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Behold, Firefox for Intel Cometh!

By Swad, in OSx86,

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Mozilla dev Josh Aas (I wonder how many times he was teased as a child about that last name) has announced that the official version of Firefox for Intel will be arriving this March. The holdup? A few "minor bugs" with Java and Flash.
 
I know many web developers who would argue that Java and Flash are neither "features" nor "minor bugs."

Swad

User Experiences With New iMacs

By Swad, in OSx86,

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We've gotten some feedback from those who have been using the new iMacs, and all of it (so far) has been resoundingly good.
 
Don writes to give us a taste of the speed of the UI. Granted, these Quicktime videos (UI, Booting) were taken with his cell phone, but they do give sense of the iMac's speed as well as Don's love for resizing browser windows. Is it just me, or have I seen hacked OSx86 machines boot faster than this one?
 
Also in the mail is a letter from Dennis telling us, "I wanted to provide some feedback as there have been numerous folks asking about dual booting installing xp by holding the c key. I can confirm that the c key does not working OSX just boots up. I havent tried much else as i received bought it last night but i can confirm that this thing is extremely FAST. I ran a few high def videos at full screen and compared with a powerbook G4, intel 3.4ghz PC and the imac 2.0 core duo. the imac was flawless - i could even drag the high def video around the screen really fast without disrupting the video. The powerbook choked and the pc hung up a bit - my pc has a geforce 7800 gt video card also. I am extremely happy with it!"
 
Thanks for the letters, guys. Are you getting a new iMac? Have you already gotten one? Let us know your thoughts and impressions!

Swad
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We’ve received some information regarding Apple's newest portable, the MacBook Pro, and with it a hidden message for would-be hackers. We were made privy to a text dump from the System Profiler of one of the new MacBooks and, naturally, couldn’t wait to sort through its contents. What we didn’t expect to see was a warning from Apple to those that would hack OS X, presumably to those wanting it to run on beige-box PCs:
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
_name
Dont Steal Mac OS X
[...]
Copyright © 2006 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
The purpose of this Apple software is to protect Apple copyrighted
materials from unauthorized copying and use. You may not copy, modify,
reverse engineer, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense,
transfer or redistribute this file, in whole or in part. If you have
obtained a copy of this Apple software and do not have a valid license
from Apple Computer to use it, please immediately destroy or delete it
from your computer.
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
The most interesting part of this message? It’s placement, found in /System/Library/Extensions/Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext Despite being a lighthearted jab at hackers, it seems that Apple is taking the pirating of the new OSx86 seriously, since the same kext is not found in the PPC version of 10.4.4. Is this simply a hidden message for the interested parties, or is it a new tounge-in-cheek implementation of OS X’s TPM security? Details are sketchy at this point… watch this space for more news as we get it.
 
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Will New Intel Macs Run Windows?

By Swad, in OSx86,

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No one seems to know.This betanews article seems to think that they won’t, due to the EFI (see below article). But Apple, as they’ve always said, won’t prohibit people from installing Windows on their Mac. From an MSNBC article:
 
“That’s fine with us. We don’t mind,” Schiller said. “If there are people who love our hardware but are forced to put up with a Windows world, then that’s OK.”
“Any new machines that are on the market that run Windows are great,” said Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing for Microsoft’s Mac business unit.
 
So what do you think? Has Apple effectively shut out Windows installation until Vista ships? Is this a mistake or a smart move?

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We’ve received reports today that Apple is putting in place a Developer Transition Kit Exchange Program to give DTK owners an iMac at no charge. As one developer exclaimed, “That was the best $999 I’ve ever spent!” DTK owners will receive, in exchange for their current units, a base-model iMac to “help you finish and ship your Universal Binary.” Below is an exclusive screenshot from Apple’s developer site:
 

 
And yes, for those wondering, we’re all insanely jealous.
 
EFI
 
Also, on the hardware front, Apple updated its Universal Binary Guidelines and revealed that the new Macs will be implementing Intel’s EFI (extensible firmware interface) to replace the venerable BIOS. Wikipedia explains,
 
The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is an updated BIOS specification developed by Intel. Designed for use with trusted computing, it allows vendors to create drivers which cannot be reverse engineered. It also allows operating systems to run in a sandbox, delegating networking and memory management to the firmware. Hardware access is converted to calls to the EFI drivers. The EFI BIOS is used to select the operating system, replacing boot loaders.
 
The EFI is important as it may be a component that Apple uses to lock OS X to their hardware. Since EFI was not present in the DTKs, we can only surmise that Apple’s use of “Trusted Computing” will be changed significantly with the new models.
 
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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.
 
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Swad

New Intel Macs: iMac, MacBook Pro

By Swad, in OSx86,

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Steve Jobs rarely disappoints.
 
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.
 
The days of the Intel Mac are upon us.

Swad

Fresh News from the Intel Front

By Swad, in OSx86,

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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...

Swad

Finally, More Rumors.

By Swad, in OSx86,

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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?

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