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View Full Version : Apple to Intel - Shouldn't this have happened in 2003?


sigamy
Jun 6, 2005, 09:12 PM
I'm just sitting here thinking what a waste of time our journey with IBM has been. Don't get me wrong--the G5 is a great chip and I understand that it will still work fine for years but I just don't understand why Apple didn't just go with Intel back in 2003 when the G4 was dying a slow death.

Did IBM over promise and under deliver? (I guess that is obvious) Did IBM ever really plan to push the 970 and the POWER line or where they using Apple in order to get their plant and process flushed out? Did IBM drop Apple for the game consoles? I can't wait to read the book about all this in a few years.

Tiger is so stable and (now) feature rich. I think we should have gone thru the pain once--back in 2003 with Jaguar we should have had Intel processors. I know most of you will say that would have been too much to handle but 10.0 and 10.1 could have been PPC but they with Jaguar, when OS X really was "ready" Apple could have said--"Here you go. Look at this awesome OS. We got it right now. And look, it only runs on the latest and greatest processors from Intel. We have an entire new architecture and the OS to take full advantage. Enjoy."

Set the Wayback Machine to 2003.

ravenvii
Jun 6, 2005, 09:38 PM
You know what? I think Steve Jobs agrees with you 100%. You got the issue here right on the money - the past two years with IBM has been a bust. Yes the G5 is a great chip with a great potential. But IBM isn't developing it to that potential, and it ends up being all that - potential. Not real gains. The PPC architecture is agruably superior to the x86 architecture, but there's MUCH more people devoted to actually realizing the potential of x86. So in the real world we will get much more benefit from x86 (and it's future derivatives) than PPC. Sometimes life can be weird like that :)

dejo
Jun 6, 2005, 10:03 PM
Or maybe this should've happened in 1994 when they went from 68xxx to PowerPC. That was a much bigger leap than G4 to G5.

noel4r
Jun 6, 2005, 10:20 PM
or maybe they should have switched to Intel when they released OS X

dermeister
Jun 6, 2005, 10:43 PM
Wrong. The only reason that they can pull this off is that it will be utterly transparent.

PPC machines will run all the universal binaries of the future, and X86 machines of the future will run all universal binaries AND PPC binaries of the past thanks to rosetta. Rosetta is the key here. Without rosetta, there would be a big gap in the transition -- it would be impossible.

My guess is that they've been working on rosetta for a long-time, and only now that rosetta works have they been able to initiate the intel plan. My guess is that rosetta was completed about half a year ago, at which point serious intel talks begun.

The past two years were not a "bust", but a big-time stalling game on apple's part. They needed something to keep going while the intel option could be rendered viable thanks to rosetta.

dejo
Jun 6, 2005, 11:20 PM
PPC machines will run all the universal binaries of the future, and X86 machines of the future will run all universal binaries AND PPC binaries of the past thanks to rosetta. Rosetta is the key here. Without rosetta, there would be a big gap in the transition -- it would be impossible.

Actually Rosetta does not ensure ALL PPC binaries can run on the x86 machines. Apparently there are some limitations...

Rosetta does not run the following:

- Applications built for Mac OS 8 or 9
- Code written specifically for AltiVec
- Code that inserts preferences in the System Preferences pane
- Applications that require a G4 or G5 processor
- Applications that depend on one or more kernel extensions
- Kernel extensions
- Bundled Java applications or Java applications with JNI libraries that canít be translated

What Can Be Translated? (http://developer.apple.com/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/universal_binary/universal_binary_exec_a/chapter_7_section_2.html)

dejo
Jun 6, 2005, 11:25 PM
Which leads me to ask: Steve demonstrated Photoshop CS running via Rosetta. Isn't it Altivec-enabled?

IJ Reilly
Jun 6, 2005, 11:59 PM
Set the Wayback Machine to 2003.

I'm with you, Peabody.

If the technology had been in place, and knowing what we know today, I'm sure ol' Uncle Steve would be happy to join you in the Wayback Machine.

IJ Reilly
Jun 7, 2005, 12:01 AM
Which leads me to ask: Steve demonstrated Photoshop CS running via Rosetta. Isn't it Altivec-enabled?

Yes, but obviously without AltiVec since x86 doesn't have that technology.

iMeowbot
Jun 7, 2005, 12:08 AM
Remember too, though, that Classic support goes away with the Intel transition. If OS X went straight to Intel without a grace period of a few years, Apple would have left virtually all customers hanging. By taking two steps, OS X with the Classic crutch and then a new instruction set with a few years in between, the migration pain has been vastly reduced.

