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View Full Version : Why so long to transition given Rosetta, supply of parts, etc.


law guy
Jun 7, 2005, 12:07 PM
I know folks have been saying the transition is to allow time for Mac apps to switch, but I can't understand it from a hardware sales standpoint.

1. S. Jobs has said that they've been making Intel compatible versions of the OS for 5 years. So the OS looks ready to ship (as much as the 10.4 was ready to ship on the PPC anyway).

2. Programs - just run them in emulated mode to start. If the conversion time is as quick as Steve said in his keynote, we should see the native versions in a few months (esp. if there is hardware out there).

3. Hardware design - I'm just observing here that there are a multitude of companies and home-PC builders that can put together new intel systems very quickly. The developers kit is something of an example of what Apple could do quickly, but why not just take the std. components for laptops, notebooks, PMs, etc. and put them into CURRENT CASE DESIGNS? Sure - let's give 'em a few months to get ramped up, order parts, go into production etc. (I note that the folks that make the Macs overseas also reported in the business press to make several PCs). Lord knows theres a sea of components and chips! out there. I suppose a little time for a special bios chip to be made or something along that line that interfaces with the OS so it will only run on the Apple systems. I assume they've been working on that and had some proof of concept when they made the switch. So again, a bit of ramp up production time.

4. Is this a case of "Scotty" type promises? We'll say a two-year transition, but we'll wow-'em with a 6 to 8 month transition to beat the prediction?

wordmunger
Jun 7, 2005, 12:09 PM
4. Is this a case of "Scotty" type promises? We'll say a two-year transition, but we'll wow-'em with a 6 to 8 month transition to beat the prediction?

I doubt that. He's telling the developers NOW what the transition period is so they will be able to plan. Software companies won't be very happy if the new Mac comes out 6 months early and their software isn't ready for it.

law guy
Jun 7, 2005, 12:14 PM
I doubt that. He's telling the developers NOW what the transition period is so they will be able to plan. Software companies won't be very happy if the new Mac comes out 6 months early and their software isn't ready for it.

Right - but let's say the hardware could be out in 6 mo? Given a Mathematica port in 2 hours and machines that will still run whatever is left on the shelf anyway (so current users would switch and just use the existing apps until new versions were out; switchers could still buy existing software or whatever has been ported in 6 mo), isn't the notice even too long? I agree that SJ doesn't want to mislead his developers - but assuming he really means such a long time... why?

mkrishnan
Jun 7, 2005, 12:14 PM
Just to add another option...have you seen the capability list of Rosetta Stone at the moment? From what was shown at the keynote, it's an amazing piece of software, and it really does work markedly better than previous emulation concepts. *BUT* ... there is enough that it can't do that this would confuse customers too much.

stcanard
Jun 7, 2005, 12:33 PM
Just to add another option...have you seen the capability list of Rosetta Stone at the moment? From what was shown at the keynote, it's an amazing piece of software, and it really does work markedly better than previous emulation concepts. *BUT* ... there is enough that it can't do that this would confuse customers too much.

Don't forget that it was being demoed on a quad-3.6GHz system (according to reports). That would make anything look fast, compared to the current top of the line Power Mac.

As for why not now, it's because they want a good, solid, installed base of fat (sorry, "universal) binaries before people start to make the transition. That way it will go as smoothly as possible, and for the most part people will see a speed increase. If everything is done in Rosetta right now, it will be slower pound-for-pound than the current systems and the installed base will ask why they are making this change if it's slowing everything down.

I bet you will see a flood of preview systems to people like Walter Mossberg though so they can start writing feel good articles about how fast marklar is, and how well rosetta works.

mkrishnan
Jun 7, 2005, 12:38 PM
Don't forget that it was being demoed on a quad-3.6GHz system (according to reports). That would make anything look fast, compared to the current top of the line Power Mac.

Waaaaah...*quad* P4? I had not heard that part! :( Jeez...that's like the MIRV of computers. :eek: Ahem, if that's the case, then slightly forget my surprise at Rosetta's speed. :o

zelmo
Jun 7, 2005, 12:44 PM
Don't forget that it was being demoed on a quad-3.6GHz system (according to reports). That would make anything look fast, compared to the current top of the line Power Mac.

