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Sources: Intel developing next-generation Power Mac for Apple

post #1 of 348
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In a move that may surprise some Apple watchers, reliable sources tell AppleInsider the Mac maker has contracted the design duties for its next-generation Power Mac motherboard over to industry heavyweight Intel Corp.

Specifically, sources said Intel's facilities in Oregon picked up the project in late-October after Apple sought the chip maker's help in meeting deadlines associated with its accelerated transition from PowerPC processors to Intel chips.

Around the same time, Intel quietly formed an "Apple Group" comprised of both engineers and sales staff, several of which are rumored to have been assigned to the Power Mac project.

With Apple moving aggressively to introduce four Intel-based Mac models in the first four months of 2006 -- iMacs, 15-inch PowerBooks, 13-inch widescreen iBooks and Mac minis -- resources at the company's Cupertino, Calif.- based engineering labs have worn thin, sources said.

By enlisting the help of Intel to design (and possibly manufacture) the Power Mac motherboard, Apple hopes to remain on track to begin shipping the first Intel Power Mac models during the third quarter of 2006, sources added.

It's likely, but not confirmed, that the new Power Macs will adopt Intel's next-generation desktop processor, code-named Conroe, also expected to ship around the same time. Unlike Intel's Pentium 4 processors and derivatives, Conroe will not use the company's NetBurst architecture and instead will be based on a completely new architecture, sources say.

Apple's decision to work with Intel Oregon on the Power Mac design may also have its costs benefits. Mark Margevicius, an analyst for Gartner Research, said any effort by Apple to pass-off its motherboard designs to Intel would help reduce the costs to manufacturer Macs and result in lower prices for the consumer.

"Intel has done exactly this for the Wintel world several times over, and the benefits from a manufacturing cost have been huge," Margevicius told AppleInsider. The analyst believes Apple has had pressure exerted on its desktop systems from a manufacturing cost perspective, and has finally realized that the real differentiation is at the operating system and software levels. "While cool white boxes are attractive and desirable, they are becoming more and more tough to justify compared to a plain-ol PC," he said.

"While I have no insight how much this will save Apple, lets not also forget that Intel also offers marketing dollars (several hundred million, if Im not mistaken) to [computer manufacturers] who display the 'Intel Inside,' 'Pentium,' and 'Centrino' logos on their hardware," Margevicius added. "I would expect Apple to do the same."

However, other analysts wonder how the traditionally tight-lipped Apple will maintain control of its designs, plans and intellectual property once in the hands of Intel.

"The risk with this strategy is that it could make the Power Mac more 'open' than other systems as Intel's specs could be published for others to follow," said one Wall Street analyst who provides coverage on Apple, but asked not to be identified. "It'll be interesting how Apple retains its proprietary architecture -- which I assume will be more than software."

The analyst also fueled rumors of an even closer relationship forming between Apple and Intel, saying there are indications that the two companies may be working together on a custom microprocessor chip-set that would appear only in Apple systems.

As expected, sources say Apple will remain in control of the external industrial design for the new Power Mac models.
post #2 of 348
Doesn't surprise me one bit. This transition is all about Apple joining the mainstream. Apple hardware will be just like everyone else's.
post #3 of 348
All I want to hear is that the intel macs will still use open firmware so I can boot with target disk mode.
post #4 of 348
Is Motherboard design synonymous with Case design? I don't think so. Apple will still have original cases. If this rumor is true then Intel will be designing and producing Motherboards that match a minimum set of requirements set-forth by Apple to match a case design. There will be collaboration. Case and Motherboard design is, I assume, done digitally. The case is modeled, the specifications are sent to Intel where a motherboard is modeled, and any incompatibilities between the two are ironed out until a finished product is done. It's not like we're going to get beige boxes... iHope.
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post #5 of 348
I think it's becoming obvious that Merom is going to be on time. Meaning we likely see Conroe based Power Macs late 2006 and Woodcrest Xserve in q1 2007.

Apple needs to go ahead and farm out that production to Intel. Get to working on Leopard and Rosetta.
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post #6 of 348
Please please please no 'Intel Inside' stickers

The only way I could see apple doing it is having the logo etched into the cases - that might be classy??
post #7 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by schmidm77
All I want to hear is that the intel macs will still use open firmware so I can boot with target disk mode.

