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WWDC: Apple drops IBM PowerPC line for Intel chips

At its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today, Apple announced plans to begin delivering models of its Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors by June 2006, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a Mac OS X Tiger system running on an Intel-based Mac to the audience of developers attending Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address.

The move marks a major shift for Apple, which has long relied on PowerPC chips from IBM to drive its computers. To help with the switch, 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 Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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.”

“We are thrilled to have the world’s most innovative personal computer company as a customer,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. “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.”

Third party developers, including Microsoft, announced support of the transition following Jobs’ announcement.

“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 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, CEO of Adobe.

The Developer Transition Kit is available starting today for $999 to all Apple Developer Connection Select and Premier members at Apple’s Developer Connection website. Intel plans to provide industry leading 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.

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