June 10, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

Developers get taste of Intel-based Macs

In late-night sessions this week, Apple developers have been getting their first look at how much work they have ahead to convert their programs to run on Intel-based Macs.

After announcing the big shift on Monday, Apple Computer has offered developers an early chance to get their bearings, with labs of Intel-based Macs up and running at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The labs were open until 9 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday and until midnight Tuesday.

And though Apple won't start selling Intel-based Macs to customers until sometime next year, the Mac maker is leasing test machines to developers for $999 starting this month.


What's new:
Following Steve Jobs' recent announcement of plans to move the Mac to Intel chips, developers of software for the Mac are getting their first chance to see how much work will be involved in updating their programs.

Bottom line:
For many developers, the move may be less jarring than past transitions, though for some it necessitates a shift to Apple's developer tools.

More stories on this topic

Fetch Software president Jim Matthews said his company has been through past transitions, including the mid-'90s shift from Motorola's 68000 family of chips to PowerPC processors and the more recent move from OS 9 to OS X. Matthews said he appreciates the advance notice Apple is giving developers this time around.

"Apple is giving us plenty of time and hardware we can test on, which wasn't the case the last time," Matthews said.

For developers, the amount of work needed to make their code ready for next year's arrival of Intel-based Macs varies considerably. For Mac programs that are fairly new, written after the arrival of Mac OS X in Apple's Cocoa environment, the changes can be made in a matter of hours, or even less in some cases.

"We've already ported our app to Intel," said Wil Shipley, CEO of Delicious Monster Software. "All we had to do was click one button. It took about 40 seconds. It ran perfectly on the sneak-preview Intel Macs here at WWDC."

But for others, the changes will be more complex. For those whose applications were developed prior to Mac OS X and then "carbonized" to run natively in OS X, the work is somewhat more involved. If developers have used Apple's Xcode tools, it is still only a matter of weeks, at most, Apple said. But, if developers used tools from Metrowerks, they must first bring their code over to Apple's tools and then begin the work of tweaking the software for Intel's chips.

Microsoft is among those in that last camp. Both Virtual PC and Office for Mac were developed in Carbon, using tools from Metrowerks. Microsoft said it doesn't know how much work it has ahead of itself.

"That's one of the main things our developers are looking at," said Scott Erickson, group product manager for Microsoft's Macintosh

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Good things to hear
Although this article may have focussed on the more optomistic
stories, it's nice to hear things are being taken well by
developers. Apple now needs to make it's plans widely and
clearly known so that people 'don't freak out and stop buying'.
There is a lot of confusion out there right now (i.e. Apple will
stop supporting code compliance with the PowerPC in a year, OS
X will run on any common Intel or AMD system, etc.) that could
do with being set straight. I'll do my part here though. Apple is
not going into the software business, OS X will not run on your
Dell PC, PowerPC Macs still have a long and fruitful life ahead of
them - so, if you need one now, buy it now! I'm just off to look
at a new PowerMac myself.......

I do feel bad and saddend about the high performance groups
though (like Virgina Tech), who evaluated Intel and AMD and
went Apple because of Altivec. I fear they won't make the
transistion, instead opting for IBM Power servers. That said, can
anyone tell me if Altivec is part of the Power series of chips? I
seem to remember that being added to the 970 chips solely for

Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A verbal commitment will go a long way.
It would do Apple wonders to guarantee how much longer the
PowerPC chips will be supported: a healthy five-ten year
commitment would keep sales strong for the next two years.
Writing new programs for both chips seems simple ("You just
click this little box"), so costs shouldn't be an issue; unless there
is incompatibility between two machines using different types of
processors things should go smooth.