As for why not now, it's because they want a good, solid, installed base of fat (sorry, "universal) binaries before people start to make the transition. That way it will go as smoothly as possible, and for the most part people will see a speed increase. If everything is done in Rosetta right now, it will be slower pound-for-pound than the current systems and the installed base will ask why they are making this change if it's slowing everything down.

I bet you will see a flood of preview systems to people like Walter Mossberg though so they can start writing feel good articles about how fast marklar is, and how well rosetta works.

What reports? In the portion of the Keynote that I saw (before the stream dried up on me), the "about this Mac" info said Pentium 4 3.6GHz. I took that to me a single 3.6GHz P4.

mac-er
Jun 7, 2005, 12:59 PM
What reports? In the portion of the Keynote that I saw (before the stream dried up on me), the "about this Mac" info said Pentium 4 3.6GHz. I took that to me a single 3.6GHz P4.

They can program that to say anything they want.

stcanard
Jun 7, 2005, 01:00 PM
What reports? In the portion of the Keynote that I saw (before the stream dried up on me), the "about this Mac" info said Pentium 4 3.6GHz. I took that to me a single 3.6GHz P4.

The news reports after the story came out. A single 3.6GHz P4 makes more sense, since that's the developer system.

Info was kind of hard to come by yesterday, as everything was kind of slow. I will assume what I heard yesterday was incorrect and you're correct.

But, will you please let me dream about a quad-3.6GHz Mac please? Preferably with each of those being dual core?

Thanks :D

y0zza
Jun 7, 2005, 01:09 PM
The Keynote demo was on a single-processor 3.6GHz P4.

The reason Apple is waiting is probably because of the slew of architecturally new, non-Netburst (i.e., non-P4) desktop and mobile CPUs that Intel will be putting out in the 2006-2007 timeframe.

Merom for the Powerbook and iBook, Conroe for iMac/PowerMac, possibly Woodcrest or Whitefield (four-core) for the high-end PowerMacs. All of these are x86-64-capable and are new 'short and fat' designs instead of the hyper-pipelined Netburst rubbish we had with the Pentium 4.

Yonah, the dual-core Pentium M chip due out in early 2006 may be a possible Powerbook chip, but it is reportedly 32-bit only, and hence does not support x86-64.

Don't forget that any Pentium 4-based Macs that Apple puts out will have the problem of being compared to G5 Macs, possibly unfavourably in many cases (just look at Apple's own benchmarks). The new architecture coming from Intel between 2006-7 should bring significant improvements over Netburst, utilising all of the things Intel has learnt with the Pentium M to create the next high-performance desktop and mobile processor.

bosrs1
Jun 7, 2005, 01:41 PM
The main reason this is going to take so long is Rosetta, while interesting, isn't finished. If you read the developers notes it doesn't support G4 or G5 only programs and has no AltiVec support. It will definitely need the former and could do better with the latter. The former is a definitely neccessary piece before Rosetta will be viable.

Applespider
Jun 7, 2005, 01:42 PM
4. Is this a case of "Scotty" type promises? We'll say a two-year transition, but we'll wow-'em with a 6 to 8 month transition to beat the prediction?

He said that OS X86 Macs would be shipping by next year's WWDC. I'd expect announcement/viewing of designs at MWSF in January (7 months) which ship in Feb/March. Aren't the Yonah (eesh, getting so confused over Intel chip names) scheduled to be shipping in Q1 of 2006?

stcanard
Jun 7, 2005, 02:43 PM
Hmm, the more I think about this the less worried I am. Almost all of the apps I use (the only exception I can think of is quicksilver) fall into one (or more) of three categories:

1) Created by Apple -- I'm reasonably certain these will be ported in a decent timeframe

2) Java based (which won't be an issue)

3) Open Source and based on a codebase created on x86 and ported to PowerPC (even Firefox and NeoOffice/J fall into this category)

Once I do a fink reuild all I'm not even certain I would need Rosetta...

spaceballl
Jun 7, 2005, 02:51 PM
I think the reason why they are waiting is because right now Intel's desktop parts aren't too attractive. Prescott runs like a furnace, and it's debatable whether or not that chip is faster than the PPC970. Intel's mobile chips right now are very attractive, but not the desktop parts.

