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What is the future of Intel only apps?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Macintouch just re-reported that the next release of Reason by Propellerhead Software will be for Intel Macs only, and not a Universal Binary.

"...the shipping version of Reason for PPC computers (version 3.0.4) is compiled with Motorolas CodeWarrior compiler. Unfortunately, internal performance testing shows that compiling Reason for PPC using Apples XCode compiler creates a significantly slower program than the shipping 3.0.4 version that is available today. For this reason it has been decided to keep the two versions separate for the time being."

From the press release here:
http://www.dmnnewswire.com/articles/...e.jsp?id=38354

---

Is this a sign of things to come?

And I wonder if Adobe is having the same issue compiling it's PPC apps with XCode..
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by LGnome
Is this a sign of things to come?

Yes. In time, even Apple will switch all its OSes and apps over to Intel only, though it'll probably be a while. This is quite early for anyone to make the full switch, however.
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post #3 of 23
Intel has released beta versions of their C++ and Fortran compilers. You can see a brief summary of what they are here.

Applications that were originally on Windows, when ported, would be more likely to be Intel only, especially if those apps were already compiled using Intel's compiler and Apple is no longer selling PPC powered Macs, or in-house apps that need to squeeze every last bit of performance out of the chips they are using. I think most applications will be compiled to Universal Binaries for quite some time since it is simply a matter of "checking" a box.

I seriously doubt Apple will compile the Mac OS to Intel only because it was designed to be hardware independent, and the hardware today will last longer then the hardware of a few years ago. Running Leopard on a 266MHz clamshell iBook may be a no-go, but running 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, etc on a quad PowerMac should be no problem.
post #4 of 23
Unless there is a technical reason why a Universal app isn't viable I believe that the smart companies will max their profits from the Universal world. Look at today - there is a handful of Mactels out there and millions of Macs. It's going to take years for that ratio to change. Apple is going to want the revenues from PPC Mac customers for a long time and the others will follow.
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post #5 of 23
In many ways, I just wish Apple had jumped ship earlier. If they had made the Intel switch at the same time as the OS X switch, PPC would be dead in the water by now and we would have had much faster machines over the past 6 years. I honestly am surprised that Apple have gotten away with selling their powerbooks with 133MHz buses for so long at their prices when the competition was way ahead.

It would also have meant upgrading apps just once. Instead of OS 9 -> OS X -> Intel, it would just have been OS 9 -> OS X. Yes, it would have meant people having to buy new machines to run OS X but I think most people did anyway.

The only downside with that would have been no classic environment and lack of compatibility might have been too much trouble. But given the trouble now, I think it would have been the lesser of two evils. Now we are going to have people who haven't made Intel binaries and others who won't make PPC binaries.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by kenaustus
Unless there is a technical reason why a Universal app isn't viable I believe that the smart companies will max their profits from the Universal world. Look at today - there is a handful of Mactels out there and millions of Macs. It's going to take years for that ratio to change. Apple is going to want the revenues from PPC Mac customers for a long time and the others will follow.

I can sum up in 2 letters why people will want to dump universal binaries, QA. That and for game companies endian issues. In fact a couple large game companies are on record as stating they'll probably start dumping PPC support in 2007.
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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
I can sum up in 2 letters why people will want to dump universal binaries, QA. That and for game companies endian issues. In fact a couple large game companies are on record as stating they'll probably start dumping PPC support in 2007.

It would only make sense anyways since games by that time won't even run at more than 5fps on the G4s and G5s.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
I can sum up in 2 letters why people will want to dump universal binaries, QA. That and for game companies endian issues. In fact a couple large game companies are on record as stating they'll probably start dumping PPC support in 2007.

Can you explain this a little more. I'm really trying to talk my dad into switching to a mac. I'm hoping he'll get a refurbed ppc mini. I've always assumed that UB software would be around for quite some time. Am I wrong?
post #9 of 23
Quality assurance in software is quite a difficult and costly cycle, from start to finish assuming there were no major problems it can also take up a substantial amount of time, which equals more money. Even writing for both in Xcode bugs pop up for PPC that don't pop up for Intel and vice versa meaning they basically need to now do double their testing, especially as more and more systems and possibilities are released. All of that ultimately hurts their bottom line.