(Those truly desperate to keep ancient software running may still have a reprieve in the form of PearPC.)

dejo
Jun 7, 2005, 12:20 AM
Yes, but obviously without AltiVec since x86 doesn't have that technology.

Without Altivec? So it was a special version of Photoshop CS? If so, that doesn't make sense since I thought the point of Steve's demo was that you could run PPC binaries on Intel/OS X without the need for a special version, via Rosetta. If it wasn't a special version, then, according to the Rosetta doc, it shouldn't run. That's why I'm confused...

sPAULj
Jun 7, 2005, 12:24 AM
My guess is that they've been working on rosetta for a long-time, and only now that rosetta works have they been able to initiate the intel plan. My guess is that rosetta was completed about half a year ago, at which point serious intel talks begun.

Well, you're half right. Rosetta was licensed from Transitive Corporation (http://www.transitive.com/). It was named "Rosetta" in order to give developers that connection as to what it does (translates between PPC and x86). It's integration was finished at the end of last year. You are very right in saying that it was important to the switch.

Without Altivec? So it was a special version of Photoshop CS? If so, that doesn't make sense since I thought the point of Steve's demo was that you could run PPC binaries on Intel/OS X without the need for a special version, via Rosetta. If it wasn't a special version, then, according to the Rosetta doc, it shouldn't run. That's why I'm confused...

It is a hybrid of sorts. Only a few changes were needed because Adobe was utilizing Cocoa and the APIs between the x86 and PPC platforms are nearly identical. The only code that needed to be changed what that which managed bit placement and that was no big deal because Adobe has experience in keeping its software updated across platforms. It didn't need Rosetta because it was already coded for x86.

IJ Reilly
Jun 7, 2005, 12:24 AM
Without Altivec? So it was a special version of Photoshop CS? If so, that doesn't make sense since I thought the point of Steve's demo was that you could run PPC binaries on Intel/OS X without the need for a special version, via Rosetta. If it wasn't a special version, then, according to the Rosetta doc, it shouldn't run. That's why I'm confused...

You can run Altivec accelerated applications on processors that don't support it -- you just don't get the performance advantages. That's what happens when you run these applications on a G3.

iMeowbot
Jun 7, 2005, 12:29 AM
Without Altivec? So it was a special version of Photoshop CS?

Photoshop CS is supported on G3s, which don't have Altivec. Very few programs actually need Altivec to run, it just makes them run faster if present.

RacerX
Jun 7, 2005, 12:29 AM
I'm just sitting here thinking what a waste of time our journey with IBM has been.I'm sure IBM is thinking the same thing.

The PowerPC 970 was originally designed to help move IBM clients using PowerPC 604e and POWER3 based systems (both 32 bit) to POWER4 and beyond.

IBM redesigned the chip to include Altivec (something IBM never liked) so that Apple would use this processor in their Macs.


Did IBM over promise and under deliver?
Actually IBM's priorities changed. The need for the PowerPC 970 for them (and we shouldn't forget that they always had their own self interest as a first priority) was based on AIX. IBM has been moving their focus to Linux and encouraging their clients to do the same.

The need for a seamless transition from a 32 bit AIX system to a 64 bit AIX system is no longer an interest for IBM... and now the PowerPC 970 is a low priority.

Had Apple dropped it's dependance on Altivec back when Motorola was unable to get past 500 MHz, then they could have jumped to the POWER3 line and both IBM and Apple would have had the same goals.

Altivec is the stumbling block here.


I know most of you will say that would have been too much to handle but 10.0 and 10.1 could have been PPC but they with Jaguar, when OS X really was "ready" Apple could have said--"Here you go. Look at this awesome OS. We got it right now. And look, it only runs on the latest and greatest processors from Intel.

Are we not forgetting that in 2003 the PowerPC 970 was way ahead of anything by Intel?

Just because Apple is now seeing a short coming in IBM's commitment to the PowerPC 970 and any future related processors, doesn't mean that it would have been the right choice back then.

Processor manufacturers have been leap frogging each other for years. There have been many times when the PowerPC lines have been way out ahead of the Intel lines.

Over simplifying the history of this is going to lead you to erroneous conclusions.

velocityg4
Jun 7, 2005, 01:16 AM
Are we not forgetting that in 2003 the PowerPC 970 was way ahead of anything by Intel?

Just because Apple is now seeing a short coming in IBM's commitment to the PowerPC 970 and any future related processors, doesn't mean that it would have been the right choice back then.