There's a good article on the front of www.anandtech.com about this switch. Apple would be smart to skip Intel's netburst based chips. They kinda suck...

admanimal
Jun 7, 2005, 02:53 PM
The main reason this is going to take so long is Rosetta, while interesting, isn't finished. If you read the developers notes it doesn't support G4 or G5 only programs and has no AltiVec support. It will definitely need the former and could do better with the latter. The former is a definitely neccessary piece before Rosetta will be viable.

I am doubtful as to whether Rosetta will ever support these things. I think Apple would have made it more clear to developers that Rosetta would support these things in the future.

Rosetta is probably still a work in progress, but I think it will ultimately do exactly what Apple says it will do at the moment.

cheapnis
Jun 7, 2005, 03:29 PM
Rosetta is probably still a work in progress, but I think it will ultimately do exactly what Apple says it will do at the moment.

This and this

The reason Apple is waiting is probably because of the slew of architecturally new, non-Netburst (i.e., non-P4) desktop and mobile CPUs that Intel will be putting out in the 2006-2007 timeframe.

I think sum up why very neatly - with the "two hour port" of Mathematica Rosetta seems to me to be more of a safety net than anything ... With all the Apple apps running natively, Office, Adobe (and therefore Macromedia) and all the other big players able to port very quickly I can't see why they'd need to give developers so much time. You can't say "it's a sinch - it takes two hours with the most complicated apps" and then say you're going to need 6 to 9 months to get ready!!

... so I go with them holding back for the new and literally incomparable (with anything current) Intel chips...

chemtw
Jun 7, 2005, 03:31 PM
I am doubtful as to whether Rosetta will ever support these things. I think Apple would have made it more clear to developers that Rosetta would support these things in the future.

Rosetta is probably still a work in progress, but I think it will ultimately do exactly what Apple says it will do at the moment.


Does all this switching to intel mean that we will be able to put together our own systems with components from places like newegg.com and just throw a mac OS on it instead of a windows OS? If so I am all for it becuase I have always been able to build my PCs for far cheaper than the some place like Dell or Gateway. Or does it just mean cheaper machines from Apple, which is cool to. What does it all mean!!! I keep going back and forth between getting a new powerbook or dell laptop because of costs, but it seems that I will still take the plunge into a new G4 Powerbook for this school year. Either way, nothing really seems solid until late 2006 or 2007 right?

bosrs1
Jun 7, 2005, 03:34 PM
Does all this switching to intel mean that we will be able to put together our own systems with components from places like newegg.com and just throw a mac OS on it instead of a windows OS? If so I am all for it becuase I have always been able to build my PCs for far cheaper than the some place like Dell or Gateway. Or does it just mean cheaper machines from Apple, which is cool to. What does it all mean!!! I keep going back and forth between getting a new powerbook or dell laptop because of costs, but it seems that I will still take the plunge into a new G4 Powerbook for this school year. Either way, nothing really seems solid until late 2006 or 2007 right?
No. Nothing has changed in terms of how you buy or build your Mac. Prices may drop a bit but experience will be the same. Apple is still going to be the sole supplier. This isn't clone wars part II. The difference is it's very possible you're Mac will now be able with minor tweaking to dual boot into Windoze as well as OSX.

stcanard
Jun 7, 2005, 04:04 PM
The difference is it's very possible you're Mac will now be able with minor tweaking to dual boot into Windoze as well as OSX.

That provides an interesting opportunity for Apple, because they've even said they won't stop people from putting Windows on it. So for all those people that are scared to leave windows, they can push the idea that if you don't like it, you can always put Windows on, and still have the coolest looking computer on the block.

If the switcher does decide to do go to Windows, Apple still got the hardware sale, and the barrier of getting them back to OSX is lower. If they don't go to Windows, well Apple wins even more!

bosrs1
Jun 7, 2005, 04:06 PM
That provides an interesting opportunity for Apple, because they've even said they won't stop people from putting Windows on it. So for all those people that are scared to leave windows, they can push the idea that if you don't like it, you can always put Windows on, and still have the coolest looking computer on the block.

