eWeek’s Rothenberg makes his WWDC predictions centered on 64-bit PowerPC 970

“As we count down the days until the launch of Apple Computer Inc.’s freshly refurbished Worldwide Developers Conference, the level of Mac intrigue seems to have reached yet another high-water mark across old and new media,” write Matthew Rotheberg for eWeek.

“…most Mac-watchers believe the company will make some moves to shift the platform to IBM’s 64-bit PowerPC 970 processor and away from its dependence on the Motorola PowerPC G4, a chip that’s been slow to gain velocity compared with the clock speeds posted by Intel and AMD,” Rothenberg reports. “IBM has been up front about the glories of the PowerPC 970 since last October, and such additional advantages as significantly higher clock speeds and a blazing front-side bus are common knowledge; based on the published specs for the chip, this represents a giant leap for the PowerPC architecture. In a Mac, the chip would go a long, long way toward slaking the pent-up demand for radically higher performance. Up to now, however, IBM and Apple have been coy and stonily silent, respectively, about the likely intersection between the processor and the platform.”

“While I have heard some rumblings that an entry-level model may be available in limited quantities next week, I believe that the new Power Macs won’t ship until late July or early August. I think that Mac developers will spend next week getting acquainted with the new Apple hardware and software, and Apple will spend the next month ramping up production of the 970 Power Macs,” Rothenberg predicts. “I’m betting that although Apple has dialed way back on its participation in July’s Macworld CreativePro (the show formerly known as Macworld Expo/New York), that expo will comprise the first public forum for shipping models across the new line. [The] first wave of new Power Macs apparently won’t ship with Mac OS X ‘Panther’ at all, but with Smeagol, a version of the current Mac OS X 10.2 (a k a Jaguar) that has been optimized for the new processor. Early adopters will be able to take advantage of many of the architectural advantages of the new hardware, and they should be at the head of the line for a free upgrade to the new cat when it reaches the retail channel in mid-September.”

Full article here.

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