Apple's switch to Intel !

6 July 2005, 5:02 am ISTFiled under: Technology

You must have read in online news site, newspapers and many blogs that Apple would be switching to Intel chips from late next year. Although most of the business analyst have been saying this for years that it would help Apple to switch to Intel, but still the timing of this was a little surprise.

But I guess I have commend Steve Jobs for laying the transition roadmap from IBM to Intel both a clear and well in advance, which would a clarity for both the apple customers and the developers. Taking up the case for the consumers, it is good for customers that Apple has come out well in advance, which would prepare 'psychological' shift in customer. Some analyst do feel in short term the sales of apple may be affected because it would create a confusion in customer whether to buy now or wait till next year. Well, I say if you need it now, get it now. Its not like that Apple will stop supporting the old plateform once the new plateform is out. PCs usually have a shelf life 3~5 years (atleast in my view) and you have to upgrade it once in 2 years or so to keep up with the current hardware. But current processors have reached a limit in terms of the MHz or GHz they can reach in one core (I mean producing commerically viable manufacturing solutions), that is why chip companies are moving towards the dual-core or multi-core processors, as it is much more commerically viable to manufactures these multi-core technologies using the current manufacturing faciities.

So, if you need a Mac, go and buy it now, because it will last you 3 years, that is if you want to keep it for that long. As far as memory, hard disk and other components are concerned, you can upgrade them later on.

Then there are blogs coming out as to what was the real reason to switch from IBM to Intel. One of them is an article from ArsTechnia: Inside the big switch: the iPod and the future of Apple Computer.

What about IBM ? How would this effect the IBM processor line ?
Well I don't see any major effect on the IBM processor line in medium to long term, as their chips in their server line and super computers have more than satisfied the tech requirement of the customers and enterprises. From next year IBM probably have a very negligble market share of the desktop PCs. To offset this they are already working on with a combination of PowerPC chips and Linux OS in countries like China where prices dictate the volume and piracy is rampant.

On the bright side, IBM is developing the 'Cell' processor to be used in next gen PS3 and other applicances from Sony, etc. This would fill the gap left by Apple processors. It would not only fill the gap but would also provide them much larger volumes (if you have a look at the response to already successful PS2) than Apple could have given them in long run!

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Amit Arora is web developer with expertise in developing eCommerce enabled websites for the businesses.

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