comparisons between Apple, IBM, and Dell have already begun in our forum – comparisons unlike those we’ve seen before.
Commitments and Concerns
Contrary to what some have prophesied, Apple revealed today that they would not sacrifice the Mac on the altar of the iPod. They are committed to making computers that are more reliable and more beautiful than most PC makers. Yet the similarity of hardware forces us to ask - what now makes a Mac a Mac? Is the beauty case-deep or does it represent a more holistic philosophy of engineering? These are heady questions whose answers will be the Apple’s guiding light in the next few years.
It seems that today saw more than the introduction of two new Mac models – we saw the simultaneous creation of new opportunities and new concerns for the company from Cupertino that could. It would be hyperbole to say that today marks the beginning of Apple’s market takeover or a new revolution in the Valley. But it could be that with fresh hopes and fears, we’ve just witnessed the birth of a new Apple.
During his Keynote address today, El Steve announced that Apple's first Intel based computers will be the iMac and the MacBook Pro, although the entire product line will be making the transition this year (!). The iMac will be based on a dual core processor (presumably Yonah) and will be equipped with iLife 06 and iWork 06 universal binaries from the start. Pro apps will be universal by March. The software Steve demoed was running on an Intel Mac – did you expect any less? The new iMacs will be shipping today in 17" and 20" models.
Microsoft is working on porting Office to Intel and Steve noted that they’ve worked hard to make sure that Office ran well under Rosetta. Quark unibin will be released today. On Photoshop, Steve said, “The Performance of Photoshop in Rosetta isn't going to be powerful enough for a professional ... it's fast enough for those of us who use it occasionally.”
OS X 10.4.4 will also be released today with some new widgets. A new iLife with “photocasting” is out this morning as well.
We’ll have full analysis of this news later today (after I watch the keynote!). Thanks to MacRumors and engadget for their live coverage of the news.
There has been a lot of Intel news that’s – are you ready for it – “leaping ahead” of the other news today. Sorry, couldn't resist with the new slogan and all. First comes news from The Register letting us know that...
Intel has started shipping its 65nm dual-core mobile Pentium processor, Yonah, along with Centrino bundles based on the new processor. As expected, the chips use Intel's new [incredibly confusing] model-numbering scheme. The T2600, T2500, T2400 and T2300 are dual-core parts - hence the '2' - and are joined by one single-core chip, the T1300. The five processors are clocked at 2.16GHz, 2GHz, 1.83GHz, 1.66GHz and 1.66GHz respectively. Intel has also launched a pair of low-voltage dual-core Yonahs, the L2400 and L2300, clocked at 1.66GHz and 1.5GHz respectively.
DigiTimes reminds us that “Intel is scheduled to launch its “Viiv” consumer PC platform at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in the US on January 9…” and that “The first batch of Viiv PCs, however, will not feature built-in digital media adaptor (DMA) capability.” Viiv may be a candidate for a rumored upcoming Intel-based Mac media center.
Finally, NotebookReview gives us the specs of an upcoming Acer Yonah-based laptop:
The Acer TravelMate 8200 will be announced this week, this is a new Intel dual core processor based notebook with a 15.4" widescreen. The TravelMate 8200 will have an Intel Core Duo 2.0GHz processor, carbon fiber cover (like the Ferrari), fast GDDR3 memory, an ATI X1600 512MB graphics card and a built-in camera 1.3MP camera with a unique 225-degree swivel ability. Yeah, it's hot.
Will Apple try to beat Acer to market with the first production Yonah laptop? Should we expect anything from MacWorld at all? If they are planning on having a first-to-market surprise, they should plan to act soon. As in, very soon. As in, maybe within a week or so...
Ah, more rumors - it's about time. What's up with no one talking about Intel and OS X for the past few weeks? Seriously, folks.
Anyway, AppleInsider has an article up in which they claim that "sources" have indicated to them that Apple has been working on an Intel Power Mac for several months now.