Processor manufacturers have been leap frogging each other for years. There have been many times when the PowerPC lines have been way out ahead of the Intel lines.

Over simplifying the history of this is going to lead you to erroneous conclusions.
I'm just curious if IBM isn't as interested in the 970 anymore. Why would Apple not just go ahead and use the Power5, since it is a RISC processor? Since that's were IBM is at now in development. It seems another good reason to not emphasize 970 development is since it is a Power4 processor it would be like intel further enhancing the Pentium III wouldn't it? Or is the Power 5 too expensive?

sigamy
Jun 7, 2005, 08:13 AM
Are we not forgetting that in 2003 the PowerPC 970 was way ahead of anything by Intel?

Just because Apple is now seeing a short coming in IBM's commitment to the PowerPC 970 and any future related processors, doesn't mean that it would have been the right choice back then.

Processor manufacturers have been leap frogging each other for years. There have been many times when the PowerPC lines have been way out ahead of the Intel lines.

Over simplifying the history of this is going to lead you to erroneous conclusions.

How is my conclusion erroneous if Apple is now switching to x86? I know hindsight is 20:20 but come on now. You don't think going to the G5 was just plain wrong?

As we see now it's not about what was available in 2003--it's the roadmap that matters. I know it is easy to see now because in 2003 it seemed that x86 had hit a wall and that the 970 and its pipeline was strong. Steve thought it was strong. He told us it was strong. IBM told us. Steve promised 3ghz. I believed him/Apple/IBM.

It. Didn't. Happen.

It is just amazing to me that we have yet another instance of Apple getting something just plain wrong. How could they not see that they wouldn't be able to get faster, cooler mobile chips???

More over simplifying of history points you to all of Apple's great business blunders--not licensing Mac OS, proprietary hardware, sticking with Moto/PPC, Pink/Taligent/Copland, OpenDoc, terrible supply chain mgmt, Newton, Spindler, Gil Ameilo, etc.

RacerX
Jun 7, 2005, 09:59 AM
How is my conclusion erroneous if Apple is now switching to x86? I know hindsight is 20:20 but come on now. You don't think going to the G5 was just plain wrong?
No.

Beating up on your customers would have been wrong.

The point of a transition is to ease people into this. And you seem to like the blunt approach.

Which. Couldn't. Be. Worse.

:D


As we see now it's not about what was available in 2003--it's the roadmap that matters. I know it is easy to see now because in 2003 it seemed that x86 had hit a wall and that the 970 and its pipeline was strong. Steve thought it was strong. He told us it was strong. IBM told us. Steve promised 3ghz. I believed him/Apple/IBM.

It. Didn't. Happen.
Apple went to IBM with hat in hand. Motorola was losing interest in the processor business and IBM and Apple both needed a similar product.

Apple could not have changed at that point as most people were still in Mac OS 9 and were only slowly starting to move to Mac OS X in large numbers.

It was more about finishing one transition before starting another.

That. Is. How. Your. Conclusions. Are. Erroneous.

:D

It is just amazing to me that we have yet another instance of Apple getting something just plain wrong. How could they not see that they wouldn't be able to get faster, cooler mobile chips???
Because there was never any major technical hurdle to this.

The landscape changed. It happens. And it happens a lot in this industry.


More over simplifying of history points you to all of Apple's great business blunders--not licensing Mac OS, proprietary hardware, sticking with Moto/PPC, Pink/Taligent/Copland, OpenDoc, terrible supply chain mgmt, Newton, Spindler, Gil Ameilo, etc.
Tell me you aren't that lost.

I don't have time to talk about how many of those "blunders" were nothing of the sort...

:rolleyes:

