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Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:39 AM   #1
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Apple considering switch to Intel chips according to WSJ

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/050523/tech_...ntel.html?.v=3

The news services are citing a story in today's Wall Street Journal that Apple has been meeting with Intel to discuss using their chips in future Macs. This has been the subject of speculation for years, although in the past 6 months a few analysts have said they felt it was inevitable.
Quote:
The report, citing two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies, said Apple was expected to agree to use Intel chips. But it said the talks could break down or could be a tactic to gain negotiating leverage with Apple's current chip supplier, International Business Machines Corp.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:43 AM   #2
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:05 AM   #3
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Personally I would consider this the lastest in a series of smart business moves from Apple. At the very least it puts some pressure on IBM to speed up delivery.

Apple has been held back from introducing the models it's wanted for years due to delays from Motorola and IBM. The rumor has always been that they've kept an Intel version of OSX up to date with each new release. This could very well be exactly what they need to capture more market share. And that should translate into more Mac for the buck. Personally I could care less what chips are inside as long as everything works!
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 11:56 AM   #4
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I just don't buy it. A large part of Apple's business strategy has always been to control the Hardware as well as the OS/core apps. That way, Apple has a very limited universe of support / troubleshooting / development. They can also tout a key appeal of Apple product: it just works. It's really plug and play. You crash less often, if at all.

Of course, there's a gap between these myths that Apple has built and reality. I have happlily crashed many an OS9 AND OSX app. I have locked up every mac I've owned, requiring the dreaded "unplug from the wall" restart. That being said, my personal experience is that macs are easier to use and configure, and are generally less buggy and more reliable than the same vintage PC.

Can you imagine the nightmare for Apple if they finally admit to Intel compatibility? The public pressure will be for a Mac OS for every vanilla beige box out there. Apple looses it's lock on hardware, and suddenly has to play Microsoft's game. They need to provide drivers for every imaginable piece of hardware out there, and build in robustness for a staggering amount of different configurations.

Also, the Sony/IBM Cell processor seems to be the natural successor to the G5 in the next generation macs. I don't see either Intel or AMD providing more than dual-core chips into the next 2-3 years, let alone the Cell's 8-core, which will be shipping in PS3's in early 2006!

Apple doesn't need to capture a 30% market share for computers - or even 10%. What they do need to continue to do is maintain the myth: Apple hardware is better. Apple is the sportscar of computers. Apple is the innovator in the industry. Apple will take risks that Microsoft and Dell can't afford to take. If they lose that mystique, Apple is in danger of becoming just another commodity player, valuing market share over innovation.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 12:23 PM   #5
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Analysts don't know what they're talking about. If they did, Apple would have switched to Intel about 10 times in the last 10 years. It didn't happen then, it won't happen now.

As an "independent" they're unique, and making great profits. As an intel clone, they're nothing but a small player in the big field, and they'll die a death of many deaths.

Sure OS X can run on Intel and Apple have just such a version in their labs, but that's been the case right from the start. Remember NT used to run on PPC.

If OS X could run on Intel, who'd want to re-write all their Mac software for it, and who'd run OS X when they could run Windows and have access to all that wonderful cheap PC software? It's just not going to happen.

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Old May 23rd, 2005, 01:11 PM   #6
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Well, who said anything about x86 chips? Why can't intel make powerpc chips. They can and will. The gaming market is getting huge.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 01:16 PM   #7
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"Well, who said anything about x86 chips?" Nobody, but that's the article's implication, as it is every year this tired article is dragged out.

As for Intel licencing PPC design from IBM.... Maybes AMD, but not Intel.

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Old May 23rd, 2005, 05:11 PM   #8
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Who knows what they may have in store. Like the article suggested, it may just be a lever to use against IBM. Regardless of what's up, I don't think Apple has any intention of licensing MacOS X to cheap box builders. I'm sure they would still market and control the hardware themselves.

An article at Macrumors suggests that Apple may be looking at a product from Transitive Technologes which dynamically translates instructions at about 80% of chip speed, and it further speculates that hooks are already built into Tiger for this. But there's speculation that Apple might be looking to put intel chips into their servers instead of desktops or laptops.

Unfortunately, we drift into Area 41 territory on all this, so I'm going to move this thread over there were we can have fun kicking around. But the reality is that a reputable publication - The Wall Street Journal - broke the story, even though they provided several big caveats.

I agree that the mystique is a big part of the "Apple experience," but more recently they've made some good business moves which have caused their shares to skyrocket. Since I have a few of these I'm perfectly happy to let them keep doing whatever they've been doing, which has tripled my investment.

And Wall Street certainly drank the Koolaid today, AAPL stock is up 6% on these rumors...
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 05:42 PM   #9
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Yeah I don't see that switching to Intel would harm them from a hardware/platform POV, except that vendors would have to rerelease their software (Not a minor thing, true). But that doesn't mean they might as well go Windows - the OS is the thing that makes a Mac a Mac and the fact that that Apple make sure it's all built to spec and works out of the box.

What I want to see is Apple stay with PPC and move to Cell processors. I mean a Mac is a multimedia manipulation machine - ideal for Cell architecture. They could take a massive leap forward in graphics power with Cells.

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Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Koolen
What I want to see is Apple stay with PPC and move to Cell processors. I mean a Mac is a multimedia manipulation machine - ideal for Cell architecture. They could take a massive leap forward in graphics power with Cells.
Definitly! Not only that, you can do RT multicam capture from a max of 8 next-gen HDV sources, allowing flexible capture between many HDV cameras!

speaking of HDV... if Sony is ever gonna make a 1080p60 HDV camcorder (which I think they will call HDVPRO), they will need a 6 cell encoder and 2 cell decoder for handling MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264) at 25Mbps. (Of course, provided by IBM)

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Old May 24th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #11
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who said Mac?

If you need ultra low voltage processors for a type of mobile computing device, then Intel is one of the main suppliers in the world.

Maybe the talks is for a Apple Über-iPod, with build in intelligence. Or a mediacenter.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 09:17 AM   #12
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Interesting that you say this Jos. Here's a new article on the topic from Fortune Magazine (this link may expire after a few days). They cite speculation that Jobs is shopping for a chip to be used in an Apple Tablet PC...

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fastf...?promoid=yahoo
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Old June 4th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #13
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Well this story is still alive and kicking.... Cnet is now reporting that Apple will announce a phased transition to Intel at the WWDC on Monday June 6:

Quote:
Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors, CNET News.com has learned.
http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+I...1398&subj=news
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Old June 4th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Koolen
What I want to see is Apple stay with PPC and move to Cell processors. I mean a Mac is a multimedia manipulation machine - ideal for Cell architecture. They could take a massive leap forward in graphics power with Cells.
I'm not so sure about the Cell as a CPU. Conceptually it's a major leap forward, but it has some practical problems. First, because it's a pretty revolutionary design, exploiting all that computing power is, by all accounts, quite difficult. That may delay or prevent the porting of apps that might benefit from its architecture. Second, much of its vaunted floating-point performance is single-precision, not double-precision, and supports only a subset of IEEE FP arithmetic (still, its double-precision FP ability is several times that of a comparably clocked Intel chip). Lastly, its design is geared for the processing of media and 3-D graphics objects. How it handles more general-purpose tasks (such as business apps) is a question mark.

As a side note, I find it ironic that even as Apple is rumored to be planning a transition of the Mac line to Intel processors, Microsoft has decided to forego Intel chips in its Xbox 360 in favor of a specially designed triple-core IBM PowerPC processor running at 3.2 GHz!
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Old June 5th, 2005, 01:14 PM   #15
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interesting indeed

this is very interesting
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