Today, at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, Steve Jobs officially announced that Apple is finishing its partnership with IBM and plans to use Intel processors, starting next year with lower-end computers and following in 2007 with higher-end computers, such as the PowerMac line-up.
Many questions arise after the shocking announcement, one of them being if Apple would allow Mac OS X to run on any computer equipped with an x86 microprocessor. If so, Microsoft would finally have a serious competitor (sorry Linux lovers) for its Windows operating system in the desktop space. Until now, computer users were required to buy Apple hardware if they wanted to use Mac OS X as an alternative to Windows XP.
"Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far," said Jobs. "It's been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years."
This announcement by Apple also comes as a surprise after the three console makers, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, have chosen the PowerPC architecture to power their next-generation consoles; a trend that should be considered as a red alert for both AMD and Intel, the two chipmakers behind the x86 architecture. One could have expected Apple to embrace the Cell processor, an IBM joint-venture with Sony and Toshiba, rather than switching to Intel’s camp.
So now we have a Windows kernel running on Apple hardware thanks to the development of Xbox 360, today’s announcement of Apple switching to x86 processors, and the publisher of Forbes recommending IBM to buy Electronic Arts. What else could happen this year?
************************ UPDATE ************************
* "Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life the past five years". Every build of Mac OS X has been compiled for Intel x86 architecture for the past five years.
* "We've been running on an Intel system all morning" The computer Jobs used for the keynote is running on a Pentium IV 3.6 Ghz processor.
* Next Mac OS X build will be called "Leopard".
* A new technology called "Rosetta" (in allusion to the Rosetta stone that allowed researchers to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs) will allow current applications written for PowerPC to run on Intel processors.