If the switcher does decide to do go to Windows, Apple still got the hardware sale, and the barrier of getting them back to OSX is lower. If they don't go to Windows, well Apple wins even more!
Exactly. This is the same reason Super Mac heads are crying, they see it as a dillusion of their clique... but it's really a way to boost Mac usership.

mkrishnan
Jun 7, 2005, 04:08 PM
I think sum up why very neatly - with the "two hour port" of Mathematica Rosetta seems to me to be more of a safety net than anything ... With all the Apple apps running natively, Office, Adobe (and therefore Macromedia) and all the other big players able to port very quickly I can't see why they'd need to give developers so much time. You can't say "it's a sinch - it takes two hours with the most complicated apps" and then say you're going to need 6 to 9 months to get ready!!

Neither Creative Suite nor Office consist of Cocoa apps, though....

Silver Apple
Jun 7, 2005, 04:17 PM
Guys,

I believe there will be no problem for Apple to have new systems by early spring 2006. AND No, I don't think it's necessary for them to use Pentium 4s to do it.

Check this out:

Mac Mini: Current G4 (1.2) ...
** Could be made into a Dothan or Yonah (Single Core) @ 1.8 GHZ
(Much faster than current system)

Ibook: Current G4 (1.2)
** Could be made into a Dothan or Yonah (Single Core) @ 1.8 GHZ
(Much faster than current system)

Imac: Current G5 (1.8 to 2.0)
** Could be made into a Yonah (Dual Core) @ 2.5 GHZ
(at least comparable with current system -- possibly faster)

Pbook: Current G4 (1.5 to 1.7)
** Could be made into a Yonah (Dual Core) @ 2.5 GHZ
(Cooler, Faster, better battery, just as quiet, faster system bus etc..)

As you can see, this would be a nice start for Apple ... all without using a Pentium 4 CPU ... Yonah (dual core) will be ready early 2006 and could easily be made to work on all of the above. Right now the newst craze in the X86 world is the use of the Pentium M CPUs (Dothan) on normal motherboards with an adapter which beats even the mighty P4 Extreme and Athlon 64 FX in 3D games!! Check it out: http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20050525/
So Imagine what a dual core will do flying on your Mac ... come next year!


Cheers! :D

cheapnis
Jun 7, 2005, 04:30 PM
Neither Creative Suite nor Office consist of Cocoa apps, though....

True ... but when I said "running natively" I meant to imply that these mega companies have the huge resources to make any problem go away if they feel like it ... and the Mathematica guy was keen to stress that the app was a total mish mash of all kinds of coding ...

The delay obviously allows time for lots of smaller companies to get prepared - I just don't think that's the number one reason why... it just happens to work out better for all concerned... SJ was talking at a developer conference after all, he wasn't going to frame it any other way was he?

Bern
Jun 7, 2005, 04:32 PM
Neither Creative Suite nor Office consist of Cocoa apps, though....

I guess the biggest thing that concerns me is my current software. I've just spent a couple thousand upgrading to Adobe CS2 and Painter IX and whilst Rosetta may be able to get them running for me, it's really not going to be the same as having it run natively.

So for the big guns like MS, Adobe, Corel what do you think they'll do? Release point updates or are we going to have to fork out more money AGAIN to have software that will run on our shiny new Macs?

mkrishnan
Jun 7, 2005, 04:47 PM
So for the big guns like MS, Adobe, Corel what do you think they'll do? Release point updates or are we going to have to fork out more money AGAIN to have software that will run on our shiny new Macs?

Bern, I would say, I'm assuming that you bought this software because it runs acceptably on your hardware now, right? So, when CS3 comes out supporting Intel, or whatever, then when you hit the point where upgrading is worth it to you, then go get CS3 and an Intel mac. 'Till then...what if Jobs had said *nothing* at WWDC? I bet you if you run some benchmarks on actions in CS2, that you'll find that Jobs' announcement didn't slow them down. :D

Cheapnis -- I got you for what you're saying. Yes, I don't think recompiling even Carbon apps alone necessitates a year's time. And I also don't think they couldn't release Intel-based hardware in less than a year. But my take is to give them the time and let them get this right....

