Now this is some of the most interesting news from Apple in a while. Yesterday, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, they finally announced in public their long brewing plans to start shipping Macintosh computers using Intel chips.
Apple said they would start delivering some models in 2006 with a transition to Intel chips of the whole Macintosh line by the end of 2007. Steve Jobs, during his keynote address, previewed a version OS X Tiger running on machine with an Intel-based processor. He also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based development system along with a preview version of OS X that will allow developers to create versions of their applications that will run on both PowerPC processors and Intel-based Macintoshes. This is really significant because finally there might be hardware performance partity between PC and Mac, so people who prefer Mac will no longer have to give up performance for the Macintosh experience. Time will tell.
It’s been a while in the making and the speculation has been getting stronger and stronger. Serious hints of things to come were observed back in April of 2001 when it became clear that the open source community had been working to make Darwin (the Open Source core within Mac OS X) available for the Intel platform and then Darwin project leaders at Apple recognized this effort and created an official binary installer for the Intel platform. Every since this time there’s been lots of speculation of not if, but when, will Apple announce support for the Intel platform. This is exciting because if companies like Avid who are now significant development on the Intel platform can more easily port their applications to the Macintosh, we’ll see better Macintosh versions with less time lag, for example, Mac users are still waiting for Avid’s Xpress Pro HD.