Ten years has proven to be a long time the electronics world,
but computers are getting to a point were they are good enough
for most people. It is likely that we will see a drop in sales over
the next few years as a result of competent computers in order
to keep profit up it would be wise for Apple to still have there
software available for older machines. They really don't loose
anything by keeping the PowerPC compatibility going.
Posted by notagumshoe (44 comments )
Link Flag
Not too big a deal...
Most of the people that are using Xserve don't
use the GUI and frequently use very little that
is OS/X specific at all (VirginiaTech is a good
example). These groups can simply recompile the
code for Linux on PowerPC, Altivec instructions
and all, and simply convert to a Linux-based
solution. Heck, there's even Linux Xgrid support
these days...

This will take some technical acumen to pull
off, but these groups are very interested in
performance, and Linux does perform notably
better on Apple PPC systems than Mac OS/X (if
for no other reason than the elimination of the
microkernel "middleman").
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
Stop the FUD. Switch will not diminish Altivec at VT
This gradual transition will do nothing to diminish the speed and
value of those machines they have now at Virgina Tech. You
chicken Little's are forgetting that Intel based machines are not
shipping until June of next year and that new/current software
will be compiled as a universal binary. Their entire line will not
convert until the end of 2007.

Of course, none of this matters for VT because they are running
custom software on their clusters.

Stop the FUD already.
Posted by aristotle_dude (165 comments )
Link Flag
U would B correct
IBM did add Altivec for Apple.
Posted by jmmejzz (107 comments )
Link Flag
Office and Virtual PC and not Cocoa. The writer meant to say
Posted by chabig83 (535 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cocoa carbon confusion
The author completely reversed cocoa and carbon. In the beginning he says carbon apps developed after Mac OS X introduction will be eay to port - that should be cocoa. Also, carbon apps are harder to port because they owe their origins to Mac OS 9.
Posted by bommai (172 comments )
Link Flag
Consumers' Cost
What about the Mac users? What about the cost to them? If you
want to stay on top of the latest architecture, you will have to re-
invest in your major software purchases. Many went through this
when they switched from OS 9 to OS X, now to do it all over again?
You may see many more Mac users staying with their PPC machines
for a longer time. I know of several people that have never moved
over to OS X due to the software upgrade.
Posted by jtarheel (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
if upgrades are expensive..
... then stay with what you have. It will stll run as good as it ever
did. This is true even for the Mac Plus's and 8088 PC's. But with
time comes improvement, and for some, the improvement is
worth the cost.

For the Mac/Intel, the processor shift is not an upgrade as far as
the current users are concerned. Old apps and new apps will run
just fine on the Mac/PPC, thanks to the Universal Binary
application form for new apps. And when you do move to a new
Mac/Intel computer, it will likely come with Rosetta, so that OS X
apps in PPC code will work just fine on the Mac/Intel. And with
the increasing processor speed likely to existt hen, it will run
virtually as fast as it ever did.

But, you will have to say good bye to OS 9 apps, unless you keep
the Mac/PPC around when you move to the Mac/Intel (That
happens, I still have a Mac Se/30 running, just for the heck of it.
And there are Quadras, and 6100 and 7100 PowerPC's, 6400
Performas (with 400 Mhz G3 cards), and a range of G4 models
incli=uding a Mac Mini. I don't throw much away ;-)).
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Won't affect me at all.
Seeing how most of the daily software I use (Mail, iTunes, Safari,
Pages, iCal) is written by Apple this transition doesn't affect me
Posted by rodnarms (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's such a shame...
If Sean is right about OS X not running on other Intel PC's, then Apple marginalizes itself out of business. If Sean's wrong, then Apple is going to be targeting the mass PC market, & if they want to be a supplier of great softwaare for everyone else, then more power to them! I just hope it is the latter, & Apple has seen the light as far as their true competiton is concerned. It's not going to be a fun ride for PPC users, but I hope that Apple will see that they need to compete & win against Windows. Sun, Linux, & BSD/Unix have all been trying to do it. Unfortunately, not with all the successes they had hoped for. Now is the time to strike at the soft underbelly of M$ & win...that is if they don't marginalize themselves!
Posted by Jon N. (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple remains "Apple;" same for the OS
Apple isn't marginalizing themselves out of anything. Apple remains "Apple;" the only computer manufacturer capable of any real innovation, the only computer company creating products like the iPod and a 2" thick deskop iMac.