stcanard
Jun 7, 2005, 05:03 PM
Bern, I would say, I'm assuming that you bought this software because it runs acceptably on your hardware now, right? So, when CS3 comes out supporting Intel, or whatever, then when you hit the point where upgrading is worth it to you, then go get CS3 and an Intel mac. 'Till then...what if Jobs had said *nothing* at WWDC? I bet you if you run some benchmarks on actions in CS2, that you'll find that Jobs' announcement didn't slow them down. :D

Not only that, but I bet that any new intel based systems are going to have some pretty sweet processors in them. So even if Rosetta runs PhotoShop at 25% of the speed it would natively, but instead of a 2GHz G5 you've now got a dual core 4GHz Pentium, you see no difference (and judging by the demos I'm betting Rosetta performance is much better than 25%). Then when the next upgrade comes, wow!

Cheapnis -- I got you for what you're saying. Yes, I don't think recompiling even Carbon apps alone necessitates a year's time. And I also don't think they couldn't release Intel-based hardware in less than a year. But my take is to give them the time and let them get this right....

I think they want three things in place:

1) Whatever hardware Intel has promised them
2) Give people lead time to do the conversion

-- and ---

3) Enough time to make sure that the universal binaries have good penetration into existing systems.

The third will take quite a while, and that is a limiting factor. They need universal binaries out there to make the transition smooth, and that alone is worth making sure they don't move too fast.

Bern
Jun 7, 2005, 05:05 PM
Bern, I would say, I'm assuming that you bought this software because it runs acceptably on your hardware now, right? So, when CS3 comes out supporting Intel, or whatever, then when you hit the point where upgrading is worth it to you, then go get CS3 and an Intel mac. 'Till then...what if Jobs had said *nothing* at WWDC? I bet you if you run some benchmarks on actions in CS2, that you'll find that Jobs' announcement didn't slow them down. :D

So what you're suggesting, and you'd be right of course, is the Intel switch will give these companies a "reasonable" excuse to sell another version of the same software?

I know we don't all have to upgrade our Macs immediately, but I guess because it's more than just a simple speed bump, we're talking architectural now I suppose, it's the feeling of being backed into a corner that is annoying.

Let's face it when you buy the MacTel you will have to buy the new Adobe or Macromedia or whatever so that it will run natively. However if we were talking G4 goes G5 the choice would be yours to decide if you want to upgrade your software or not. It's going to be a very expensive change over for some.

Phatpat
Jun 7, 2005, 05:23 PM
As you can see, this would be a nice start for Apple ... all without using a Pentium 4 CPU ... Yonah (dual core) will be ready early 2006 and could easily be made to work on all of the above. Right now the newst craze in the X86 world is the use of the Pentium M CPUs (Dothan) on normal motherboards with an adapter which beats even the mighty P4 Extreme and Athlon 64 FX in 3D games!! Check it out: http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20050525/
So Imagine what a dual core will do flying on your Mac ... come next year!


In all fairness, the Dothan's that beat the 64 FX were overclocked, while the 64 FX was not. Also, these processors aren't cheap (yet?). The 765 is $650 on newegg. That said, the 1.7 Ghz Pentium M (735) is only about $250. I look forward to seeing similar processors in a Mac in the future.

mkrishnan
Jun 7, 2005, 05:30 PM
So what you're suggesting, and you'd be right of course, is the Intel switch will give these companies a "reasonable" excuse to sell another version of the same software?

No, I mean that based on the calendar, with the full line of Intel hardware not coming until mid 2007, timing will be right in many cases for new software revisions to come out anyway, for all platforms. CS2 will have been out for two years by then. MS Office, as another example, is due for a Windows version in 2006, and so should also see a new Mac version in the 2006-2007 timeframe.

But I don't mean to belittle your cost concerns. Sorry. :( You're dealing with software that costs a lot more than most of what I use.... I guess that if I were in your shoes, what I really meant was that I would not go Intel until after there were compelling new versions of software to justify paying the additional cost.

admanimal
Jun 7, 2005, 11:43 PM
This and this



I think sum up why very neatly - with the "two hour port" of Mathematica Rosetta seems to me to be more of a safety net than anything ...

Mathematica was not run using Rosetta. Mathematica was ported to Universal Binary, which means it runs natively on both Intel and PPC. Rosetta does not require porting anything, but also doesn't guarantee that your program will run on Intel OS X.