Intel Inside Apple Now

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple’s Steve Jobs earns a well-deserved reputation for hype, but he
also gets less credit for a tendency to under-promise and over-deliver.

This was evident in Job’s big announcement at Macworld today where the
rumored Intel-based Macs were announced with greater performance specs and
well ahead of schedule. The iMacs are shipping today, and notebooks in

When Jobs announced the shift to Intel chips at Apple’s developer’s
conference last Spring he said the first Macs with Intel chips would be
delivered in June 2006. But the new models are shipping today, and include
both iMacs and a new MacBook Pro, all based on the latest Intel Core Duo dual

As is his habit, Jobs saved the biggest news, the Intel-based Macs, for
the end of his 90-minute presentation, which featured several significant
upgrades to its iLife creativity suite, as well as iWeb to help simplify the creation of personal Web sites.

He also launched
what may become a new application category called “photocasting,” a kind of
cousin to podcasting that broadcasts pictures instead of audio.

Microsoft briefly shared the spotlight with good news for corporate and
other users of its Microsoft Office suite. Roz Ho, Microsoft’s Macintosh
business unit manager, announced that Microsoft had signed a formal agreement
to provide new versions of Office for a minimum of the next five years.

“Office for Mac is an incredibly successful product, and 2005 was the best
year ever,” said Ho. “This should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that we’re
here to stay an it for the long term.”

Macworld crowds have not always been friendly to Microsoft, but Ho’s
statement brought a hearty round of applause. But since this is Macworld Expo, the crowd was mostly anxious to hear about new Macs, and Jobs didn’t disappoint.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini emerged dramatically from a cloud of smoke on
stage to present Jobs with a silicon wafer
representing completion of its job.

Also, beating earlier forecasts that it
would take two years to transition from PowerPC to Intel processors, Jobs
announced Apple plans to transition its entire product line of desktop and
notebook PCs to Intel by the end of this year.

Otelinni said the collaboration with its once pesky rival has been
“energizing, challenging and fun.” He said over a thousand people at Intel
have been working on getting the processors finished to work with Macintosh.

Commenting on the announcement, Otellini added, “Our founder Bob Noyce once
said, ‘Don’t be encumbered by history, recreate something wonderful.’ We did.”

Jobs teased the audience by noting that the latest Intel-based iMacs with
integrated display would be the same shape (17- and 20-inch display models),
same price and same integrated iSight video camera as current models. “So
what’s different?” asked Jobs.

What’s different is performance. Jobs said Intel’s Core Duo processor
provides up to two to three times faster performance than earlier PowerPC-
based models.

Jobs quoted Spec Integer benchmarks to back his claim, though
he conceded “not everything will run two to three times faster, like the

But he also noted this is not a simple port or emulation. Apple’s
latest 10.4.4 Tiger operating system and the latest iLife software is
running natively on the Intel processors. Apple is shipping its applications
on “universal” discs that will run on either PowerPC or Intel-based Macs.

Jobs recounted the problems Apple has had trying to develop a
notebook with the same performance of its desktop line.

“We’ve had a pesky
problem; we haven’t been able to shoehorn a G5 [processor] into a
Powerbook. We’ve consulted everyone,” he said as a photo of the Pope flashed
on the big screen behind him. “With Intel it was all about performance per

He said the MacBook Pro will offer as much as a 4.5 times speed
improvement over current G4-based models. Apple also built-in its iSight
video camera in the MacBook Pro for videoconferencing on-the-go.

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