Small companies probably won't care too much since they don't do the extensive testing the larger companies do but larger companies will be quite eager to move to a single platform. Of course it still depends a bit on how quickly their installed base moves. This is why companies like you registering software, so they can see what sort of systems it is being used on.

It really depends. I'd expect game developers to jump first in the late 2007, early 2008 time frame, which is actually a bit later than some have publicly stated, and others to start following in around late 2008 - 2009. That's 3 years for most software, by which time you'd probably be looking to upgrade to a new computer anyway.

Of course I'd strongly suggest saving up the bit extra and getting an Intel mac over an old G4 Mac mini if only because they really are quite a bit faster on native software.

Just for reference.
Quote:
Intel-Only on the Horizon, Or Maybe Not

Publishers had a variety of feedback when asked when they expect to move away from Universal Binaries to Intel-only. While all the games slated for release this year will be Universal Binaries, the need to develop for and support two different processor families adds extra time to schedules that many Mac gamers already find frustrating. An Intel-only Mac gaming universe will hopefully enable release dates that are closer to titles' PC and console counterparts.

Ms. Adams reported that Aspyr will likely make the move to Intel-only in "late 2006 at the earliest, and maybe not until 2007." Mr. Tamte pushed MacSoft's timeframe out further, at least with regard to the company's original development, saying that he expects the shift to happen in late 2007. Over at Feral, the company's representative quoted an 18-to-24-month schedule "for the high requirement games, but lower spec'd games might have Universal Binaries for longer, depending on demand."

However, Mr. Greenstone didn't expect to go Intel-only for three years, which he said "seems to be the usual time range for killing off old machines." MacPlay's Mr. Stultz responded that he doesn't see Intel-only happening "anytime soon," while Mr. Lynch Smith thought it will take "a couple years" for Freeverse to make the move. "Macs just last too long!" he said.
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post #10 of 23
Telomar, thanks for your insightful reply. Will have to talk dad into new intel mini.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by backtomac
Can you explain this a little more. I'm really trying to talk my dad into switching to a mac. I'm hoping he'll get a refurbed ppc mini. I've always assumed that UB software would be around for quite some time. Am I wrong?

No, you are not wrong. You have to remember that Apple still manufactures and sells PPC-based Macs. The Intel-transition has only just begun. Apple promised to support its PPC-based computers for five years after the transition is complete. This means that Apple will support PPC-based computers until 2012 if it keeps its promise. All of these prognosticators to the contrary, there is no reason to believe that Apple will break its promise. In fact, some states in the USA require the five-year support period. This means that Apple cannot drop support for the PPC before 2012 if it wanted to.

Because the transition is so young, many developers have not yet released their applications in either UB or Intel-only form. From where I sit, only those people who have no legacy applications should buy Intel-based Macs. The day will come when we will all have to make the transition. For now, a new PPC-based Mac will give great service now and many years into the future.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by LGnome
"...the shipping version of Reason for PPC computers (version 3.0.4) is compiled with Motorolas CodeWarrior compiler. Unfortunately, internal performance testing shows that compiling Reason for PPC using Apples XCode compiler creates a significantly slower program than the shipping 3.0.4 version that is available today. For this reason it has been decided to keep the two versions separate for the time being."

These guys need to install XLC.

BTW, I predict that a lot of one-person shareware companies will start releasing Intel-only apps simply because the developers don't have PPC Macs.
post #13 of 23
I have reason to believe that reason is within reason to let the user install the reason that will reason with his hardware. I see no reason to abandon the PPC crowd for some time. That's my reasoning.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
An Intel-only Mac gaming universe will hopefully enable release dates that are closer to titles' PC and console counterparts.

I don't quite understand this. Consoles are PPC so why would it be easier with Mac being Intel? Surely developers have the same issues porting PC games to consoles as they do to PPC Macs.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by wmf
These guys need to install XLC.

BTW, I predict that a lot of one-person shareware companies will start releasing Intel-only apps simply because the developers don't have PPC Macs.

