In his latest Byte of the Apple column for BusinessWeek Online, Alex Salkever talks about the possibility of a
Salkever predicts that we’re still 6 to 10 months out from seeing a PowerBook equipped with some variant of IBM’s PowerPC 970 chip, the CPU that serves as the heart of the Power Mac G5.
Salkever said that several factors are falling into Apple’s favor regarding the future of the G5: “IBM is barreling ahead full-speed” with improved chip designs, and the company is also developing “a broader customer base” for its PowerPC products than Motorola ever has.
Salkever admits that both IBM and Apple are mum on the prospects of the G5 in a laptop configuration. “Existing versions of the G5 chips can’t run in laptops because they generate too much heat and consume too much energy,” he added.
Salkever points to IBM’s efforts to make the PowerPC 970 chip work in blade servers — introduced last November — as one important milestone towards the development of lower-power, lower-heat G5 processors that could ultimate be put in a laptop (or, as Salkever notes, in a future Apple Xserve design). He also points to production improvements at the facility where IBM makes the PowerPC 970.