View Full Version : Apple and IBM - secret deal?

Jan 17, 2003, 02:14 PM
For those of you more "in the know" about the business side of the computer industry - what are the odds that Apple could have a secret deal with IBM to bring it's new chips out sooner? If Apple chipped in for the costs of production / r&d / whatever - is it possible that they could rush the process and get the new chips in PowerMacs before anyone would expect it?

Or, does IBM's public statement that the chips would not be available for x amount of months bind it to stick with that date? Is it illegal for them to be a little tricky like that?

I wonder, since Apple is in a troubling situation as far as getting people to buy PowerMacs between now and the introduction of the IBM chip in its computers. Certainly an introduction of the 970 in a newly designed line of Powermacs in the spring would blow the pants off of everyone. Anyone have any insight into this?


Jan 17, 2003, 02:47 PM
I can't claim to be "in the know", but I'll add my 2 cents.

I can't see any reason why it would be illegal for IBm to bring out chips earlier than they said. Its their product and they cand o what they like with it. its not like financial statements, and things like that which are regulated by the government. Product development is compeltely in their hands. They can say pretty much whatever they want about it, so long as they don't falsely advertise what it can do.

All that said, chip design is complex, and I don't think there is any chance that you would see the 970 available in the spring. IBM wouldn't have given any kind of timeline if they didn't want people to know when it was coming out. They would have just stayed quite about it. Considering that when when the chip was announced, they hadn't built any of them, it seems supremely unlikely that they could get the fabrication finalized and working so quickly. The chip will hopefully be available in the kind of time frame IBM has already stated. Its much more likely that it will be delayed rather than early. And apple probably won't be a big enough factor for them to try and speed things up. Once it is available, it wouldn't surprise me if it takes even a little while longer to make itself into the powermacs, because there are a number of other issues that need to be worked out (redesigned motherboard, changes to the OS, etc, etc). Its possible we'll see it this year, probably alte this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if its even next year.

Jan 17, 2003, 03:04 PM
Well in legality nothing is really set in stone.

Apple is probbaly helping with the cost of chips and R&D because there R&D buddget never seems to get smaller.
Apple I'm sure will try to rush production on the IBM side, because we have nothing coming for while.
Well Moto is basically sending the GHZ chips to apple and then apple is just gonna keep 'Manufacuring them clocked above what Moto ships to them' many see this as overclocking, I do too. Why else are you finding people complaing about fans? Anyways IBM 970 chips will probably be tested deep inside IBM/Apple labs so we will not be hearing much.

Jan 17, 2003, 03:10 PM
Two cents from a former IBM employee -- they do nothing in secret. They had talks about a merger with Dell in 1998 and everyone knew about it within days. The company is too big, the culture too yappy.

Jan 17, 2003, 03:14 PM
When the G4s were released, what were the G3s at, speedwise? 400Mhz? Same as the first G4s.

I'm guessing we'll probably see the G4s pumped to somewhere near the 970's 1.8Ghz (for marketing only, I'm aware of the differences between the two chips)

Jan 17, 2003, 03:23 PM
I have been in the electronics industry for over 20 years, and I have never seen anyone announce a release date later than they actually expect product to be available. It costs a lot of money to start fabbing chips, and no one wants inventory sitting around because they thought they would surprise everyone with an early ship. Also, IBM has a pretty good reputation for meeting announced release dates.

The other thing is - ramping up high-yield production on a chip is very difficult. Historically, it takes more time than thought as opposed to less. Unfortunately, simply throwing more money at it does not help much.

But I thought I would check it out. I had a friend who designs medical equipment call IBM to see when they could get evaluation samples and he was told early Q2 and not before. That pretty much holds for Q3 volume production.

So sorry, I don't think there is a secret deal.

Jan 17, 2003, 03:46 PM
Rest assured Apple is doing everything in their power to get their hands on this chip and get it into the Power Macs the second it becomes available.

Jan 17, 2003, 05:08 PM
Just to point out...

I think within a month of full scale shipping of the 970 by IBM, Apple will have it in their computers. Prototypes of the chip are already available, so you can bet apple will have already solved and finalized the 970's hardware/software integration issues by the time the chip is released.

So its not like it will be 4 or 5 months before the 970s introduction into apple computers after it is released.

Jan 18, 2003, 04:01 AM
apple has already got it like raiden said. BUT they will still test it when it goes into mass production.

also i think that most of OSX 10.? has already been coded for it. think, if the 970 only needs a simple 1 bit swith to go 64bit, osx only has to be given that bit through an api like [NSMarketingTrick YES] and it would all be ok.

but really, ibm has 1ghz g3 chips. i am sure if apple asked them nicely to put an altivec unit on them, like the one they are putting on the 970 that is fully compatible with the g4's, then apple could market them as such. that way ibm would be much much happier.

ibm likes having the g3 around. it is small, not to hot and is being targeted for integrated options.

oh well apple, good luck.

Jan 18, 2003, 08:38 AM
Since, from what I've read, the G4 is basically a modified G3 with a vector unit strapped on, I could see IBM cranking out better G3's with altivec, and then Apple rebranding it as a new type of G4 or something. That way, the iBook would switch over to a G4, and the PowerMacs and PowerBooks would go to a 970. Or, I could be completely wrong and the iBooks would go G4 and the iMacs and eMacs would stay G4 (as in a MotoG4).

Either way, I think, like Steveo said, that 2003 is gonna be one heck of a year for Apple. I think this has to do with the fight over MacWorld too. With MacWorld, they're basically strapped to a certain schedule. They can't just show up at MacWorld and say "Yeah, well, we don't have anything for you, so let me show you this cool new Genie2 effect for the Dock!"