Likewise, OS X will remain "OS X" - no matter what CPU it runs on. These relatively quick software transitions are good news for Apple. We're not expecting Apple to become the next Dell (or Gateway or Microsoft for that matter). Apple computers appeal to a special segment of consumers and professionals.

Consumers "in the know" and professionals whose preferred tools run on Apple computers will always choose the Mac as a more secure and stable OS to work with. Consumers who simply want a bare-bones box or a gaming monster will go with a PC. Same goes for professionals who are stuck with apps that won't run on anything but Windows.
Posted by sanjef (31 comments )
Link Flag
Sean is correct, just ask...
Apple VP Phil S. OS X will NOT run on anything other than
Apple-branded hardware. Sure, the open source community will
work to make such a thing happen, and they may just get there,
but when some driver doesn't work, don't expect to call up
Apple and say hey, why isn't this working?

Personally, I don't see Apple marginalizing itself anymore than it
has in the past. In fact, I see the opposite. Now, you can have
elegant design, OS X and if you need, MS Windows, on the same
machine - provided someone does the dirty work of making
Windows run well. I've never really understood those who say 'if
only I could try out OS X on my machine', did you go try out
Windows on your machine? Did you try out Linux on your
machine? Did you try out BeOS on your machine? Or, did you
walk into the store and buy what they had and what you know?.
Anyone I have met who has tried OS X has said the same first
line - "wow, this is going to save me so much time' and didn't
need a trial time. If you want to try out OS X, go find someone
with it and ask to borrow their PowerBook (if they can, they will
loan it to you for the weekend - I have). Either way, now you
have no exciuse, buy the Mac, if you hate OS X (it could happen),
wipe it and run Windows on it.
Posted by (20 comments )
Link Flag
You are not a mac user.
I'm guessing that you are just a PC user that likes to come into mac
based stories and spread FUD. If you were a mac user you would
have known the answers to your stupid questions.

Your questions have been asked and answered thousands of times
already "and" Apple officials have already been quoted answering

Nice try troll boy.
Posted by aristotle_dude (165 comments )
Link Flag
I'm sure most developers will release updates that do have universal binaries, so in case you DO buy a new system, your old registration codes will work.

It's not going to be hard for us. I was very worried at first, but if this gets us much faster machines than IBM is willing to help us get, and the developers are doing their job to create universal binaries, whether you stay with the POWERPC enabled machiens for a few years or get a enw Intel machine, you will be quite alright.

Widgets, Java apps, lots of scripts will not need porting. Altivec will have to be ported over somehow... But everything else I'm betting will make it over easy. Anything that's been built in the last 3-4 years probably.
Posted by (461 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm suprised you did not link to www.irecompile.com they are
also offering the service for $100 dollars and I believe they were
first! Give them a look!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All the best to Apple! But please don't be pessimistic towards Microsoft!

I wish Apple,all the best!I appreciate them.
Apple machines are beautiful!

But please don't be pessimistic towards Microsoft.
Microsoft's Windows operating system is very user friendly and even people who are not so much into computers can figure out how to use it and the penetration of Windows is so much all over the world.

What we need is variety,we should be happy that there is Apple,Microsoft,Dell etc.Apple should try to tap the market of non-techies more.

Anil Alias(a lover of technology).
Posted by anilalias (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why not?
I think that people have a right to be
pessimissitc about Microsoft.

Windows may be easy for the non-technical to
use, but most would agree that Apple's easier
still in that regard (though not perfect). And,
frankly, if you run a Linux distribution that
targets the desktop (like Xandros, or even
Mandrake), it's no different with respect to
ease of use than the various versions of Windows
out there -- regardless what the nay sayers like
to say.

The point is that Apple's the only one of the
lot that aims their machines at the consumer.

