Apple having a tough time trying to get new Intel processors early?

The Inquirer’s Charlie Demerjian claims that Apple is trying to get Intel to provide their newest processors, Woodcrest and Merom, to Apple early.

Apple is big, but not nearly big enough to bully Intel, unless it has to do with iTunes DRM. So just what can Apple do? It could attempt to put pressure on Intel to give it the necessary chips early. So Apple is doing just that, and sources claim that it isn’t flying as well as it had hoped. Any tale of cool, need or woe won’t fly very far against the argument of “Dell sells 20 times what you do, why should we give you preferential treatment again?”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Intel shows new chips, talks ‘performance per watt’– August 23, 2005

27 Comments

  1. Who cares. It does not matter if Intel is late in coming out with CPUs because EVERYONE will be late in getting them, not just Apple. That’s the advantage of Apple being on Intel. They’ll be using the same chips the rest of the industry is using and therefore will be waiting with the rest of the industry for new chips. So, who cares about this crap!

  2. Ah well, at least these new chips will also be late for Dell and other PC makers. So, we are all in the same boat now as far as chip delivery dates.

    I guess this is better than how its been with Motorola and IBM.

    – Mark

  3. I’m not sure I believe this story – especially from the Inquirer, but there may be some grain of truth hidden here.

    Odyssey67 states that Apple is changing to Intel CPUs only for the DRM. There may be something to this, but it’s not the main issue.

    If you do some real research on the issue, IBM and Motorola have been unable to boost the PPC speed without generating unacceptable heat. That’s why Apple only has G4 laptops, and only 1.67ghz max. You won’t ever see a G5 laptop – too much heat. This is really hurting Apple. They need to have comparable laptops in their lineup. They had to find another solution – hence the Intel-based Mac.

    A case in point – why does my dual 2ghz G5 have 9 fans in the case? It’s like a portable heater when using CPU-intensive software, such as Photoshop. My 3ghz dual-core PC only has 4 fans, including the video chip fan.

    Intel has pretty much been able to mitigate the heat issue with their newer processors – even the new dual-core chips.

    It is arguable that PPC chips are better than Intel – it is very hard to compare apples and oranges (pun intended), but because of the unresolved heat issue, the PowerPC chip has likely reached the end of its life.

    If Apple is demanding the same price point as Dell or HP from Intel, they may be in for a tough sell – Apple just does not ship nearly as many units. If Jobs holds out for the same deal he may just force a delay in the delivery of Intel-based Macs.

  4. I don’t believe this.

    Intel didn’t get into bed with Apple because it needed one more account. Intel got into bed with Apple because Apple could get people excited about top of the line chips doing cool new things that Windows buyers aren’t excited about any more. Intel’s #1 problem is that everybody with a Windows computer is happy with their 3-year-old Dell running 5-year-old Windows. Apple could drive tons of sales for Intel in the Windows market by creating performance envy. If Intel doesn’t get that, they’re being stupid.

  5. If Intel gives Apple the same crap that IBM did (I’m sure they won’t be nearly as bad), Apple may end up buying some small chip manufacturer or use AMD chips. The AMD is much more likly, but I could see Apple making it’s own chips too. Yeah I know, waaay out there on this one, but whatever.

  6. Triplehead says:
    “Odyssey67 states that Apple is changing to Intel CPUs only for the DRM. There may be something to this, but it’s not the main issue. If you do some real research on the issue, IBM and Motorola have been unable to boost the PPC speed without generating unacceptable heat. That’s why Apple only has G4 laptops, and only 1.67ghz max. You won’t ever see a G5 laptop – too much heat. This is really hurting Apple. They need to have comparable laptops in their lineup. They had to find another solution – hence the Intel-based Mac.”

    DRM is the real issue – all the rest is smoke. I’ve researched it top to bottom, and the idea that Freescale and IBM can’t keep PPC CPUs cool enough is false. Both have announced lower power versions of the CPUs that Apple is using right now. The G4 version might find it’s way in the last Powerbook revision before Macintel hits – that’s the word right now. Meanwhile, IBM’s new low power 970FX (G5) will be powering the Nintendo Revolution, which is the slimmest form factor this side of a laptop you’ll ever see. If that chip couldn’t stay cool, they wouldn’t be basing a console that they’ll be selling for the next 5 years on it.

