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Apple e Intel: una intesa per un Mac mini "universale"?

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Apple Is Poised to Shift

To Intel as Chip Supplier

Move Could Open Door

To More-Powerful Macs;

Cutting Long Ties to IBM

By DON CLARK, NICK WINGFIELD and WILLIAM M. BULKELEY

Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

June 6, 2005; Page A1

Apple Computer Inc. and Intel Corp., long on opposite sides of one of

technology's biggest divides, appear finally to be coming together.

Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., has begun briefing some partners about plans to begin shifting its Macintosh

computer line next year to Intel chips, according to industry executives and people familiar with the

briefings. Apple has said it expects to announce the move today, these people said.

The move would be a major change in strategy for Apple and a high-profile win for Intel, of Santa

Clara, Calif. It could be a blow to International Business Machines Corp. and Freescale

Semiconductor Inc., suppliers of the PowerPC chips that Apple has long used in its Mac systems. Intel

is the primary supplier of chips for personal computers that run on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, the Mac

rival that dominates PC operating systems.

Apple's decision, coming after years of industry speculation about such a deal and behind-the-scenes

lobbying by Intel, underscores how longtime allegiances are shifting because of competitive pressures

and users' changing preferences. Such a move could help Apple ensure that its Mac systems remain

competitive with rivals like Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas. It could be a prelude to collaboration with

Intel in developing new devices for homes and offices. And it might help Apple reduce its prices, a

longstanding disadvantage; an industry executive suggested that the computer maker sought, and won,

more-attractive chip prices from Intel than it could get from IBM, of Armonk, N.Y.

The change also makes it at least theoretically possible that some Macintosh systems could more

efficiently run Windows and application programs for that operating system, though it isn't clear that

Apple intends to encourage that practice.

The shift also could cause disruptions for current Macintosh users. For one thing, software companies

may have to adapt programs to run on Intel's so-called x86 chips. Many Macintosh users have recently

expressed opposition to such a switch; some equate it with Apple going over to the "the dark side" of

Wintel, as the near-duopoly of Intel chips and Windows software is sometimes called.

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive and co-founder, is expected to explain the shift today during a

keynote speech at the company's annual conference for software developers in San Francisco, the

industry executives said. Paul Otellini, Intel's CEO, may take part in the presentation, an industry

executive said.

Apple recently briefed IBM and other major software partners on

its plans, according to people familiar with those briefings. On the

other hand, some Apple watchers said that, given Mr. Jobs's

mercurial reputation, they won't be sure a change will happen

until a formal announcement.

The Wall Street Journal reported1 on May 23 that the companies

were in talks that could lead to Apple's adopting Intel

microprocessors. The article said the announcement could come as

soon as today's conference. CNET Networks Inc.'s News.com on

Friday reported that Apple will announce the transition plan today.

It reported that Apple will move lower-end computers such as the

Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such

as the Power Mac in mid-2007. Industry executives over the

weekend also described a transition that will extend into 2007.

Spokespersons for Apple, Intel, IBM and Freescale, which is based in Austin, Texas, said their

companies had no comment.

Apple's partnership with Intel, while a high-profile breakup for Apple and IBM, wouldn't be disastrous

for Big Blue. IBM has recently persuaded Microsoft, Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. to use its chips in

their next-generation video-game machines, a business that is expected to dwarf sales for Apple's

hardware over the next few years. Microsoft had been using Intel chips and Sony its own chips, while

Nintendo was an IBM customer that Big Blue wanted to retain.

It's also unlikely that Apple's shift to Intel chips will trigger a dramatic change in the PC industry's

balance of power. Apple remains a niche player, with only 2.3% of new-PC shipments in the first three

months of this year, according to International Data Corp. One reason is Apple's meager presence in the

huge corporate market, where Windows PCs dominate.

Yet Apple is thriving in ways others in the PC business aren't. Unit sales of Macs increased 43% in the

first quarter, outpacing the industry growth rate by nearly four times. One selling point has been the

rarity of virus programs that successfully target the Macintosh operating system, an advantage that a

change in chips isn't expected to affect. Apple's hugely successful iPod music player has also enabled

the company to diversify its business and help attract first-time computer customers.

The Mac business also has been aided by innovative products like the one-piece iMac and Mac mini. A

person close to Apple said Intel's chips could enable the company to create powerful new Mac products

that are even smaller and thinner. IBM's chips, partly because of the heat they give off, have held back

Apple designs for some compact products, this person said.