Oh, never mind, I actually do have time.not licensing Mac OS: Who would they have licensed it to originally? No one was making computers that could do what Macs could. So who? SGI? Definitely not PC makers as no PC could handle the Mac GUI at that point (and wouldn't be up to the task until around 1991).
proprietary hardware: Besides the points above, the software that made Macs Macs was larger that the available media at the time. This problem was solved by moving much of the foundational components into ROM. And as Apple is a hardware maker, propriety hardware is how they make their money. The biggest blunder was licensing the Mac OS, which under cut Apple's chief source of income.
sticking with Moto/PPC: So you don't stick with better processors? The main reason that Apple went with Motorola was that nothing Intel had could run the Mac OS. Both SGI and Sun had there workstations running on Motorola processors in the late 80s because they were the best. When Jobs left Apple and was starting his own computer company, what processor did they pick? Motorola 680x0. Why? It was by far the best. And Apple hedged it's bets with the Power line originally. The 6100/7100/8100 logic boards were able to use either the PowerPC 601 or the 68060 processors. IBM was able to come through when Motorola couldn't, so Apple went with PowerPC. And during the first, second, third and beginning of the fourth generation of PowerPC processors that Apple used the PowerPC was leaps and bounds ahead of anything in the PC industry. The only blunder I see was marginalizing IBMs role by going with the G4. Had Apple stuck with IBM over Motorola, then both companies might have had a better time matching road maps into the future. And no one could have seen that IBM was going to drop AIX this fast (accelerated by the SCO case) and that the 970 wouldn't play as big a role in IBM's plans as had been originally thought.
Pink/Taligent/Copland: Development projects are rarely blunders. The only one that Apple sunk any real amount of money into was Copland. Much of that technology actually ended up in Mac OS 8, 8.5 and 9.0, so that wasn't wasted. And the foundations of Carbon are based on Copland. How was that a blunder? Almost all the parts of Copland have since been used.
OpenDoc, Newton: Much of that R&D set up technologies that we use today... even if Apple wasn't able to capitalize on them. And I still use a Newton, they are great PDAs.
terrible supply chain mgmt, Spindler, Gil Ameilo, etc: None of that has anything to do with technology, so I have no interest in those... and generally agree that they truly were blunders.
If you are going to play with mental models of the past to do "what if" scenarios, it helps to have a better understanding of why things actually happened the way they did.

That. Way. You. Don't. Make. Erroneous. Conclusions.

;)

Jo-Kun
Jun 7, 2005, 10:46 AM
Actually Rosetta does not ensure ALL PPC binaries can run on the x86 machines. Apparently there are some limitations...



be honest on one thing: by now who really would miss classic??

sigamy
Jun 7, 2005, 10:55 AM
Apple could not have changed at that point as most people were still in Mac OS 9 and were only slowly starting to move to Mac OS X in large numbers.

It was more about finishing one transition before starting another.

That. Is. How. Your. Conclusions. Are. Erroneous.

:D


Oh, please. You couldn't be more wrong. Apple missed the boat by going with the 970. Yesterday proved that to be a fact.


Tell me you aren't that lost.


Far from it. I'm expressing my opinion of what happened. You'll read about in a few years in hard back. Or your'll download the audio book to play on your 100GB iPod. Apple was duped. They made a wrong decision aka a blunder.


I don't have time to talk about how many of those "blunders" were nothing of the sort...

:rolleyes:

Oh, never mind, I actually do have time.not licensing Mac OS: Who would they have licensed it to originally? No one was making computers that could do what Macs could. So who? SGI? Definitely not PC makers as no PC could handle the Mac GUI at that point (and wouldn't be up to the task until around 1991).

What? Now I am lost. No one was making computers that could do what Macs could? What the heck does that mean? Apple was the only place on this mortal coil with a 68000 and a GUI? PCs could not handle the Mac GUI? PCs would have been Macs!!! Apple would have been the M$ of today.


proprietary hardware: Besides the points above, the software that made Macs [i]Macs was larger that the available media at the time. This problem was solved by moving much of the foundational components into ROM. And as Apple is a hardware maker, propriety hardware is how they make their money. The biggest blunder was licensing the Mac OS, which under cut Apple's chief source of income.

Thru the years Apple has moved from propriety to industry standard hardware (and software)--remember SCSI, ADB, AppleTalk, ADC? Now we use IDE, ATA, USB, Ethernet, VGA and DVI. And you are about 6 years to late on the licensing here. It should have been done before Microsoft became Microsoft. Not after. Geez.


And during the first, second, third and beginning of the fourth generation of PowerPC processors that Apple used the PowerPC was leaps and bounds ahead of anything in the PC industry. The only blunder I see was marginalizing IBMs role by going with the G4. Had Apple stuck with IBM over Motorola, then both companies might have had a better time matching road maps into the future. And no one could have seen that IBM was going to drop AIX this fast (accelerated by the SCO case) and that the 970 wouldn't play as big a role in IBM's plans as had been originally thought.

Well that is the entire point of my post. I guess no one could see the move away from or lack of progress on the 970. But shouldn't they (Apple)have done more to make sure that this was the correct path? What was the plan for a mobile processor? All we've heard is "you won't see a G5 in a PowerBook anytime soon" and "it's the mother of all thermal issues". But we never heard a plan. This was only two years ago. I know the industry moves fast but come on. We all blindly followed. G5! 64bit! Blunder with a captial 'B'.


