Here's some quick coverage of Steve Jobs' keynote speech at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. I won't keep you waiting, it's now official! Apple has said it will start using Intel processors! A news article from Apple can be found here.
Steve Jobs said his company has already sold more than 2 million copies of Mac OS X Tiger. He also announced the next version of Mac OS X 10.5 will be called Leopard, it will ship near Longhorn.
But the major topics of the conference was without a doubt Transitions. Jobs said: "From 1994-1996 we switched from Motorola 68K to IBM PowerPC. I wasn’t here then, but from everything I heard the Apple team did a great job. In 2001-2003 we switched from OS9 - OS X.."
The next thing he said was yes, it's true (the rumours from that were spreading since Friday). And the following slide from his presentation said "Why?".
Jobs explained he promised users to deliver a 3GHz PowerMac two years ago, but IBM hasn't been able to deliver that. He says there is no roadmap anymore for the PowerPC because Apple can't see its future.
He explained a move to Intel won't just increase performance but will also reduced power consumption. The transition to Intel CPUs will be complete by the WWDC in 2007.
Jobs explained the PowerPC does 15 integer perf units per watt while Intel is capable of 70 per watt. He said Mac OS X has been living a secret double life in the past five years. Each and every version of Mac OS X has been compiled for Intel in the past five years!
The next surprise was that the system he used for the keynote was in fact an Intel Pentium 4 3.6GHz based system! And he also joked that is has been running stable since this morning Jobs then hopped a bit through some applications to show the public that the performance on Intel systems is snappy.
Here’s the geekout for developers: Widgets, scripts, Java: they’ll just work. Cocoa - Xcode: small tweak, recompile. Carbon - Xcode - a few weeks of tweaking, recompile. Carbon- Metroworks: Move to XCode.
Next was Theo Gray, cofounder of Wolfram Research, who talked about porting Mathematica from IBM PowerPC to Intel. He said it took two days for his team to get the program ported.
Steve Jobs then added that not every program will be compatible with the new platform from the first day. He said Apple will launch Rosetta, a technology to run PowerPC applications on Intel processors. It's a dynamic binary translation, that will be fast enough so most users won't even know it, he said.
A demo of MS Word and Excell PowerPC binary on the Intel system was shown and they seemed to be performing quite well. He also showed Photoshop but it still took quite some time to load all the plugins and the Photoshop Filters seemed fast enough.
Someone from Microsoft then said Microsoft will launch an universal binary version of Office.
Steve then mentioned that Intel engineers are just as passionate about their products than Apple employees. Surprisingly Paul Otellini, President & CEO of Intel, then appeared on stage. He said he was one of the people who believed you would never see an Intel logo on this stage.
They conclude that the switch from PowerPC to Intel chips will make Apple systems cooler and give them more performance.
Steve is back on now, restating the theme of this as Apple’s 3rd big transition. “It’s not gonna happen overnight. We’re making AWESOME machines right now” (Frequent comment in the press line: Will anyone buy one in the next year?) “When we meet again here next year, we will have products with Intel processors entering the market.” Next year he’ll show Leopard. One non-boilerplate truth: “The soul of a Mac is its operating system.” Plus the slick industrial design, of course.
Apple also mentioned the iPod currently holds 76 percent of the digital audio market and their iTunes music store has sold 430 million songs and accounts for 82 percent of the online music store market. Jobs was also very enthusiastic about Podcasting, which will be added soon to iTunes.