    As for increasing clockspeeds; who is increasing clockspeeds these days? Intel has gone in the other direction because their older ‘high speed’ P4s were like minature blast furnaces. AMD is clocked at the same speed as IBMs stuff, and both out perform Intel. About the only CPUs that are looking to bump up the speed are the Cell (3-4 Ghz) and the Xenon (3+ Ghz), which are both … what? … based on PPC!

    “why does my dual 2ghz G5 have 9 fans in the case? It’s like a portable heater when using CPU-intensive software, such as Photoshop. My 3ghz dual-core PC only has 4 fans, including the video chip fan.”

    Everyone knows that the G5 had problems shedding heat, but the reason is not because it runs hotter than P4s, but because it’s surface area is so much smaller that the normal act of heat radiating off it is inefficient. That’s why you need all the fans and – later – liquid cooling.
    But this is the G5/970 Apple is presently using – it is not the low power 970FX that is available now. Apple will make a dual core G5 PowerMac soon, a CPU that was introduced at the same time as the low power 970FX, but because of the Macintel transition they aren’t going to utilize the lowpower 970.

    “Intel has pretty much been able to mitigate the heat issue with their newer processors – even the new dual-core chips.”

    Only on the laptop CPUs – Pentium M – which is itself based on the P3. All their high end P4 stuff, until VERY recently, has been single core energy hogs that were hot as hell. The Pentium D is the dual core CPU, and that has only recently hit the market.

    “It is arguable that PPC chips are better than Intel – it is very hard to compare apples and oranges (pun intended), but because of the unresolved heat issue, the PowerPC chip has likely reached the end of its life.”

    It isn’t arguable by the people who make supercomputers. Most tend to go with PPC based solutions, second are the new AMD Opteron based racks, last are Intel’s offerings. In fact, they do this BECAUSE the PPC based machines run cooler, use less electricity, and cost less than the alternatives. Further, PPC is going to power PS3 (as the Cell), XBox (as the Xenon) and Revolution (as the 970FX) … end of it’s life??? I think you must need some sleep.

    “If Apple is demanding the same price point as Dell or HP from Intel, they may be in for a tough sell – Apple just does not ship nearly as many units. If Jobs holds out for the same deal he may just force a delay in the delivery of Intel-based Macs.”

    Apple is going to get the same prices, they just aren’t getting the CPUs faster than the other guys – which apparently they were counting on. And I’ll say it again; Apple got VERY favorable pricing with IBM (Freescale CPUs are already priced pretty good). Most analysts have said from the beginning of this whole thing that pricing is likely to be a wash for Apple. They all figured that it was supply preferences and certainty which drove the decision to switch. But now we see that even this theory is hitting the rocks.

    So, you have to scratch performance, pricing, supply, … What’s left?

    Well, I’ve done the research and I’m TRYING to tell you what’s left – it’s hardware DRM. It’s video. And – yes – it does suck.
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smirk” style=”border:0;” />

  7. If what Apple is able to produce with those chips is a million times better than what the commodity pc oem’s produce THEN there is every reason for Apple to bully Intel and for Intel to respond and watch the benefits flow as they jointly move computing ahead…

  8. Odyssey, every time I see one of your tinfoil hat posts regarding Apple, Intel, and DRM, I look to see if you’ve responded to the one most rock-solid rebuttal. So far as I’ve seen, you never have. I apologize if I’ve missed it.

    Once again: How do you propose Apple would use Intel DRM in a service that would have to support all existing Macs, the vast majority of which will be PPC-based for most of the next decade? Are you saying that they simply wouldn’t support legacy Macs with the service? Wouldn’t that be suicide?

    I’ll check back in this thread later to see if you’ve responded. I’m not holding my breath.

  9. LordRobin:

    I haven’t seen a rock solid rubuttal yet. I pick the ones that may say something that all the others haven’t already, as I usually have responded to something similar to those 10 times already (though they may be spread amongst other posts). If I’m skipping something you think is important, by all means let me know what it is.