Where Linux aims depends on who's boxing it up.
Linux itself is aimed at those that can package
it neatly for others or mold it into whatever
they want. While there may distributions aimed
at consumers, the OS itself is aimed at the

Microsoft aims for the business. Home users are
nice, but they're small potatoes and the only
reason they might be of interest is if they
bring their work home or their OS to work.
Businesses aren't looking for wildly new
technology or glitz, they are looking
predicatable cost schedules, published
best-practices, a huge supplier with product on
hand, and something that works (at least
somewhat) with what they got. It means gobs of
cash while having to spend minimal amounts on
R&D (if someone comes up with something, you can
copy it or buy it), or customer service.

If you want to be pessimistic, you'd say that
Microsoft's found itself in a world where
software is pretty easily crafted and there's a
huge base to build on. Microsoft's offerings are
rapidly becoming less unique and sometimes
cumbersome and primitive compared to their
counterparts (IE, Windows MediaPlayer, the
Windows Explorer, MS SQL server, IIS, etc.).

The value of their products is evaporating
because of saturation and a distinct lack of
(meaningful) evolution with regard to business

I don't doubt Microsoft will be around in 30
years, but if they are, I can't see how office
suites and operating systems can remain as their
sole profit-generating divisions.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
Who cares if it is user friendly?

It is totally unsecure out of the box, and the targetted home users won't know how to tighten it up. And in the off chance that he does, windows is still more unsecure then the default installs of OSX or Linux.

On the business side, how many billions of dollars have been lost because of these same issues and poor patching system?

Microsoft deserves, scratch that, has earned all the scorn and contempt that is get, and more.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
You are a windows fanboy.
I'm a developer of windows software at work. I have every right to
criticize the tools I have to use at work to develop software for
windows and the OS itself.

I'm also a mac user at home. I think you will find that many mac
users are switchers who work in IT and work on windows more (40
+ hours) than we do on macs.
Posted by aristotle_dude (165 comments )
Link Flag
Consumers want to keep up with the Joneses?
Intel macs are at least a year from now. Why should a
"consumer" care if he/she has the latest? I have news for you.
When you buy an x86 computer, your purchase is not the latest
and greatest within months.

Nobody is holding a gun to your head to switch but why are you
worrying about something that is more than a year away?

Haven't you read about how software will be compiled as
universal binaries and Leopard (due in late 2006 or 2007) will
support PPC macs?
Posted by aristotle_dude (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who really...
gives a rat fart, by a Macintel strip it and load Linux, or run some wild kindom cat version you have until 2007 to make up your mind. But I'll stay with my G4 until then
Posted by furian (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Someone Play Taps To Apple
To me if they do make the switch and only sell Intell
based machines there goes the creativity of being on
top of the market with their unique designs ie: the iMac,
the G5 And Most of all the iPod. These were all
oringinally built wit Mac Hardware. Unless they are
doing like Linux is doing. There is more than one
different types of Linux. to run on Intel Based Macs and
Power PC Macs. Maybe the are saying: "Hey Here Is
Another OS to run on Intel Machines instead of
Microsofts and thier problens with security holes. Who
knows what is in Apple's Busness Plans?
Posted by larryennis18466 (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree
I don't think that someone should play taps for Apple, but I think that Apple's decisions have condemned them to remain a niche player forever. Consider the following:

* If Apple allows the OS to run on any vanilla flavored x86 or x86-64 box
* Has a strong Windows emulation layer so that the apps can't really tell it's not on a Windows machine and at least run the MS Office suite
* A strong promotional program to explain the security benefits of running OSX in the media, as well as a 'bring in an infected Windows machine, get 50% off the price of the OS' promotion (maybe this could be a downloaded program that talks to Apples web site and emails you a coupon?)
* Sell the OS for no more than $150 before discounting
* Start negotiating with OEM so that it can be had as a pre-loaded option at a marginal cost greater than Windows

Apple would sell millions of copies of the OS, wouldn't they? We just might be seeing Apple kill off Microsoft's dominance on the desktop. I know that I'm tired of all the patching, viruses, worms, trojans and instability problems associated with the MS OSs. Something like this and I just might dump MS OS, and go with Apple's.