My experience is quite the opposite. Shareware developers actually seem to do the best job of supporting the entire installed base of Macs. A primie example is Lemkesoft, developer of GraphicConverter. It supports MacOS/Classic, PPC-only MacOS X, and MacOS X Universal Binary. As a general proposition, shareware developers adopt new Mac technologies faster, maintain their products better, and do so at much lower prices than their commercial counterparts.
post #16 of 23
Macalites have a short memory.

When Apple decides to move on, they move on. Every time Apple moves to a new generation, the old one is not long for this world. The moment G4s started appearing in consumer boxes, many little things started to appear that were not supported on a G3. The same thing happened when G5s went consumer. Each time, people said that Apple would never abandon currently shipping product. Each time, they were wrong, and pissed off. PPC is dead. It was dead from the moment SJ announced the Intel initiative. Anyone buying a PPC based machine at this point deserves what they get. Sure, Apple will continue to service it well into the future. They have plenty of replacement parts. They will continue to honor Applecare. They will continue to answer your questions. But they do not have to continue to make new software and peripherals that work well with legacy hardware. They never have and they are not going to start now. When you bought your Mac, it was guaranteed to work with the hardware and software that came with it. Apple has to support that. You can expect to use compatible hardware and software in existence at the time you bought your Mac. From that moment on, nothing that comes out is guaranteed to work with it. If software engineers decide that it is easier or more cost effective to do Intel only apps, there is no power in the world that can stop them. They want their software to work optimally. If PPC drags the performance, forget about it. The fact that we are already starting to see this happen at this stage does not bode well for PPC based Mac owners. Again, anyone buying a PPC based Mac at this stage has no right to complain when new software won't run as well or not at all on their machines. Buyer beware.
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post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac Voyer
The moment G4s started appearing in consumer boxes, many little things started to appear that were not supported on a G3. The same thing happened when G5s went consumer.

G4s:
A lot of software is optimized for AltiVec and, as such, benefits from a G4 and a G5, as opposed to a G3, but very little software actually requires them. iLife didn't until the just-now-released '06, and even then iPhoto actually still installs, despite System Requirements stating otherwise. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger installs perfectly fine. Very few features aren't available, although quite a few are limited, if only by sheer lack of processing power.

G5s:
Hardly any software at all requires a G5. There's very few reasons to. The only feature the G5 has over the G4 is 64-bit, and that's hardly relevant in most cases.

PowerPC:
Mac OS continued to run on 68k until 8.1, released in early 1998, about four years after the first PowerMacs.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
G4s:
A lot of software is optimized for AltiVec and, as such, benefits from a G4 and a G5, as opposed to a G3, but very little software actually requires them. iLife didn't until the just-now-released '06, and even then iPhoto actually still installs, despite System Requirements stating otherwise. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger installs perfectly fine. Very few features aren't available, although quite a few are limited, if only by sheer lack of processing power.

There was nothing about what GarageBand did that required gobs of processing power as other, more professional programs did the same types of things on lesser hardware. Yet GB and some of its features orphaned the G3. True, there was a difference in processing power. But when the G4 represented the low end, More apps appeared from Apple that, while operable on a G3, really needed a G4 to run properly.

Quote:
[i]G5s:
Hardly any software at all requires a G5. There's very few reasons to. The only feature the G5 has over the G4 is 64-bit, and that's hardly relevant in most cases.[/B]

I beg to differ with you but there is definitely a performance difference between the Gs 4 and 5. Again, it is not a matter of software not loading on a G4, though, try playing some of those GB demos on a G4 vs. a G5, it is that software is being made that does not function very well on a G4. If developers have to make their mid range and high-end software work optimally on older generations of hardware, they become limited in what they can produce.

Quote:
[i]PowerPC:
Mac OS continued to run on 68k until 8.1, released in early 1998, about four years after the first PowerMacs. [/B]

Those days are over. Apple does not want new OSs to run well on old equipment. They don't want you to be able to do everything with you G3 that people are doing with a G5 and beyond. The Intel stuff is not just some high-end server box. It is the entry level. In another few months, the who line will be Intel. Apple wants to see the end of PPC as quickly as possible. IMO UB is as much a stopgap as Rosetta.

