Originally posted by Macfr3ak
I would like to know what's the position of "Programmer" regarding Apple's strategy?
Thanks. How can I turn down a request like that?
So how about now ? What's your feeling about the alliance between Apple and Intel? Why does Apple leave the IBM "Boat" so quick? x86 over PowerPC, is it a good move? In fact, just your own views about what is actually happening and so on....
Over at ArsTechnica.com John Siracusa wrote an article about his feelings on this transition, and it mirrors my own closely. To summarize:
I personally feel that the PowerPC ISA (and AltiVec in particular) is significantly better than the x86 ISA, and thus I am sad to see Apple dropping the use of it. Remember, however, that this is from a point of view that most users will never see -- the best ISA in the world isn't worth anything if there aren't implementations to back it up.
Apple knows a good deal more than we do about the processors coming available to them in the future. They obviously feel that IBM and Motorola's offerings going forward are not aimed at the personal computer market (IBM being concerned with game consoles & media processors, and Motorola with embedded systems and network processors -- neither of which are well suited to the portable and compact machines which are Apple's primary focus), while Intel's bed & butter has always been and continues to be the personal computer market. This means that, despite the hopeful blip represented by the 970, the PowerPC processor woes Apple has had since about '98 are going to continue. With this hardware transition Apple is throwing out any chance of getting ahead in terms of performance, but they have also thrown out the chance of falling behind... and if the chance of getting ahead has dropped to zero then this is the logical choice, isn't it?
History has shown repeatedly that Apple is better off adopting standards (when the standards meet their quality requirements) for key technologies rather than continuing to swim upstream. In the past PowerPC could compete in terms of performance or performance/watt, but it seems those days are past and Apple is now in a position to transition to the processor architecture which is currently leading. It will be interesting to see if they adopt Intel's chipset architecture(s) as well -- Apple has traditionally rolled their own, but they didn't (usually) have a choice because nobody was building top-notch chipsets for the processors they were using. With Intel that is decidedly not the case, and Apple can now reap the benefits by saving significant amounts of R&D. This is undoubtably why they didn't ask Intel for a PPC-flavor core (may be pesky patent issues there too)... it saves them R&D money which can then be spent on the software development, which they'll need to differentiate themselves from the Windows juggernaught.
In the short-term this is going to be (yet another) a painful transition for Apple and its developers. In the longer-term there are issues about whether developers will port to the Mac or just rely on WINE-like technologies. I don't know how those will play out, but it will be better than Apple once again falling farther and farther behind in terms of CPU performance.
The main question for me is, do I buy the last and greatest G5 PowerMac or do I hold onto my MDD for longer and buy a 2nd generation x86-based Mac? If they ship a dual 970MP then I'll probably go for that, otherwise I'll wait.
PS: 12 years (94..06) on the PPC "boat" is a long time in the computer industry. The 68K boat lasted (ignoring Lisa) from '84 to '94, which is only 10 years. Hopefully Intel will be the last boat Apple will have to ride because we're all pretty sick of these transitions.