Intel this morning added Apple to its collection of desktop computers that have Intel inside. A hug between the chief executives for the two companies (Jobs and Otellini) on stage at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco sealed the deal.
Apple computers will start using Intel chips by next year, with the last models making the switch by 2007, Jobs said.
Switching chip architectures isn't trivial. Both Apple and all outside software developers have to recompile their code to work on the Intel Macs.
While Apple has already done this – in fact the company for the past five years has had a version of its OS X operating system that works on Intel chip for a "just in case" scenario, Jobs said. The executive even used an Intel equiped Mac computer running OS X during his keynote presentation (photo on the left - click for enlargement). It's now up to the third party developers to do the same.
Jobs pulled executives from Microsoft and Adobe on stage and had them commit to the Intel version of the software. But although this is a great first step, there is sill a long way to go before users have access to the same software on Mac for Intel as they do today.
Some developers will decide simply not to create an Intel version of older versions of their software. And although Apple has created a tool dubbed "Rosetta" that will emulate code for Power on Intel systems, emulation tends to cost processing power.
Apple must feel that the pain of switching should be worth it. With dual core processors coming to Intel, the increase in processing power might just offset the emulation loss.
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