Apple has already stated on its developer Web site that the Intel Macs will NOT use OpenFirmware. They haven't decided what will be used (BIOS, next-generation BIOS, EFI or something new. But OpenFirmware is decidely not it, probably because it was developed by IBM and therefore has intellectual property issues associated with it (e.g. Apple might need to pay for it.)

Ryan
post #8 of 348
Dropping Open Firmware would significantly reduce the verification effort for Intel-based Macs.
post #9 of 348
When do I get my Quad Woodcrest Powermac?
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post #10 of 348
This is excellent news. A motherboard designed by Intel means a motherboard without all the usual Apple quirks and little bugs that always end up in the shipping products. Intel motherboards are an example of the finest designs that billions of dollars of R&D come up with. This is a smart move on Apple's part.

For anyone who might be confused, don't confuse Intel's motherboards with your bargin basement PC computer that has a generic or cheep motherboard. Intel makes the best motherboards on earth, and they are extremely picky about design and every little feature of the board is obsessed over. It's a good fit for Apple to choose to let Intel make the motherboards
post #11 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by rmcgann220
Apple has already stated on its developer Web site that the Intel Macs will NOT use OpenFirmware. They haven't decided what will be used (BIOS, next-generation BIOS, EFI or something new. But OpenFirmware is decidely not it, probably because it was developed by IBM and therefore has intellectual property issues associated with it (e.g. Apple might need to pay for it.)

Ryan

Actually, the last official news I heard was that it hadn't been decided. The current transition docs state that a developer cannot depend on OpenFirmware being there, but developer mailing list have stated that: 1. No one wants BIOS, 2. People who aren't familiar with EFI prefer OpenFirmware, 3. People who are familiar with EFI prefer EFI. That makes it sound like EFI will, barring any major engineering obstacles, be the likely winner.

I don't think there's any fundamental limitation in EFI that would prevent target-disk mode. (In fact, I think the capabilities of EFI are more or less a superset of OpenFirmware.)
post #12 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by Nine-Seventy
Please please please no 'Intel Inside' stickers

I can't imagine Jobs going with Intel Inside stickers. Even for millions of dollars.
post #13 of 348
Curious, given this possible news, has there been any limitations (given the OS on PCs are Windows) built into the hardware of regular PC motherboards? More specifically, has there been any advancements within the Intel architecture, that hasn't been implemented due to the backward compatibility restraints inherent within Windows OSs? Would these advancements be present in new motherboards for Apple given their newer OS?

Anyone have anything on this?
post #14 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
I can't imagine Jobs going with Intel Inside stickers. Even for millions of dollars.

Perhaps Job's deal includes Apple stickers on intel chips!

Anyway, I could see the little intel jingle and the logo stamps on Apple Commercials. Perhaps the box but I don't think the actual case.

Although etched into the bottomside of the laptop line or inside the case of the powermacs might be possible.
post #15 of 348
Great news:

- Cheap Mactels.

- Mactels with great PC features like double DVD drives & more VRAM.

- Quiet Mactels.

- Frontal connectors.

- Virtualization to switch from Mac to Linux to Windows. Wow! That alone will sell many Mactels and boost market share!!!

As for the Intel sticker, it does not matter at all. It is absolutely irrelevant to me. A want a great OS inside a great cheap feature-rich hardware.
post #16 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
It's likely, but not confirmed, that the new Power Macs will adopt Intel's next-generation desktop processor, code-named Conroe

Weird. I'd have expected Conroe to go in iMac and Woodcrest in PM and Xserve.
Power Mac are workstation-class, so they need Intel Professional class processors, aka Xeon.
Conroe will be the true Pentium IV successor for desktops, but only Woodcrest is a Xeon (and the quadcore "Tigerton" too, in 2007).
post #17 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
I can't imagine Jobs going with Intel Inside stickers. Even for millions of dollars.

And yet, from a retail perspective it is exactly what they want announced, so don't count it out. not by a long shot.

Apple/SJ want more market share. The intel move helps with that in a big big way. A branding of 'intel inside', while not the Apple logo, is very much in the forefront of computer shoppers.

