<![CDATA[The most interesting idea to come out of the reporting about Apple's move to Intel chips comes from Dwight Silverman at the Houston Chronicle, who writes on TechBlog: Report: Apple to switch to Intel chips:
What Cupertino-based company with a strong Houston connection already has a good relationship with Apple thanks to branded sales of the iPod? Don’t you think that company would be an obvious choice to help engineer the melding of the Mac OS and Intel? And then partner with Apple to sell x86-based Macs?
Indeed, an HP Mac may be just the thing the limping HP needs, and it comes in the wake of a big shake-up at the company that has produced nothing particularly interesting so far. A Steve-sanctioned clone would be a big deal.
All the chatter about whether OS X runs on Intel chips is kind of silly, as the magic still lies, in part, in the ROM (see your About this Mac dialog for your current version, which sits atop the PowerPC chip, just as it will with Intel silicon). The Unix kernel and libraries in OS X will run on Intel, they have for years—even before Steve Jobs got back in the saddle there were versions of OS 9 that ran on Intel systems, even experimental dual-OS machines with separate motherboards—so, an OS X compiled for Intel should operate almost (because there’s no such thing as 100 percent in compatibility) transparently.
It will be interesting to see if Apple makes a native Windows system available without emulation, as you can get through Microsoft’s Virtual PC today). That would mean not that Mac displaces Windows, but that they live increasingly side-by-side, which is exactly what I predicted here.
UPDATE: As the fated hour draws near and Steve Jobs prepares his choreographed stroll onto the WWDC stage, I wanted to add: While the Intel deal “makes sense” from a contra-Microsoft perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to move off of PowerPC as it is winning new platforms, such as Microsoft’s XBox 360. After having supported PowerPC’s rise, why would Apple want to abandon it when it is finally achieving some sort of parity in volumes with Intel? There’s more to the chess match than taking Bill Gates’ queen.
UPDATE, AGAIN: Apparently, it’s true. Macworld is blogging the keynote live and says Steve just confirmed.
AND AGAIN: According to Jason Snell and Peter Cohen at Macworld: The future of Mac OS X development is moving to Xcode, said Jobs. Of Apple’s top 100 developers, more than half — 56 percent — are already using Xcode, and 25 percent are in the process of switching to Xcode. “Less than 20 percent are not on board yet. Now is a good time to get on board,” said Jobs. A new build of Xcode, version 2.1, is being released today. This new release enables developers to specify PowerPC or Intel architectures. “… and you’re going to build what’s called a universal binary. It contains all the bits for both architectures,” said Jobs. “One binary, works on both PowerPC and Intel architecture. So you can ship one CD that supports both processors.”
So, as I was saying, the migration isn’t going to be a major headache for anyone who has been working in Xcode, not that this is a universal group by any stretch. The Rosetta technology that Jobs disclosed sounds like it is the short-cut for everyone not working with Xcode, but can’t be sure.]]>