"In a move that may surprise some Apple watchers, reliable sources tell AppleInsider the Mac maker has contracted the design duties for its next-generation Power Mac motherboard over to industry heavyweight Intel Corp.
Specifically, sources said Intel's facilities in Oregon picked up the project in late-October after Apple sought the chip maker's help in meeting adlines associated with its accelerated transition from PowerPC processors to Intel chips."
There are a few ways that we can take this news. It could reinforce the rumor that Apple's pro lines will be the last to adopt the new processors, but mainly because development started late. But why wait until October? If it's true that we should expect some x86 goodness in a few days, how long has Apple really been working on this transition?
Get ready folks - as the month of December comes to close, plan to be delgued with analyst predictions and juicy rumors about the Intel Macs that will (maybe) be introduced at MacWorld. We'll give you our take in a week or so.
First up, the upcoming 10.4.4. release. As AppleInsider notes, Apple ususally introduces updates right before they leave for Christmas break, and this year is no exception.
Sources and reports already present on the Internet say Apple this week released to developers build 8G17 of Mac OS X 10.4.4 Update -- a forthcoming maintenance release to the company's Tiger operating system.
Previous reports indicate that a later milestone of Mac OS X 10.4.4 may be the first version of Tiger to ship on Intel-based Mac systems. The release is also rumored to deliver fixes for AirPort and Bluetooth wireless access, Spotlight indexing and searching, and RAW camera support.
RAW support to fix some of the problems with Aperture? It's wouldn't surprise me. Also making the rumor rounds over the past few days is this one from MacRumors (and others) about Apple's plan to resurrect Yellow Box as "Dharma" to allow cocoa apps to run on Windows.
A first time poster to MacGeneration (French) forums posted the contents of an email, which was originally sent to another website.
The writer claims that Apple is reviving "Yellow Box for Windows" -- a development environment which promised Mac OS X developers the ability to develop and then deploy of both Mac OS X and Windows environments. The original plans for Yellow Box were promised during early developer sessions by Apple, but later killed.
The letter claims that the project has been relaunched internally under the name "Dharma". Resultant applications will be true "Universal Binaries", allowing developers to released their applications under the Windows environment also.
Finally, don't miss this very interesting interview with Steve Wozniak. Of special note, the father of Apple talks about running OS X on non-Apple hardware.
Apple has been very adamant and has stuck by their guns for a long, long time and they put everything at risk in the company many times to basically say that we're going to be a proprietary operating system and you're going to have to buy our hardware to run it. Apple has treated itself more like a hardware company than a software company, even though it really is the Macintosh operating system that makes it different.
While we knew that Steve Jobs has been committed to maintaining a cross-platform OS X since its inception, an interview with Michel Mayer, CEO of Freescale Semiconductor, gives some interesting context to Apple’s switch to Intel. From the interview:
Weren't you there during the discussions when IBM convinced Apple to adopt the G5?
Mayer: In my previous job, I ran IBM's semiconductor business. So I've seen both sides of the Apple story, because I sold the G5 to Steve (Jobs) the first time he wanted to move to Intel.
Five years ago?
Mayer: Yeah, that's about right. So I sold the G5. First I told IBM that we needed to do it, and then I sold it to Apple that the G5 was good and it was going to be the follow-on of the PowerPC road map for the desktop. It worked pretty well. And then IBM decided not to take the G5 into the laptop and decided to really focus its chip business on the game consoles.
The entirety of the Mac World is gearing up for next month’s, well, MacWorld. Everyone has a different opinion about what they’ll find there. Ars tries to quell expectations of an Intel Apple DVR (and does a pretty good job), ZDNet works to squash Apple rumors, AppleMatters chimes in with predictions, and the Taiwanese tell us to (maybe) wait until June. But where’s the fun in that?
