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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Erick says "MacIntel" 

Personally, I pray for a better nickname. pMacs? IMacs? Er, that's taken...IntelliMacs?

Looks like it's going to be MacIntel.

For those of you don't understand my inside jokes, an explanation: yesterday Apple dropped the (widely-predicted) bombshell that starting sometime in 2006, new Macs will ship with Intel CPUs inside instead of PowerPC chips.

On one hand, that's stunning news with not a few ramifications. From a performance perspective, Apple says it will be all to the good, and I have to accept that's true, given CPU speed progress on PPC and Intel chips lately. I'm personally a little sad because I just bought a new (iBook G4; PowerPC of course) laptop, but I would have been unlikely to wait an entire year for a new machine.

On the other hand, Apple has been here before, having done both a major OS change (OS 9 to OS X) and another major CPU change (Motorola 68k to IBM* PowerPC). It is painful, but will probably be less painful this time.

I for one, welcome our new Intel-based overlords. Once I can afford one. Of course the real question is how Apple will prevent Mac OS X from running on just any Intel-based computer. It may get a little tricky here.

*IBM created the PowerPC chip family out of their POWER architecture, but when Apple first signed on, an entity known as the AIM Alliance ("Apple-IBM-Motorola") was responsible for the chips, and indeed Motorola was a prime source of development and production for PowerPC CPUs. IBM is now selling PPC-based chips to Microsoft and Nintendo for their upcoming video game consoles (and for the current Nintendo GameCube), Motorola has spun off its chip division as Freescale, and the AIM Alliance is no more.

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