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Article: Macs with Intel? Puhleeze.

by on May 23, 2005

As of right now, Apple’s stock is up about $1.98 (Thanks, Dashboard), and unless you’ve been under a rock, you can probably guess why. A quick check on MacSurfer’s Headline News reveals that almost every major Mac news site is reporting that rumors are flying that Apple might choose Intel to produce the chips for future Macs.

But what does this mean?

I think there are many reasons for this…although I think the the guys over at Open Source on ZDNet have touched on it the best. Apple might be checking out what other prospects exist, as IBM has not been able to keep up with its production numbers. Where was that 3GHz G5? It’s still not here.

Others think that this will be the instant magic wand that gives Apple the price and market share numbers that everyone on Wall Street wants. Well, the problem is that assumptions are popping up. Intel processors don’t necessarily mean cheap Macs. Apple already gets its PowerPC chips at a decent price from IBM and Motorola. It’s not just the chips that keep the price of a computer down – it’s everything else.

I see people missing the point on this. Apple/Intel rumors have appeared almost every year. Macs will not use x86 processors for the sole reason of compatibility. If Macs used x86 processors, what would happen to the millions of Mac users out there now? Although Apple is able to make transitions from 68k to PowerPC and OS 9 to OS X easy, thanks to emulation, this is a different beast. This would be comparable to a switch from PowerPC back to 68k.

Furthermore, I think that since the XBox 360 will be using 3.2GHz G5s, the G5 is not going anywhere. Besides, a lot of these are going to sell…some people have to have their Halo fix. Who is going to make all of those G5s?

Which leads me to three final ideas. Perhaps Apple is looking to Intel, who could use a customer like Apple, to make PowerPC chips. Intel does make RISC chips, so it’s not entirely out there. The other possibility would be Intel making iPod chips (since they do make the ARM processors for many handheld devices) for some high-powered iPod (perhaps to go with the video features in iTunes 4.8), or the hints of movies from iTunes or “something totally different and unique”. Of course, this could be just a wake-up call to IBM to improve its production capacity.

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