Apple is dumping its PowerPC processors and replacing them with chips from Intel to save on production costs. The move was announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in the US this week.
Apple said Macintoshes equipped with the Intel processors would be shipped from next June, and that all Macs would carry Intel chips from the end of 2007. By taking advantage of Intel’s much higher chip production volumes Apple should benefit from lower manufacturing costs.
The announcement may also result in a selling frenzy within Apple channels, with dealers aiming to offload Macs equipped with the outgoing PowerPC processors, as advanced Apple users look to adopt the next big thing in the Apple environment.
Some Apple houses may consider waiting until next year to buy any new Macs, as the channel may come up with some Mac bargains that rely on PowerPC processors.
Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple's software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.
"Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far," said Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs.
"It's been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years," he said.
"We are thrilled to have the world's most innovative personal computer company as a customer," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
"Apple helped found the PC industry and throughout the years has been known for fresh ideas and new approaches. We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies and to collaborating on new initiatives, to help Apple continue to deliver innovative products for years to come," he said.
"We plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors," said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft's Macintosh business unit.
"We have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform," said Ho.
"We think this is a really smart move on Apple's part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors," said Bruce Chizen, Adobe CEO.
The Developer Transition Kit is available now for £540. Intel plans to provide development tools support for Apple later this year, including the Intel C/C++ Compiler for Apple, Intel Fortran Compiler for Apple, Intel Math Kernel Libraries for Apple and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives for Apple.