In the end, you can talk about all the reasons why it shouldn't happen. But it has already started and it will only get worse. You have all been warned. Enjoy your brand new PPC Macs.
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post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Me
No, you are not wrong. You have to remember that Apple still manufactures and sells PPC-based Macs. The Intel-transition has only just begun. Apple promised to support its PPC-based computers for five years after the transition is complete. This means that Apple will support PPC-based computers until 2012 if it keeps its promise. All of these prognosticators to the contrary, there is no reason to believe that Apple will break its promise. In fact, some states in the USA require the five-year support period. This means that Apple cannot drop support for the PPC before 2012 if it wanted to.

Because the transition is so young, many developers have not yet released their applications in either UB or Intel-only form. From where I sit, only those people who have no legacy applications should buy Intel-based Macs. The day will come when we will all have to make the transition. For now, a new PPC-based Mac will give great service now and many years into the future.

It's not about Apple keeping their promise but rather third party companies actually supporting PPC.

 

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post #20 of 23
People/companies that have been developing for the Mac will have old computers because they would have purchased them when they were new, but what about new developers? Since we are not able to piece together hardware for the Mac like you can for Windows and *nix do we have to resort to ebay and penny savers to get the hardware we want/need?
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac Voyer
Macalites have a short memory.

When Apple decides to move on, they move on. Every time Apple moves to a new generation, the old one is not long for this world. The moment G4s started appearing in consumer boxes, many little things started to appear that were not supported on a G3. The same thing happened when G5s went consumer. Each time, people said that Apple would never abandon currently shipping product. Each time, they were wrong, and pissed off. PPC is dead. It was dead from the moment SJ announced the Intel initiative. Anyone buying a PPC based machine at this point deserves what they get. Sure, Apple will continue to service it well into the future. They have plenty of replacement parts. They will continue to honor Applecare. They will continue to answer your questions. But they do not have to continue to make new software and peripherals that work well with legacy hardware. They never have and they are not going to start now. When you bought your Mac, it was guaranteed to work with the hardware and software that came with it. Apple has to support that. You can expect to use compatible hardware and software in existence at the time you bought your Mac. From that moment on, nothing that comes out is guaranteed to work with it. If software engineers decide that it is easier or more cost effective to do Intel only apps, there is no power in the world that can stop them. They want their software to work optimally. If PPC drags the performance, forget about it. The fact that we are already starting to see this happen at this stage does not bode well for PPC based Mac owners. Again, anyone buying a PPC based Mac at this stage has no right to complain when new software won't run as well or not at all on their machines. Buyer beware.

Do you think the next version or two of iLife will be UB and run adequately on a g4 mini? My dad isn't going to be running CS3 or any major processor intensive apps.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by backtomac
Do you think the next version or two of iLife will be UB and run adequately on a g4 mini? My dad isn't going to be running CS3 or any major processor intensive apps.

2 things.

1. The Intel upgrade cycle is much faster than what we are use to. By the time the next 2 iLife suites come out, the platform will be much more advanced than any other two year period. The machines will be much more powerful and capable than today's machines are over those from two years ago. Will iLife be UB in 2 years? Maybe. Will it run well on today's low end G4 mini? IMO, not a chance. It will be designed to do stuff that today's mini just can't handle.

2. iLife is already processor intensive. But you are forgetting about other technologies that will lag behind. Core Image will be coming along. It is already too much for the mini. You may not want CS3, but the entry level software will be more like that over the next year or so. Already, the Intel mini shows signs of lag for current apps. I should know. I am using one now as my main machine. If it doesn't run today's iLife as perky as it should, forget about tomorrow's. It is not just a matter of the processor. You have to consider the subsystems too.

You don't want to buy yesterday's machine to run tomorrow's software. There was a time when you could get away with it, but those days have passed.
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post #23 of 23
In the same way that Power Macs will be the last to move to Intel, I expect that Apple's pro apps will be the last to go Intel-only.
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