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Apple *is* switching to Intel chips

The WWDC keynote just ended (notes here) and the news is pretty big in Apple land: Apple is switching to Intel chips (press release). A few notes:

  • As speculated here and on Slashdot, Intel will not be making PowerPC chips for Apple.
  • Intel will be making x486 chips for Apple.
  • For the last 5 years, every copy of OS X has been compiled on both PowerPC and Intel platforms. This apparently is the long-rumored Marklar project.
  • Jobs says developing apps to run on Intel Macs is easy…there’s a checkbox in the developer tools that “makes a cross-platform single binary”. Demo of Mathematica running on an Intel Mac from a guy from Wolfram…it only took them two days [some sources are now saying two hours, not days] to port it to Intel.
  • Running PowerPC-compiled programs on an Intel Mac will be handled through emulation. Gold star to John Gruber for guessing this one.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the important bits. And I know this is Steve Jobs talking to us here, but from where I’m sitting (across the country, reading paraphrase transcripts), the transition has been well prepared for by Apple for a number of years and looks like it will happen a lot more smoothly than all the over-the-weekend hand-wringing indicated that it would.

Update: Dave Winer is reporting that:

1. Apple is not going into the software business, their operating system will not run on other vendor’s hardware. So you won’t be running the Mac OS on Dell, HP or IBM, for example. and 2. While Windows is not explicitly supported, they won’t do anything to prevent Windows from running on their hardware.

Update #2: From

After Jobs’ presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. “That doesn’t preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will,” he said. “We won’t do anything to preclude that.” However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers’ hardware. “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac,” he said.