Macs to run on Intel- CONFIRMED!

Most of that doesn’t matter. What does matter most is (besides a laundry list of smaller items that also matter but aren’t as much of a problem but still add up) is that your app QA takes a big hit: the Mac has essentially turned into two platforms, and QA has to test everything in the app on every platform. If you’re a Win/Mac developer, you’re now a Win/MacPPC/MacIntel developer – testing will now take 50% more resources. This gets expensive.

does this mean I could have a dual boot PC running both OSX and XP sometime in the future (cool) - or will they still keep some kind of hardware incompatibility?

In terms of business its a logical decision. With the Apple marketshare at 10% that means Intel and AMD divide up the 90% marketshare of PC processors. It’s nearly impossible to compete with that, and so using Intel or AMD processors is a logical step.

The DRM story will be easily verifyable. If Apple choses to exclusively use Intel processors rather than allow for both Intel and AMD processors, and they don’t have a very sweet deal with Intel as a reward, the DRM story might be a factor in the larger equation.

I’m not a big fan of Macs (I don’t hate them either), but this doesn’t seem like a great move for Apple - seems to me that this will just give MS more competitive leverage - the actual nuts and bolts of switching to Windows can be made less expensive and more convenient - not that everybody will, or should switch, of course, it’s just that there will be less reasons not to.

Having said all that, I’d be interested in running it alongside XP and Linux on a multi-boot machine.

When they say ‘Intel’, do they actually mean Intel or do they mean x86? - will it run on AMD processors?

It seems to me this move could actually make it easier for Windows users to switch over - by using a x86 processor, Apple could just port over WINE from the Linux world (should be easy, both Linux and OSX are Unixy at their core), throw some polish on it, and get Windows programs running at near-native speed on a MacIntel.

That’s true, but I’m not sure how likely; Microsoft is really rather efficient and ruthless at the competition game - this just seems like a way to bring down one of the barriers to that competition.

I brought this up in another thread on the subject, and it was mentioned there could be BIOS issues to prevent this.

I agree it would be mighty cool to dual boot Windows and OS X (and Linux too, what the hey). And it would only increase Apple’s sales of OS X, I’d consider trying it if I could use my same hardware, but I’d never consider buying a whole new machine. I’m sure many others feel the same way.

Anandtech has an article with lots of info, including whether you will be able to run Windows on an Intel Mac (probably), and OSX on arbitrary PC hardware (probably not). Use of AMD x86s is technically possible, but will probably be hamstrung by a lack of driver support for AMD motherboards.

OS/2, anyone?

Yeah, that worked. :rolleyes: The more I’ve thought about this eventuality, the more it concerns me. If developers can write just one bit of code that will run (almost) equally well on any platform (Mac+virtual, Win, Linux+virtual), why bother porting?

Since MacOS X is a descendant of NeXTSTEP, and NeXTSTEP was already built for the Intel line, I’m not at all surprised that Apple’s been keeping their source code ready to run on Intel. As long as the maintenance effort didn’t require too much manpower, it was a sensible strategy. The PPC’s prospects still looked good even through last year, so I don’t know that Apple was planning a switch as long as five years ago. It may be that Apple is simply invoking their back-up plan — in case of emergency, break glass — now that IBM has failed to deliver on performance.

Microsoft used to have a version of NT that ran on the PowerPC (and Alpha?), though that was eons ago in computer product terms. It wouldn’t surprise me though to learn that they still maintain a version of XP running on that chip, “just in case”. Especially given that they’ll be using the PPC in their XBoxes. Of course that doesn’t make XP-on-PPC anything like a real product.

But if this week’s news teaches us anything, it’s that the rug can be pulled out from under us at any time.

As a certified Mac true believer, I’m ecstatic about this move. Finally, a processor platform that won’t stagnate due to economies of scale!

I don’t think it’s a comparable comparison, because the market for native OS/2 software was never anything beyond miniscule. Apple’s got some heavy-hitting MacOS X-native stuff (particularly their professional tools) that aren’t going to be replaced by Windows equivalents any time soon.

I seriously doubt Apple will allow Windows apps to run smoothly in a MacOS X/MacIntel environment for that reason. Do-it-yourselfers may want to play with “workarounds” like WINE, but for most users, they’d rather just buy the MacOS X version of a title and avoid the fuss.

The scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that the processors Intel will be providing Apple will not be stock existing CPUs, but a new code-compatable “Apple-only variant”, with a few extra commands included. Presumably this will be how Apple will prevent non-Apple boxes from running MacIntel software…

MS won’t kill them off. If Apple seems tobe winning (and this is a way out there line) MS will simply buy them off and/or import a bunch of their programmers.

Ah yes, the new HCFNM instruction. (Halt and Catch Fire if Not a Mac).

Or more likely, Leopard would use special Intel instructions that exist only on this new Intel-Apple processor? So the OS would crash if someone attempted to run it on other chips. But on the other hand, Intel Linux and MS Windows (as they exist now anyway) would still run on the Intel-Apple chip.

Is this the scenario you’re hearing about? If Apple and Intel are indeed planning this, it would seem to me to invite some sort of retaliation from Microsoft.

And then AMD releases a processor for standard PCs that implement those instructions. If the market is there, someone is going to find a way around the hardware problem.

This is an honest question: Is there anything special in Mac OS(as opposed to Windows or Linux) required to make these tools work? Because if not, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a port to Windows, now that Mac OS and Windows will be running on the same platform. Or are these products developed by Apple?


Yeah, that’s the gist I’m getting. I’m not entirely sure what Microsoft could do about it, though – if the agreement is between Apple and Intel (“Party I will provide party A with 3 gazillion HCFNM chips by 4Q 2007”), that’s none of Microsoft’s business. Apple can easily take the official position that their MacIntels are only designed to run Apple’s OSes, but they can’t control what the individual owners do with their machines.

Possibly; could Intel protect such a beast under patent law, though?

Some of those are developed by Apple (Final Cut Studio, Shake, Logic Pro), and will definitely stay in-house. As for third-party tools, if they’re making extensive use of Apple’s APIs (particularly Cocoa’s dynamic binding mechanisms), porting would be a non-trivial issue, I think.

My assumption has been that Apple will somehow prevent non-Mactel boxes from running MacOS by utilizing Intel’s on-chip DRM technology somehow.

As for the “heavy-hitting MacOS native stuff”, the market for FC Pro, etc. is also miniscule, and certainly even all of Apple’s pro line plus iLife (of which the most important part is free on MacOS and Windows) is nowhere near enough to sustain a Mac market. Anyway, there are alternatives; and if the Mac suddenly lacked Office and Photoshop, it enter a tailspin. If Apple does something to turn its new Mactel boxes into a kind of crippleware, where near-native Windows speeds are simply not possible, then developers certainly need to port, but that’s a completely artificial problem, isn’t it. Hardly comparable to the need to port from PPC to x86. Why, in the long term, should anyone back such a scheme, outside of Apple? Perhaps the processors for Mactel boxes will indeed be somewhat customized. AltiVec (or something like it) on Intel, perhaps? That certainly would make Rosetta work better for users, who, despite Jobs’ assurances, will see some pretty significant performance hits on apps. not ported that are optimized for G4 or G5 processors.

Interesting perspectives on Windows-on-MacOS from a coveted market: Game developers.

Does anyone know where one can download the OSX/Intel preview?

I believe–any developers out there?–you need to be a member of Apple’s pricey-to-get-into premium developer’s group; plus you would have to purchase one of Apple’s proprietary PCs. So it is not available to the general public.

If a copy got leaked, the resulting explosion of Steve Jobs’ head would obliterate Cupertino.