Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Apple considers Intel for Macs - or not

Filed under

Apple Computer Inc. has been in talks that could lead to a decision soon to use Intel Corp. chips in its Macintosh computer line, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The report, citing two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies, said Apple will agree to use Intel chips.

Neither company would confirm the report and an Apple spokeswoman told the Journal she would characterize it as "rumor and speculation."

It was unclear whether such a move would signal a large-scale shift away from chips made by IBM, Apple's longtime supplier, the report said.

Apple could choose to add some Intel-based models to its product line or make a complete shift to Intel's chip technology in what would be seen as a serious blow to IBM's microprocessor business, the newspaper said.

Adopting Intel chips would help ensure that future Macintosh systems could meet the price and performance of products from tough rivals such as Dell Inc.

Apple's pricing, which has often been higher than rivals, could become more competitive if Intel provides the kind of marketing subsidies it has given to other computer makers, the newspaper said.

Apple sells only about three million computers a year -- a small portion of the estimated 200 million sold globally.

But for Intel, winning over Apple would be a prestigious endorsement from one of technology's most influential trend-setters and could associate the chipmaker with Apple's hugely popular iPod music player.

Despite significant performance gains in recent years, the PowerPC platform still falls short of the outright speed claims of Intel and its main rival AMD. Although this may not affect real world performance - too many other factors have to be taken into consideration - it has a big influence on consumers' perceptions. Recently, Apple was unable to fulfil a promise to have 3GHz G5 chips within a year of the unveiling of the G5-based Power Mac.

Moreover switching to Intel could result in cost savings and, consequently, further price cuts. Intel also has power saving technologies that could be deployed in Apple's key notebook models, the iBook and PowerBooks.

Any decision to go with Intel will require some rewriting of the OS X code. However it is highly unlikely that any changes will enable it to run on any Intel-based PC; Apple will ensure that it is hardware specific though hackers would doubtless be keen to get their hands on it.

Rumours of secret versions of Mac operating systems that run on Intel hardware have been circulating for years. They have been given some substance by former Apple employees who have suggested that it remains a fall-back option should the PowerPC platform fail.

Of course there is every chance that this is all a smokescreen and next month, at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference., CEO Steve Jobs will unveil a 3GHz Power Mac and a G5 PowerBook.


More in Tux Machines

Graphics Mesa, X.Org Foundation and Wayfire

  • [Mesa-dev] 2018 Election voting OPEN
    The X.Org Foundation's annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 5 April 2018. Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms.
  • Mesa Gets Plumbed For Conservative Rasterization Support
    An independent contributor to Mesa has posted a set of patches for implementing NVIDIA's OpenGL conservative rasterization extensions. Nearly one thousand lines of code is now available for getting GL_NV_conservative_raster and friends wired into core Mesa and Gallium3D while getting it working for the Nouveau NVC0 driver on Maxwell GPUs and newer. Besides GL_NV_conservative_raster is the NV_conservative_raster_dilate and NV_conservative_raster_pre_snap_triangles extensions too.
  • It's Time For X.Org Members To Cast Their 2018 Ballots
    If you are a member of the X.Org Foundation, it's important to get out to vote now. This year's elections for the X.Org Foundation Board of Directors are now underway and the voting period is open until 5 April.
  • Wayfire Is A New Wayland Compositor That Supports Desktop Cube, Expo & Other Plugins
    Wayfire is a new independent Wayland compositor project built atop libweston. Wayfire supports compositor plug-ins to offer a desktop cube and more, so you can relive the old days when having a spinning desktop cube was all the rage in the early days of Compiz/Beryl.

Linux Steam Controller Driver and LWN Kernel Coverage

  • Steam Controller Linux Kernel Driver Updated To Work Happily With The Steam Client
    Last month we reported on a kernel driver being worked on for Valve's Steam Controller but it wasn't coming from Valve developers but rather an independent member of the community. That hid-steam driver continues to be hacked on. To date Valve has just been supporting the Steam Controller on Linux via the Steam client with handling the controller's behavior in user-space. There have also been some independent user-space programs to come about too for manipulating the Steam Controller, but this has been the first time a proper Linux kernel driver has been worked on for this popular gaming controller.
  • Time-based packet transmission
    Normally, when an application sends data over the network, it wants that data to be transmitted as quickly as possible; the kernel's network stack tries to oblige. But there are applications that need their packets to be transmitted within specific time windows. This behavior can be approximated in user space now, but a better solution is in the works in the form of the time-based packet transmission patch set. There are a number of situations where outgoing data should not necessarily be transmitted immediately. One example would be any sort of isochronous data stream — an audio or video stream, maybe — where each packet of data is relevant at a specific point in time. For such streams, transmitting ahead of time and buffering at the receiving side generally works well enough. But realtime control applications can be less flexible. Commands for factory-floor or automotive systems, for example, should be transmitted within a narrow period of time. Realtime applications can wait until the window opens before queuing data for transmission, of course, but any sort of latency that creeps in (due to high network activity, for example) may then cause the data to be transmitted too late.
  • Designing ELF modules
    The bpfilter proposal posted in February included a new type of kernel module that would run as a user-space program; its purpose is to parse and translate iptables rules under the kernel's control but in a contained, non-kernel setting. These "ELF modules" were reposted for review as a standalone patch set in early March. That review has happened; it is a good example of how community involvement can improve a special-purpose patch and turn it into a more generally useful feature. ELF modules look like ordinary kernel modules in a number of ways. They are built from source that is (probably) shipped with the kernel itself, they are compiled to a file ending in .ko, and they can be loaded into the kernel with modprobe. Rather than containing a real kernel module, though, that .ko file holds an ordinary ELF binary, as a user-space program would. When the module is "loaded", a special process resembling a kernel thread is created to run that program in user mode. The program will then provide some sort of service to the kernel that is best not run within the kernel itself.

Security: AMD, Slingshot, Voting and Cryptocurrencies

Browsers: Mozilla and Chrome

  • Mozilla Presses Pause on Facebook Advertising
    Mozilla is pressing pause on our Facebook advertising. Facebook knows a great deal about their two billion users — perhaps more intimate information than any other company does. They know everything we click and like on their site, and know who our closest friends and relationships are. Because of its scale, Facebook has become one of the most convenient platforms to reach an audience for all companies and developers, whether a multibillion corporation or a not-for-profit.
  • Results of the MDN “Duplicate Pages” SEO experiment
    Following in the footsteps of MDN’s “Thin Pages” SEO experiment done in the autumn of 2017, we completed a study to test the effectiveness and process behind making changes to correct cases in which pages are perceived as “duplicates” by search engines. In SEO parlance, “duplicate” is a fuzzy thing. It doesn’t mean the pages are identical—this is actually pretty rare on MDN in particular—but that the pages are similar enough that they are not easily differentiated by the search engine’s crawling technology.
  • Send, getting better
    Send continues to improve incrementally. Since our last post we’ve added a few requested features and fixed a bunch of bugs. You can now choose to allow multiple downloads and change the password on a file if you need to. Send is also more stable and should work more reliably across a wider set of browsers. We’ve brought back support for Microsoft Edge and some older versions of Safari.
  • Chrome 66 Beta: CSS Typed Object Model, Async Clipboard API, AudioWorklet
    Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. View a complete list of the features in Chrome 66 on ChromeStatus.
  • Chrome 66 Beta Delivers On Async Clipboard API, Web Locks API
    Following the Chrome 65 release earlier this month, Google developers have now catapulted the Chrome 66 beta.