Pink/Taligent/Copland: Development projects are rarely blunders. The only one that Apple sunk any real amount of money into was Copland. Much of that technology actually ended up in Mac OS 8, 8.5 and 9.0, so that wasn't wasted. And the foundations of Carbon are based on Copland. How was that a blunder? Almost all the parts of Copland have since been used.
OpenDoc, Newton: Much of that R&D set up technologies that we use today... even if Apple wasn't able to capitalize on them. And I still use a Newton, they are great PDAs.

OK, that's a first. Wasting money is not a blunder? Oh, they gained knowledge, right? No. These projects were failures. These weren't pure research projects--these were supposed to be shipping products. They cost shareholders tons of cash.

I guess you would set out to build a house, you spend $300k, a year later everything falls down expect the front door. So, you build a new house with a totally differnet plan, totally different architect but you use the original front door! What a Success! A free door! I've owned many Newts also. Well ahead of their time but millions and millions spent and now we have Inkwell? Right, I'm the one who's lost. Steve agrees we me so I must be right.


If you are going to play with mental models of the past to do "what if" scenarios, it helps to have a better understanding of why things actually happened the way they did.

That. Way. You. Don't. Make. Erroneous. Conclusions.

;)

And what exactly don't I understand again? Apple has something around 2% of global market share. There are four or five reasons why this is true. They've made huge mistakes at key points in time.

I'm not saying that going with the 970 in 2003 is on the same scale but there is no doubt that it was a mistake. In five years people will look back at the G5 era and laugh.

punkbass25
Jun 7, 2005, 11:00 AM
i would but i guess thats what my II Ci is for

RacerX
Jun 7, 2005, 11:16 AM
Oh, please. You couldn't be more wrong.
Actually, you seem to be living in a fantasy world where you feel free to make up what ever you wish (i.e. SCSI being proprietary to Apple). There is no conversing with someone who is indulging in that type of self delusion.

So I bow out of this.

Ugg
Jun 7, 2005, 11:51 AM
It is just amazing to me that we have yet another instance of Apple getting something just plain wrong. How could they not see that they wouldn't be able to get faster, cooler mobile chips???

More over simplifying of history points you to all of Apple's great business blunders--not licensing Mac OS, proprietary hardware, sticking with Moto/PPC, Pink/Taligent/Copland, OpenDoc, terrible supply chain mgmt, Newton, Spindler, Gil Ameilo, etc.


You seem to have come here with a guilty verdict without allowing Apple a chance to defend itself.

It seems to me that when it comes to chips, there are alwasy problems and the general concensus is that these problems will get worked out over time. Most of the time this happens. It's called risk taking, something that Apple is very willing to do knowing that the payoff is worth it. The fact that they continued development for x86 shows that they knew full well the risks involved.

Has ms never made a blunder? Can you say Bob and tons of other projects that were total and utter failures. What about Intel or IBM or Sun or any other tech company? Let's face it, companies make mistakes. Why are you holding Apple to an impossible standard, one that you need to apply to every other company out there as well. If that were the case then you must be continually disappointed in every company you deal with.

I'm no apologist and I'm taking a wait and see approach about the move to Intel, but to solely blame Apple for not being able to read the future accurately is pretty pathetic.

punkbass25
Jun 7, 2005, 12:41 PM
OK, that's a first. Wasting money is not a blunder? Oh, they gained knowledge, right? No. These projects were failures. These weren't pure research projects--these were supposed to be shipping products. They cost shareholders tons of cash.
losing money in a business is inevitable... it takes money to make money.

secondly your comparison to a house that falls down but uyou get to keep the door isn't accurate at all. it's not like if they hadn't done those projects they could have just "bought a new door" or in other words JUST developed teh successful technologies... apple takes risks they make mistakes... would you rather they follow the bill gates gameplan, of wait never innovate, and copy?

yeah not everything ended up getting used but many of the parts did and they turned into vital parts of the OS for years to come. so it looks to me like they made the best they could of their "failure" i'd say thats smart business sense.

like you said hindsight is always 20:20. but that doesn't mean forsight is, no one can read the future.

and by the way making mistakes is part of being human let it go.

sigamy
Jun 7, 2005, 12:55 PM
like you said hindsight is always 20:20. but that doesn't mean forsight is, no one can read the future.


Not even Steve? :D

punkbass25
Jun 7, 2005, 02:04 PM
Not even Steve? :D

i didn't feel the need to mention it then, but i heard somewhere that steve has telekinises, he also owns a time machine, and is currently writing a nostradamus-esque list of predictions for hte nexxt 5000 years or so