While The Faithful may take issue with it, if it puts more Macs in the hands of more consumers don't think for a minute they wouldn't do it. I'd not put a custom version of it past them though.

As for Intel at least helping with the next PowerMac Logic Board (hence to be Motherboard?) that isn't at all surprising. Apple's engineering team has no experience with doing chipsets for Intel CPUs. It isn't like they are going to go to VIA for SIS for them.

It is important to remember that the engineering and the industrial design are quite different in over all terms.
post #18 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by marzetta7
Curious, given this possible news, has there been any limitations (given the OS on PCs are Windows) built into the hardware of regular PC motherboards? More specifically, has there been any advancements within the Intel architecture, that hasn't been implemented due to the backward compatibility restraints inherent within Windows OSs? Would these advancements be present in new motherboards for Apple given their newer OS?

Anyone have anything on this?

The only hint of the old legacy PC system are the BIOS and the IRQ system. BIOS is likely being replaced by EFI everywhere during 1996, and the IRQ system is not really an issue anymore with all the auto-configuration going on and the lack of legacy connections. (No need for IRQ lines for parallel ports, PS/2 keyboards, RS-232 serial ports, floppies, etc.) Some of the "compatibility mode" things you'll find in the BIOS, such as copying BIOS to RAM, reserving pages for video, and a variety of other things, probably wouldn't apply to an Apple design either.

So I don't think there are many huge inherent advantages that you can get anymore by just eliminating the legacy stuff, although some of the development will no doubt be a little easier because of it.
post #19 of 348
How will this impact support for firewire ?
post #20 of 348
Intel Inside... only on the outside box. Also, possibly in the inside sililiarly to how the G5 is marketed. That's my guess

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post #21 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by rmcgann220
Apple has already stated on its developer Web site that the Intel Macs will NOT use OpenFirmware. They haven't decided what will be used (BIOS, next-generation BIOS, EFI or something new. But OpenFirmware is decidely not it, probably because it was developed by IBM and therefore has intellectual property issues associated with it (e.g. Apple might need to pay for it.)

Ryan

It isn't intellectual property issues that prevents OF from being used on Mactels (still trying to get used to that name).

PPC's have instructions that are used in OF. x86 chips do not. Therefore OF can't be used on the new machines.

It's expected that Apple will use EFI on its machines. But whether they will be used on the first models is anyone's guess right now.

Hopefully we will find out on the 7th.
post #22 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
I can't imagine Jobs going with Intel Inside stickers. Even for millions of dollars.

We've had a big thread about this on ARs. It's amazing how something this unimportant can garner so much chatter.

The question is this. if Apple does succumb to Intel's marketing, and it wouldn't be such a bad thing, would they would be stickers (removable), or embossing (non-removable).

I couldn't care less if it says "Intel Inside" on the box, and on a removable sticker. If Apple can get tens of millions back from that, great! That's more profit, and a healther company. That's what we want, isn't it?

If it's embossing, and it's done subtly, and well, I wouldn't mind that either.

If it also makes PC users more comfortable, and willing to buy Apple's machines, that's very good too.

The thing that's important is that it doesn't say "Windows Inside".
post #23 of 348
I do not know how reliable "The Inquirer" is but they are running a story that Intel is going to drop the "Intel Inside" logo for a new one. If this is true then maybe we will see it during start up when the hardware is getting checked and then the Apple logo will appear while the OS is starting. Doing this could keep stickers off the case while still advertising Intel and it would have the benefit of only being seen when booting.
post #24 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
I can't imagine Jobs going with Intel Inside stickers. Even for millions of dollars.

Business is business. I'm not saying he will, but that is what it comes down to here. If Intel can make it worthwhile for him, Steve Jobs will not hesitate.
post #25 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by heaven or las vegas
How will this impact support for firewire ?

I don't think that would be a problem. If Apple drops Firewire, it won't be because of Intel. Intel will support whatever Apple asks for.

This won't be just any standard PC mobo. It will be designed and built for Apple. It might be a BX board, though.

It would be up to Apple as to whether we get SLI or Crossfire support, and 3, 4 or 6 slots. It will also be up to them whether they are higher capacity slots, as they are now, (4, 8, 16), or the slower ones PC board makers usually use (1 speed, except for the graphics slot(s). Also, how many USB connectors, etc.

