Daring Fireball: I’ll See You Intel — Not to gloat but I last suggested this in 2001 then found out about this deal actually beginning in 2003. Of course the poor Mac community has been in denial about it, for reasons unknown to me, since the beginning. And I had to take a lot of flak for even writing about the possibility let alone asserting that this was actually a done deal two years ago. Apple just had to keep it under wraps so they could develop middleware for the change-over. I’ll be discussing this in more detail in this week’s PC Magazine and Marketwatch columns. I don’t mean to point any fingers but I’m definitely going to highlight some of the mean comments in the PC Mag forum dropped in by the Mac users. And I might cite a few of the blowhards online who went on and on about how and why this couldn’t happen. Of course, knowing about a deal and extrapolating is different than just blowing smoke because you simply don’t like what “Dvorak” says when he chats up the Mac are two different things.

In fact when this issue again emerged last month the Apple mavens were all claiming it was about 802.11 or something as if they knew anything when they did not. It was all based on supposition and wishful thinking. What still baffles me is why so many Mac mavens do not see the advantages of such a change. I sure see it.

A couple of things I will mention. This sort of deal doesn’t happen overnight. So the supposed scoop of the WSJ a month ago seems a little behind the curve. This is not a spur of the moment idea.

So this one’s going to have a short lifespan, given that come Monday’s WWDC keynote, all of this weekend speculation is moot. But, come on, how can I resist?

Late Friday — 4 5 pm Pacific %u2014 CNet published an article by reporter Stephen Shankland, and the title pretty much said it all: “Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips”.
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On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal seconded CNet’s story. You need a paid subscription to read it, but Paul Thurrott who has been writing about this for weeks has an excerpt.

It’s essential to note that neither CNet nor the Journal are reporting this as a rumor. Two weeks ago, when the Journal first published something about this, they left themselves several outs: the only thing they reported as having happened for certain is that Apple had met with Intel and was considering the switch. They explicitly mentioned that talks could fall through; thus, regardless if it panned out, they could claim the article was accurate.

This time, however, both CNet and the Journal are reporting this as a fait accompli. Both reports flatly state that Apple is moving the entire Mac platform to Intel processors, and Jobs is announcing it Monday at the WWDC keynote.



  1. Mike Voice says:

    My favorite part of the article:

    “What this means is that something extraordinary must occur: either Apple is going to announce the biggest hardware transition in company history (and, arguably, industry history), or, two well-respected news organizations have committed enormous blunders.”

    I don’t care, either way, but it will be fun to watch. :)

    I’m apparently one of the few Mac users who isn’t bothered by the thought of this transition taking place – if it does – but part of me is also suspicious of the timing – which is sure to draw massive attention to Apple’s event.

  2. Bryan B. says:

    I’ve long suspected that Apple will be using Transitive Corporation’s middleware to make this move. Do you know anything about it?

  3. Miles says:

    I don’t see it. I mean, I see the advantage of Apple going with Intel processors: they have a wide range of product, it’s their core business, etc. I think that they could do it, they’ve hinted on several occasions that they continue to build test OS X on Intel.

    Apple has made a big investment in the PowerPC and I can’t see them flushing all of that away. The PowerPC platform seems to really be picking up speed right now. Microsoft recently decided build the new XBox around the PowerPC, as did Nintendo. Plus, lets not forget the difficulty in getting developers on board; no matter what, finely tuned applications like Photoshop will need more than recompilation to work well on another architecture.

    We’ll see Monday. If Apple announces a switch, I’ll eat my hat!

  4. Monty says:

    It makes complete sense. Apple primarily sells laptops and portable players, and the PPC architecture is built for desktops. It is a superior design, but the inability of IBM to get a next-gen chipset for Apple-sized laptops is one of the primary reasons.

    The other is that Apple is in a rush to fight Sony for a portable movie player. With Intel’s latest DRM-on-a-chip, it is a perfect match for getting the MPAA to play along with an iFlicks store. The question presently only is whether Apple can get there in time to fight Sony, who is also well on the way to having theirs.

    What this has NOTHING to do with is making OS X a platform for converting WinTel systems. If Jobs were to announce that he was going to fight Windows with a OS X for Intel, that WOULD be surprising. Simply changing the base chipset to a Pentium D is not a surprise.

    –Monty

  5. Randy says:

    WOW. If this is true, Jobs is going to have to explain very carefully to his Mac minions why he is doing this. It will be like daddy expaining to his children why he and mommy are getting a divorce and why this is a good thing!