Apple executives have considered adapting its popular operating software for Intel chips and selling it

as a separate product in competition to Windows. That idea has always been rejected out of fear it

would hurt Apple's hardware business, and such a move doesn't appear to be part of the company's

current plans.

Mr. Jobs has often pointed out technical advantages of the PowerPC chips for some chores. Industry

observers also believe that IBM and Freescale have sold their chips at attractive prices, reducing the

potential appeal of shifting the Macintosh systems to Intel technology. But Apple hasn't been able to

meet some public commitments for increasing the speed of its desktop and laptop lines. In an often-

cited performance measure known as clock speed, Macs lag behind PCs.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker in terms of revenue, has had its own stumbles in improving its

products. But it has won kudos recently for chips known as Pentium M that draw little power, a big

selling point for laptop computers. Egged on by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel also has been

laying aggressive plans for boosting computing speed by putting two or more electronic brains on the

same piece of silicon. It already offers the dual-processor chips for desktop computers, and will have a

version for laptops early next year.

Moreover, Intel's dominant position in PC chips has allowed it to offer marketing subsidies to computer

makers that are important in the narrow-margin PC business. Apple is likely to qualify for such

subsidies and other financial help from Intel.

It couldn't be determined whether Intel has agreed to offer some modifications of its microprocessors for

Apple alone or will sell it standard chips, nor is it clear whether Intel would supply other accessory

chips for the Macintosh as part of the deal.

Intel has reason to go all out for the endorsement from Apple, Silicon Valley's most successful style

setter. Under Mr. Jobs, Apple has delivered cutting-edge hardware designs and delivered a hit music

player, the iPod, that has become an icon for fashion and technology. Apple also could be a target for

Intel to sell a variety of other chips, including those used for wireless Internet connections.

But the deal with Apple could raise some thorny issues for Intel and other customers and allies in the

PC industry, including Dell. Some might consider relying more heavily on AMD chips.

IBM jointly developed the PowerPC chips with Apple and Motorola Inc., which spun off its

semiconductor business as Freescale. IBM's products include the G5 chip, which is used in high-end

desktop Macintosh systems. Freescale supplies chips for Apple laptops and its Mini system.

For IBM, the Apple loss costs more in terms of prestige than in profits. Apple's orders for PowerPC

chips represented about 5% of the capacity of IBM's costly semiconductor manufacturing plant in East

Fishkill, N.Y., one industry executive said.

Unlike most computer makers, IBM has continued making its own microprocessors rather than farming

out production to semiconductor houses. But IBM's own needs aren't sufficient to justify the capital

investment in the $3 billion plant, so it has taken on the role of making advanced chips for other

companies as well.

IBM announced at the end of last year, that all the plant's capacity is spoken for, primarily by the three

makers of videogame consoles. IBM itself uses about one-third of the capacity for its own needs, and it

also serves as a chip foundry making specialized semiconductors for telecommunications vendors.Still, the plant has been a source of continuing difficulty. IBM's technology group, responsible for chip-

making, reported a $252 million loss in 2003, the last year for which IBM broke out the results. Some

customers who were frustrated by continued problems getting advanced chips from the plant defected to

Taiwanese suppliers. IBM now says the problems are behind it, but it has declined to discuss whether

the plant is operating profitably.

Apple was a particularly troubled account for IBM. In 2004, Apple publicly complained that delays in

getting chips from IBM were to blame for its own sales shortfalls. More recently, an industry executive

said, Apple tried to exploit its position as a marquee account to seek better terms than Big Blue could

justify financially. Intel must have offered lower prices, the executive said.

Apple's decision is likely to be viewed with mixed emotions by Macintosh users. "For the vitriolic Mac

masses, this is going to be perceived as a bit of heresy only because they've long rallied against the evils

of Wintel," said Mike Rosenfelt, a venture capitalist and co-founder of Power Computing Corp., a

maker of Mac "clone" computers that was acquired by Apple in 1997.

Mike Homer, a Silicon Valley veteran and former Apple executive, believes Apple's decision to shift to

Intel chips is driven largely by the growing importance of laptops, which have become an increasingly

critical source of growth for Apple and the industry as a whole. Apple has been repeatedly stymied in

its attempts to create a laptop based on the G5 microprocessor by IBM, because of the excessive heat of

the chip. Intel, on the other hand, has made chips for mobile devices one of its key focuses.

