It's official: Apple shifting to Intel chips
It plans to have the move complete by 2007
IDG News Service - Macintosh computers using Intel Corp. chips will be on the market by this time next year, with all Apple Macs moved over to Intel chips by the end of 2007, Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced today at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.
The move, which has been rumored for several weeks, is seen as a blow to IBM and Freescale Semiconductor Inc., which provide the PowerPC chips that Macs have used for 10 years.
For the most part, developers cheered the move, although there were some audible gasps among the 3,800 developers in the Moscone West Convention Center the moment Jobs confirmed that Apple will be undertaking its third major technology transition in the past 15 years.
New Intel CEO Paul Otellini joined Jobs on stage to announce the chip maker's newest customer. "We are so excited at Intel to be given the opportunity to work with Apple to bring you great products," Otellini said.
The company previewed its Mac OS X Tiger running on an Intel-based Mac at the conference during Jobs' keynote speech. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit that consists of an Intel-based Mac development system and preview versions of Apple's software.
"Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor road map by far," Jobs said in a statement released as the keynote got under way. "It's been 10 years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next 10 years."
In his address, Jobs said, "As we look ahead, although we've got some great products now, we can envision some amazing products we want to build for you. And we don't know how we can build them with the future PowerPC road map."
The problem with the future PowerPC chips is performance per watt, Jobs said. Intel's chips are far ahead of IBM's when it comes to delivering performance without consuming a lot of power, a quality that is very important for future Apple products, he said.
IBM's 64-bit PowerPC 970FX processor, which Apple calls the G5, is very competitive with Intel's Pentium 4 processor when it comes to desktop performance. However, the latest version of the chip required Apple to use liquid cooling technology to make sure its Power Mac computers would function. IBM and Apple have thus far been unable to work the G5 into a notebook, the fastest-growing segment of the PC market, Jobs
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