Just because Intel might be designing and building it doesn't mean that Apple won't have handed in the specs, and have engineers working with them.
post #26 of 348
If you don't care whether or not future Apple computers will have ugly Intel stickers on them... you are not a legitimate Apple fan and your ability to post on this message board should be revoked.

If you actually think Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are seriously considering such a move, then you simply don't understand them in the slightest.
post #27 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The question is this. if Apple does succumb to Intel's marketing, and it wouldn't be such a bad thing, would they would be stickers (removable), or embossing (non-removable).

Usually just stickers, but stickers that leave grease behind for months after being removed; I fear iBook's sensitive white coat may never recover.

"Intel Inside" stickers won't make PC users feel any more comfortable and they'll make long-time Apple users uncomfortable.

I'm typing this on my dying Toshiba Satellite Pro. Aside from the Toshiba logo, there's another sticker reminding me it's a Satellite Pro, another informing me my speakers are protected by a titanium mesh, two grease marks from long-ago removed Intel Inside and Windows stickers. That's just on the inside. There are 8 more stickers on the bottom, including my Windows product key and several quality control stickers.

I removed the Intel and Windows stickers after one started to fray and the other started to slide down my keyboard as the glue melted during an especially long stretch of programming. After I removed them, there was a grease spot on the gritty black surface for some time.

Stickers damage looks, and looks are Apple's killer feature.
post #28 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan22t
If you don't care whether or not future Apple computers will have ugly Intel stickers on them... you are not a legitimate Apple fan and your ability to post on this message board should be revoked.

If you actually think Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are seriously considering such a move, then you simply don't understand them in the slightest.

That's a *very* funny post!
post #29 of 348
Actually if Apple wants to include firewire it won't be a problem. Intel has their own chipset for firewire, or they can use Apple's. Intel's chipset for firewire is top rate, just like Apple's.

Quote:
Originally posted by heaven or las vegas
How will this impact support for firewire ?
post #30 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
Usually just stickers, but stickers that leave grease behind for months after being removed; I fear iBook's sensitive white coat may never recover.

"Intel Inside" stickers won't make PC users feel any more comfortable and they'll make long-time Apple users uncomfortable.

I'm typing this on my dying Toshiba Satellite Pro. Aside from the Toshiba logo, there's another sticker reminding me it's a Satellite Pro, another informing me my speakers are protected by a titanium mesh, two grease marks from long-ago removed Intel Inside and Windows stickers. That's just on the inside. There are 8 more stickers on the bottom, including my Windows product key and several quality control stickers.

I removed the Intel and Windows stickers after one started to fray and the other started to slide down my keyboard as the glue melted during an especially long stretch of programming. After I removed them, there was a grease spot on the gritty black surface for some time.

Stickers damage looks, and looks are Apple's killer feature.

I use GOO GONE. That is made to remove these stickers. While they recommend that you try it on a hidden area "just in case", I've never had a problem with it.

It even removes those discount stickers from the front cover of books that Barnes & Noble uses, without leaving any residue (as long as the covers have some hard ink or plastic coat).

Remove all stickers as soon as you are sure that you won't have to return the item. If you wait several months, the adhesive begins to dry out, and changes its chemical composition. It then becomes much harder to remove, and leaves a residue that is also harder to remove.

Never use a solvent on plastic, unless it states that it CAN be used. Sticker removers usually are based upon a petroleum distillate, which rarely harms plastic. WD-40 usually works as well.

NEVER put it directly on the item. If the sticker doesn't seem to peel off easily, then wet a small piece of cloth or a folded paper towel. Keep it on the sticker until it works its way through, then peel it off slowly, so it doesn't tear. Sometimes, if the sticker begins to peel off, you can apply the cleaner to the edge that you are peeling. It will dissolve the glue at the edge and make peeling easier. Remember, go SLOWLY! Wipe up any residue with a CLEAN piece of cloth or paper towel wetted with more cleaner. Re-using the same piece will smear residue over the case.

I've literally done this hundreds of times, and have never had a problem.
post #31 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
Stickers damage looks, and looks are Apple's killer feature.