Write to Don Clark at [email protected]2, Nick Wingfield at [email protected]3 and William

M. Bulkeley at [email protected]4

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Guest stefanosanf

+ lungo, no?

bastava un riassunto rapido e magari una citazione della fonte per gli interessati

vero xadhoomx, ma visto che si è presentata la possibilità di vedere macchine apple-intel, è giusto parlarne

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Guest gennaro_mac

Il discorso G4 è davvero grottesco. Non solo non riescono a salire di clock con le cpu effettivamente disponibili sul mercato, ma non riescono neanche a lavorare su altri fronti. Il bus dei G4 è fermo da una vita a 167Mhz, hanno una quantità di cache di secondo livello ridicola :-(

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Guest stefanosanf

dice che jobs vuole una birra ghiacciata

grazie

so abbastanza l'inglese da capire cosa c'è scritto

se steve vuole una birra ghiacciata...

mandiamolo da maiota!

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+ lungo, no?

bastava un riassunto rapido e magari una citazione della fonte per gli interessati

vero xadhoomx, ma visto che si è presentata la possibilità di vedere macchine apple-intel, è giusto parlarne

GRAZIE!

Scusatemi vorrei aggiungere una cosa..perchè usare un nuovo kernel in Tiger quando si sa che si cambia architettura? La tecnologia altivec è profondamente, intrisicamente radicata dentro OSX senza quelle funzioni(che sono via hardware e non software) ad esempio il Finder tornerebbe ad essere una lumaca. Penso che commercialmente sarebbe un suicidio, IBM cosa se ne farebbe dei chip non in uso e FreeScale? Come minimo partirebbe una diatriba in tribunale...questo è ciò che penso io...scusatemi se mi sono intromesso.

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+ lungo, no?

bastava un riassunto rapido e magari una citazione della fonte per gli interessati

vero xadhoomx, ma visto che si è presentata la possibilità di vedere macchine apple-intel, è giusto parlarne

basta anche risparmiare i commenti.i tuoi.

la fonte non la ho.ho un pdf.e non devo giustificarmi credo.questo pezzo mi sembra interessante.tutto.o sono 3k ad infastidirti?

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Il discorso G4 è davvero grottesco. Non solo non riescono a salire di clock con le cpu effettivamente disponibili sul mercato, ma non riescono neanche a lavorare su altri fronti. Il bus dei G4 è fermo da una vita a 167Mhz, hanno una quantità di cache di secondo livello ridicola :-(

Sul discorso del Bus sono d'accordo, ma penso che invece 512 KB di cache sia una quantità giusta, al max 1MB, perchè guardando le prestazioni di CPu intel con oltre 2 MB L2(non pensiamo poi acose klingoniane tipo cache L3) iniziano a costare troppo scaldare troppo e le prestazioni non migliorano, anzi a volte peggiorano.

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Guest gennaro_mac

Sul discorso del Bus sono d'accordo, ma penso che invece 512 KB di cache sia una quantità giusta, al max 1MB, perchè guardando le prestazioni di CPu intel con oltre 2 MB L2(non pensiamo poi acose klingoniane tipo cache L3) iniziano a costare troppo scaldare troppo e le prestazioni non migliorano, anzi a volte peggiorano.

Mmmm, dissento :-) I nuovi centirno con 2mb vanno decisamente bene :-D

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Guest stefanosanf

basta anche risparmiare i commenti.i tuoi.

la fonte non la ho.ho un pdf.e non devo giustificarmi credo.questo pezzo mi sembra interessante.tutto.o sono 3k ad infastidirti?

chiedo scusa

era una roba kilometrica...

moi comprerò un mouse con rotella

contento?

così potrai postare anche per 3 pagine consecutive

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se stasera Jobs dovesse presentarsi sul palco e dopo aver parlato ovviamente di Tiger, potrebbe annunciare una collaborazione con Intel per un nuovo iPod e subito dopo annunciare i nuovi processori PPC di IBM a doppio nucleo a 2,5Ghz e 3Ghz, disponibili da fine estate...

Myname

Sperem...

Io un iMac intel-inside non me lo sogno neanche negli incubi peggiori...

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Mmmm, dissento :-) I nuovi centirno con 2mb vanno decisamente bene :-D

Perchè hanno una ottima architettura( che tra l'altro è quella del pentium 3 praticamente ahahahah) guarda il P4 Extreme Edition o comenonsocomesichiama. Spesso volentieri faceva delle figuracce. Si può avere una enorme cache, però se il processore non ha una buona unità di controllo ciao ciao. Poi oggi con un G5 che ha 1,35GHz di bus (spaventevole) serve ancora tutta quella cache( si lo so la ram è lenta però..)?

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