  6. Bildo says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think Apple’s about to make a market share grab very soon?

  7. If true which I believe it is… this is goingto put M$ into absolute convulsions!

    This would be that within one year… right about the time FogHorn is to be released Apple could potentially have an INTEL compatible version fo OS X on the market and also at a time when M$ will be fighting toe to toe with SONY, and Nintendo on the game console battlefield.

    M$ stands to lose a substancial portion of their market and game console funding profits virtually overnight. I would suspect that Apple has emulators and other middleware that will make it very easy for current Windows users to switch.

    I remember reading a story that quoted Steve Jobs as saying that Apple had been working on an INTEL compatible version of Apple’s OS since they started working on the BSD based version called Marklar!

    I think Apple is about to play end game with M$ and INTEL is going to help them load the gun!

    This is definitely going to be fun to watch!

  8. Timothy says:

    I don`t see why Mac users aren`t happy about the move to Intel. Faster processors with much more upside than IBM could offer a Mac user.IBM doesn`t have anything comparable to the Centrino package from Intel for use in notebooks. I`m sure this weighed in on the decision to go with Intel. Also, they might be able to use AMD`s dual core 64 bit Athlons, and really see a big performance boost. Mac users will realize there is more choice with the PC architechture. Also, I`m sure Steve is looking forward to selling FREE BSD,oops…I mean os X…to any PC user that wants to try it out.That would put a lot more cash in his pocket and keep Apple alive.

  9. Hal Jordan says:

    Hmm. An Intel compatible Mac OS will just make it easier to boot up a patch that would make the OS available for all PCs. But that’s a good thing because it will increase the number of Mac users like the school kids who will graduate and eventually earn Mac budgets.

  10. Jussi says:

    John, I hate to correct you, but you did not suggest this last time in 2001 but in march 2003, you stated that the switch will happen in 12 to 18 months, it did not. There is no indication this possible switch has no connection to your past prediction. Well hear the specifics today if the switch takes place, personally I’m with Gruber, there’s some big piece missing of the puzzle just switching to x86 does not make sense.

    Right now it seems that if one predicts much one is correct now and then, I wouldn’t be too happy about your average, given that we all use mouses :)

  11. Jussi says:

    Another thing, In your PC Magazine prediction in 2003 you were saying that Apple will switch to using Itanium chips, will this happen is still to be seen.

  12. site admin says:

    Actually in 2001 I was “advocating” and in 2003 I was “predicting.” The predicition, if course, based on real meetings between the two companies. I had been advocating dumping the PPC since around 1995 maybe longer. It was a theme. But once I got wind of the Intel meetings and the feuds with Moto and IBM then it became logical and predictable. As for my assertions regarding the Itanium, I still think it would have been a bolder move, but it’s obvious that that time has passed. In fact it’s possible that the Itanium was considered and because of the failure of the chip to get traction it may have resulted in this delayed announcement and a strategy switch.

  13. You on second thought and with a bit more infromation from Apple I personally don’t think this is very big news.

    What’s the really big news is that once again Apple has missed the frickin’ boat so bad its almost laughable.

    Apple switches to INTEL… away spending years and millions trying to convince the average Windows users their PCs ad OS are better.

    Apple steals the best of BSD and makes it a proprietary OS and they STILL don’t sell anymore PC…

    Apple launches a stripped down version of its highly vaulted PCs – MAC mini – with all but a giant thud! Even at $700 Windows users still don’t bite! And WHY you might ask?

    Well Mr. Jobs – IT’S ABOUT THE SOFTWARE DUMBIE!

    Listen, no matter how powerful and easy Apple claimed it’s PCs were Windows users were not switching by the millions because they would have to buy whole new versions of practically every software application they owned… errr or borrowed!

    So it’s not about what’s faster, better or cheaper… its about what it will cost an average Windows user to stitch.

    And even with the INTEL inside Apple has made it very clear current INTEL users will NOT be able to install Apple’s UNIX baseb OS X.

    THUD! Way da go Steve!

    It seems to me that Steve Jobs doesn’t really have the metal to take Microsoft on after all… yeah sure he gets up on the stage a few times a year and blathers on about how innovative and cool Apple is but in the end he doesn’t have the balls to take MS on. If he did he’d offer OS X to the masses and let them decide!

    Chicken shit!

  14. AB CD says:

    A similar thing happened with OS/2 users castigating Will Zachmann for suggesting on Usenet that IBM was discontinuing OS/2.