Exactly.

Aesthetics are what sets Apple apart from its competitors. The amount of work that goes into the design of Apple products is something you don't see from most other manufacturers. And it's not just the products - look at the packaging.

I'm sure the Apple/Intel relationship will be getting enough press as it is.
post #32 of 348
Intel does make very good quality motherboards. And Mel is right about the stickers, the sooner you take them off, the better. There are also some tricks like using a piece of masking tape to pull off residual glue, etc. (Do NOT use a rubber pencil eraser). Alcohol's bad for plastics, but I agree on Goo Gone, it uses some kind of lemon oil which seems harmless.

I'm a fanatic about removing stickers on things, almost as much as I am a fanatic about labelling ports and cables. (Using a sharpie to make embossed labelling show up works great.) But to me, the "Intel Inside" isn't the worst thing in the world. The worst stickers in the world are the Microsoft "Certificate of Authenticity" ones. They're almost impossible to remove, and the only reason they're there is because the OEM was too cheap to give you software CDs (media), so they're adding insult to injury.

But I don't think Intel will actually manufacture the motherboards. That will be outsourced to some Chinese company, like all of Apple's hardware. Intel will only be doing the design work, as they do for many OEMs, I think including Dell.
post #33 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan22t
If you don't care whether or not future Apple computers will have ugly Intel stickers on them... you are not a legitimate Apple fan and your ability to post on this message board should be revoked.

If you actually think Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are seriously considering such a move, then you simply don't understand them in the slightest.

Hurrah! Finally somebody gets it.
post #34 of 348
I could see an Intel sticker on the box, and perhaps even a few small, tasteful signs in Apple retail stores indicating which models have Intel chips. But no sticker on the computer itself. I don't think Apple would do that for any amount of money.
post #35 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
That's a *very* funny post!

... and somebody who doesn't.
post #36 of 348
From a reliabilty standpoint i think its a fantastic idea. These new mactels are going to rock. 8)

Looking forward to seeing these babies in the real world.
post #37 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan22t
If you don't care whether or not future Apple computers will have ugly Intel stickers on them... you are not a legitimate Apple fan and your ability to post on this message board should be revoked.

If you actually think Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are seriously considering such a move, then you simply don't understand them in the slightest.


So I am not a legitimate Apple fan because I might care more about the functionality and the features of their products more than a 1" square stamp someplace on the case? If all you care about is looks then I don't see how you could be a legitimate Apple fan, because there is far far more to Apple's products than looks. It's about the overall design, the end experience for the user, and so many things. Great looks is just one the extra benefits.

And who's to say that if they do use an Intel sticker/branding of some sort that it couldn't be done in an "apple" sort of way? Maybe it would be hidden someplace on the back you never see, or underneith, or maybe it's not an ugly Intel Inside sticker at all, maybe it's a new "mactel" logo?

I agree that I don't think Steve or Mr. Ives would allow an ugly sticker to stink up their beautiful design, but that doesn't mean that it can't be there and it certainly doesn't mean that I'm not an Apple fan.

PLus, what about when they started to put PowerPC logo's on the cases? Is this not the same thing?
post #38 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by vinney57
... and somebody who doesn't.

I don't think either of you know much about them.

I don't know if Apple will go this way or not.

I didn't say that they would, if you actually read my posts. But, along with many here, I wouldn't mind it.

Hating stickers is childish, at best.

If someone is too lazy, or disinterested, to remove them, big deal.
post #39 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I use GOO GONE.

Hmmm. I thought you would probably use photoshop for this...

Stickers suck. I can't imagine Apple would do this for any sum. I think the simple fact that they do not have ads on iTunes or their own Store site where they could be making craploads of money is testament to this.

I guess we will see but I wouldn't bet on the stickers.
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post #40 of 348
Quote:
Originally posted by kcmac
Hmmm. I thought you would probably use photoshop for this...

Stickers suck. I can't imagine Apple would do this for any sum. I think the simple fact that they do not have ads on iTunes or their own Store site where they could be making craploads of money is testament to this.

I guess we will see but I wouldn't bet on the stickers.

It's only good for virtual stickers.

I'm not betting either way.

I just don't think it's a big deal.
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