The one thing that everyone seems to be missing is that it's not the OS, it's what applications it'll run for you and how well. I for one, do not look forward to replacing all the application software just to run a new OS. Forcing me to would just kill the whole deal. So the Windows application emulation is, in my mind at least, a requirement for the immediate future. Once the application repurchasing cycle starts, then I'll buy the Apple versions.

I'm not sure what Microsoft would do with such a direct assault in the market. They couldn't change their application so that they'd not run on Apple, they did that with Windows 3.1 and Digital Research's DR DOS, and were found guilty. What else could they do? MS'd have to release a better OS product to compete.

So by not opening the hardware and controlling of the hardware, Apple will continue to be a niche player, as the hardware that'll run their software is minuscule compared to the all the beige boxes that are out there.

Granted, some Joe Users will not see the difference and won't migrate. Some of the people directly affected by the poorly implemented security of the MS OSs will be more inclined to go with a better solution, and I'm sure be willing to pay a little bit more for it. I know that I would, and I'm sure that there are number of business IT departments that look at the cost of chasing down infections and malware vs. a little bit more for the OS could make a compelling business case to their leadership.

Just think how much money and market (or mind) share that Apple could steal away from MS if even 10% of the buying decisions went their way.
Posted by InetUser (28 comments )
Link Flag
Apple and Intel Sitting on a Tree...
Apple and Intel Sitting on a Tree...

By Charles Jo
Senior Appleologist, CharlesJo.com
Rev. June 12, 2005 05:54PM PST

Forget Tom Cruz and his new and barely legal girlfriend. Or Brad Pitt and Lara Croft. The hottest couple of this summer is Apple and Intel. After years of bad-mouthing the Santa Clara-based Nelson of the chip sector, Jobs announced last week that Apple and Intel had been secretly dating for 5 years and now are comfortable enough about their relationship to announce to the world their commitment to each other. When asked about the future of the Cupertino-based computer company, Jobs said,"People want better user experience. So, with the hardware giant working on the [air quotes] exciting stuff, I would like to focus Apple's resources to the really really important stuff."
"The logo is our first priority. People love our Apple logo but I've got some neat ideas to take this to a new level that'll really make people go, 'Wow! Now that is a symbol that rappers would be proud to wear.' Watch out Mercedes. And come on, do you really want to be seen wearing a Dell logo? It's like you're advertising to the entire world that you eat at McDonalds and shop at Walmart." He then took a sip of bottled water, adjusted his Freudian spectacles, and continued,"Next on our list is the screensaver. Apple is at the top of the screensaver technology with the fades and zooms so why improve, you ask?" Before I could respond, he answered his own question with another question,"Why not? It's only a matter of time before the Windows folks and Linux folks copy me but by then, I'll have the next screensaver technology ready and BAM! I am on top again. Seriously, this is really important stuff to people. When you walk away from your workstation and your screensaver starts, you want your cubicle neighbors to turn green with envy and our R&D shows that Apple screensavers are excellent ways to increase social ranking in any corporation. Lastly, our commercials are going to so rock you. We are neck to neck with Sony and Budweiser right now and our future commercials will alter the way you view the universe." Jobs then leaned back and pushed a button on a remote control whereupon a giant white screen descended from the ceiling and in parallel, a podium rose from the floor. He insisted that this one-on-one interview continue with him standing at the podium.

Related links:
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Blatant plug:

(c) 2005 CharlesJo.com
Posted by CharlesJo.com (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yawn.. another intel apple story
So what do we have now? About 4 per day on the same subject?

Kieran Mulen
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hypervisor anyone?
Now if I were Apple, I'd be working on a version of MacOS X with hypervisor (e.g. Xen) support asap. Just think, the ability to run MacOS X and Windows simultanously on an Intel based Mac. How cool would that be?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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