What’s great about Mac rumors, as noted in our last article, is that so many sites quote other sites that rumors become near-fact overnight. Having said that, I firmly believe that we’ll see something based on Intel at this year’s MacWorld – it would have the element of surprise that Steve loves. “Surprise” in the “oh, we thought you said it would be June” not in the “OMG!!!11!! Teh Steve! Aha! We heard rumors about this…”
Let us know! What do you think Apple will do come early January? Will it be an Intel notebook, Mini, or are you holding out for – gasp – a Tablet? Or something even greater?
Apple has updated its Developer Transition Center with the Second Edition of the Universal Binary Programming Guidelines, Core Endian Reference, and a guide for Moving Your Project from CodeWarrior to Xcode. Also fairly new: The Transition to Intel-based Macintoshes: An Introduction for Testing and QA Engineers and Universal Binary Programming Guidelines: Rosetta. ...MacWorld has an article called Mac Games: What to look for in 2006, with previews of several games coming next year. Can we expect more or fewer games due the Intel transition?
As faithful readers, we appreciate the fine way in which you bring us the latest rumors of all things Apple. However, it has come to our attention that you used our story about Rosetta improvements and a iTunes universal binary in an article of your own without citing your sources, one of the first rules of journalism. Now, perhaps there is another OSx86 news site somewhere that reported on these two items apart from us. I am not aware of such a site. But if this is case, please tell us so.
The reason for our concern? Well, in a wonderful example of the art of spreading rumors, Mac Rumors used your article to "corroborate" a story in which they had previously referenced our original story. Essentially, they used your article about our story… to confirm our story.
It is for reasons such as this that Mac rumor sites such as your own are seen as lacking credibility by many – we can’t have an “infinite loop” of stories confirming each other without first confirming the original information. You normally do an excellent job at reporting and most Mac users appreciate your efforts. Next time, just give credit where credit is due, and problems such as this can be avoided.
I just hope another site will confirm this story for me.
AnandTech has a first look at "Yonah," Intel's successor to the “Dothan” Pentium M and the processor rumored to be Apple’s first choice for next year’s Intel Macs. It seems that the processor is a large improvement over its predecessor in many ways, although it’s still behind AMD’s dual core offerings in terms of power.
From the article:
Although we didn't consider it as such here today, Yonah will be quite impressive on notebooks. The thought of having such a cool running dual core processor in a notebook is honestly amazing, and the performance difference (especially for multitaskers) over what we have today will be significant.
As a desktop contender, Yonah is a bit of a mixed bag. While its performance in content creation applications has definitely improved over the single core Dothan, it still falls behind the Athlon 64 X2 in a handful of areas. Intel still needs to improve their video encoding and gaming performance, but it looks like we may have to wait for Conroe and Merom for that.
This is very interesting news, especially considering yesterday’s rumor about an Intel based Mac PVR. If Yonah truly is slated for that Mac Mini Media Mega Monstrosity (there are so many alliterative options…), will it have enough horsepower for the multimedia aspects of the machine?
It seems clear that Yonah is a perfect fit for the other rumored Intel Macs in January, namely the iBook, Powerbook, iMac, PowerMac… oh, wait, we’ve heard rumors about all of them. If we believe the iBook/Powerbook story, it seems that Yonah will be the kind of low-watt, high-performance processor Steve talked about at WWDC 2005.
It seems that time (well, actually, just a little over a month) will tell.
Just a note that the 945G chipset (and similar variants) seems to be the intro platform, so if you're making a test box now, Dual Core+SSE3+NX+PAE+945(or similar) is your safest best). Also nice that the CPU seems as fast as a dual core 3.0GHz Pentium-D 830 even though it is just 2GHz, and is comparable to Athlon 64 models (most of the time, not in all tests). And, of course, it has the lowest power consumption of the CPUs tested, which makes it look nice for laptops (It IS a mobile CPU after all...)
But I don't know how some of that media performance will impact the "Kaleidoscope" product...perhaps its more than enough for that function, but Merom and Conroe are going to be better for media.