After getting deluged with e-mail from readers,
“Byte of the Apple” columnist Charles Haddad said he’s
having second thoughts
about putting Intel CPUs in future Macintosh designs.
Apple lacks leverage with Motorola to get faster, more robust PowerPC chips built, claimed Haddad. He said that Apple isn’t their biggest customer for the chips, and Motorola is more focused on the cell-phone market than they are on CPU designs.
Haddad suggested that Apple has the technical know-how to do a switch to the Pentium architecture, because they did it before when they migrated from 68000 based processors to PowerPCs in the mid-90s. And it could be done so without threatening Apple’s lucrative hardware business, since Mac OS X could continue to run on Pentium-based Macs without being able to run on Intel-based PCs.
Haddad doesn’t overlook the effect this would have on software developers, however. A Pentium-based Mac would still require reengineering of software applications. So soon on the heels of the effort that went into making Mac OS X-native applications, Mac developers might be gunshy about making another huge move. “And without software support, the Mac would truly be dead,” he said.
“Still, a Pentium-based Mac is an intriguing idea. And apparently, it has growing support — not only within the Mac community but in the corridors of Apple itself,” he concluded.