John Dvorak, a columnist for PC Magazine,
is predicting that Apple will switch to Intel chips in the next 12-18 months.
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The writer — who long ago in a galaxy far away was a Mac proponent — says what most Mac users already believe: that Apple hasn’t been happy about the speed with which Motorola is progressing on PowerPC performance. However, from there he takes a pretty big leap of faith and forecasts that Apple will switch to Intel’s Itanium chips. However, before going all-Intel, the company will release “hybrid” machines with both Motorola and Intel chips to bridge the changeover, he adds. Dvorak’s prediction is based on the following points: Pixar, Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “other” company, has switched from Sun workstations to Intel systems. An Itanium announcement would let Jobs “lord it over current PC makers with all sorts of performance claims.” Apple can optimize the OS X kernel for the Itanium to prevent “Mac clones” from being produced. Apple will have an ally in Intel, “who will put its design team to work for Apple and perhaps even invest in the company.”
Dvorak expects an announcement of Apple’s Intel initiative at either an upcoming Macworld Conference & Expo in New York or the Comdex trade show. Of course, the columnist is ignoring the fact that most pundits are expecting future Macs to sport IBM’s PowerPC 970 processor.
Unveiled on October 14, the PowerPC 970 is billed by IBM as a “lite” version of its own Power4 CPU, a design created for high-end server applications. The chip design features one processor core instead of the two found in the Power4. Though the chip uses a 64-bit architecture, it’s capable of running software designed for today’s 32-bit processors, as well.