Apple and Intel, Together at Last

Around 30 minutes into the keynote, Steve Jobs put up this slide:

The slide started half an hour of discussion on Apple's move to Intel's x86 processors. Starting in the middle of 2006 and being mostly complete by 2007, Apple will move from the PowerPC architecture to Intel's x86 architecture. In fact, the entire WWDC 2005 keynote was running on a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 system running OS X 10.4 (Tiger).

The reason? According to Jobs, the PowerPC roadmap would not provide the performance that Apple needed going into the future.

The most ironic part of it all? Apple's biggest reason for moving happens to be performance per watt, where according to Apple, Intel will significantly outperform the PowerPC starting in 2006 and moving forward:

Why is that ironic? Because all AnandTech readers know that presently, AMD provides far better performance per watt than Intel. During the keynote, Steve never mentioned whether or not you'd be able to run non-Intel x86 processors on the new port of OS X. We'd guess that AMD CPUs would have no problem running, but driver support for AMD platforms may not necessarily be there.

Macs with Intel processors will be shipping by June 2006, and the transition will be almost complete by June 2007.

Index Two Challenges to Transition


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  • santa590 - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    It's not Windows apps ported to OS X. It's OS X apps for PPC ported to OS X for x86 (or intel).
  • Pandaren - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    To all Intel bashers: Yonah, Merom, and Conroe. That's why Apple is making the switch. Reply
  • finbarqs - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    haha i think it's more of Apple's way to take away from some of microsoft's storm. In fact, i think that's what apple has been planning all this time... to become a bigger player in the computing market. Apple always have their niche 5% market. With the transition to Intel's x86 architecture, They can finally take away some of the storm that's been blessed with microsoft. Now people will have a choice of either OSX or Windows... Finally Microsoft's quality control will go up! Reply
  • Wightout - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    31) i would think that it is for the same reason that BMW dosn't want their cars in every home. it would destroy the value and prestiege of owning one. You would loose the idea that you and your mac are special UNLIKE everyone else. Reply
  • hoppa - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    I really can't see why Apple wouldn't want to release OS X for general x86, other than their image. They would make a hell of a lot more selling their OS than they would lose selling proprietary hardware. Especially if, as they claim, Windows apps can be ported to OS X in a couple hours! I'd be one of the first to switch . And I may actually even consider buying it!

  • fishbits - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    "On another point, if they don't want to make their OS run on anthing but Intel and specific hardware, just what is the advantage?"

    Because they can charge more for it to Apple loyalists who can't go out and build their own. Maybe one day Apple buyers will say "Hey! We're pretty much getting PC hardware and dropping an extra $1000 or so for the OS and a case!" Will have to see if that happens, and then what Apple's reaction will be. Maybe when they figure out that the Power PC was just a good CPU and not a magical entity, and that Intel will be providing chips that are even better (with Apple itself shouting Pentium love from the rooftops) the minds will uncloud.

    I'd love it if it meant I could get OS X for $100-200 (money Apple's currently not getting), and more folks could give OS X a try without dismissing it due to price of entry.

    "For that matter, the argument of AMD can't handle the capacity is crap. What is 1.8% of the market? AMD can't handle that?"

    Sure they can, but not without conceding that part of what we currently think of as the x86 market. Apple and AMD may yet do great things together some day, but it's far more vital that they gain ground in their current markets before taking on something new. When AMD's not teetering on the edge anymore (hopefully soon) they'll have more breathing room for such projects.
  • wilburpan - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    One more item in favor of Intel CPU's over AMD:

    Multitasking performance appears to be consistently better with Pentium D chips over Athlon 64 with today's options. See the "Intel Dual Core Performance Preview Part II: A Deeper Look" article on Anandtech:

    Again, if Apple wants to be at the legendary living room digital hub, multitasking performance may be a priority over FPS in a FPS.*

    * Frames per second in a first person shooter. I've always wanted to say that. :)
  • sprockkets - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    On another point, if they don't want to make their OS run on anthing but Intel and specific hardware, just what is the advantage? So it has a different processor in it, and one that is according to apple much slower.

    For that matter, the argument of AMD can't handle the capacity is crap. What is 1.8% of the market? AMD can't handle that?

    That's Dell's argument too, but then again, over the past year Intel has been pretty slow as well to deliver. And it's not as if 100% of your processor shipments will turn AMD overnight.
  • Wightout - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    hopefully there wont be that stupid insignia plastered to the front of all the new mac machines, or any of the laptops. yuuuuck.....! Reply
  • Anemone - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    Should be X86 I think and thus AMD as well but that's just my $.02. Overall a nice move and one where we might be finally able to directly compare OS's on the same platforms...


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