    As for your question: I don’t think they plan on supporting all existing Macs (for long) and I don’t think their initial roll out of the video ‘ecosystem’ will be as comprehensive as they eventually intend it to be. I don’t think that Apple thinks it would be suicide – I think they assume that as long as they keep some basic PPC functionalities going for awhile, then they can claim to be doing their part. In fact, I believe that this is what Jobs believes will be his Trojan Horse to finally breach MS’s walls.

    He can’t beat them computer-to-computer/OS-to-OS, at least not for a very long time, because there are just too many of the damn Windows machines out there. Even at consistent 40% growth rates in sales (a huge number), Apple’s US PC market share will only jump maybe 1% in a year. That’s just not gonna cut it. Apple needs an iPod/iTMS setup, something that totally swamps a nacent market, that can also be parlayed into the personal computer space.

    And that IS video.

    A video ecosystem, akin to the audio ecosystem he has now, is what Jobs wants – to use as leverage on the PC stage in a way that will speed up the process of Mac OS adoption. If it happens the way the iPod/iTMS situation did, Gates will be swamped before he realizes the tide has come in, just as Creative, Sony, Real and all the rest were in audio.

    The trick of course iss to get the video. The companies won’t give the video without a DRM scheme they approve of. The only one they have shown favor for publically has been Intel’s. Thus …

    As for the rest of us poor PPC users … tough. If his gamble is correct, the numbers Jobs could be looking at will be so far and above what even the installed Mac base is now, that even a complete nuclear annihilation of them will be considered an acceptable loss, financially. There will always be the diehards, like with Newton, but minimal support will be all that will be allowed. The goal will be to get everyone on the Intel train, ASAP, and supporting PPC won’t help that along one iota. It will be sold as ‘tough love’, as ‘we told you we couldn’t do this neat new stuff with PPC, so don’t expect any of the jiucy video bits now’, as ‘even with Xcode, we can’t expend anymore precious resources on legacy systems’, etc …

    But we won’t REALLY have better computers. We’ll just have a solid OS, running on about average hardware (CPU wise, at least), with the capability to act as some sort of home video server, that will be allowed to buy video online (iVS), and that may – MAY – be allowed to transfer movies via some hopped up iPod … but not to a PPC based machine. Never to a PPC machine.

    What else do you want to know? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  10. a quote from Otellini at macworld2005

    “the processors [intel’s] are running a lot cooler and we are so happy that the world’s most innovative computer company and the world’s most innovative chip company have finally teamed up. I thought I would give you my perspective on this partnership: I think that this brings together the skills and the opportunities and the engineering excellence of two great companies and they combine our strengths and they play on our respective strengths. Apple has a legendary capability in hardware and software engineering, in design and in innovation. You all know that, but what you may not be familiar with is us. Our strengths are a little bit different but they’re entirely complementary. We are all about computer architectures, we’re about scale and scope and being able to deliver in high volume the world’s best technology and the world’s best processors, and what we are most about is the relentless advancement of Moore’s Law to give you better and better machines year after year.”

    intel wants to push the limit, they don’t make hardwareor software, apple does, and no one pushes the limits of computing as well apple. when apple makes a move the industry follows. apple just got a 40 to 50% discount from samsung. apple, via the ipod, has re-established it’s brand image. taking this into account, i’m certain that apple and intel made an agreement that will be mutually beneficial in engineering and design. intel knows, if apple makes intel’s latest, greatest cpu’s purr the dell’s, hp’s, and sony’s will be soon to follow. the industry’s real fear will be vista. will it’s seven versions be operational, stable and give equal performance to os x on the same chips? the demonstration of which is still to come.

    i like articles like this because it just adds to the apple mystic. if they get early shipments and discounts it give the impression that although apple sells less units, than say dell, they have clout, and intel recognizes this. at the same time, intel get’s to be seen as cutting edge via it’s relationship with apple, shares in apple’s cache. a perception that stockholder, and the buying public, would enjoy; a larger version of the halo effect.

  11. Thanks for the free Intel advertisement. And I’m pretty sure that Samsung and the iPod have nothing to do with anything anyone has been talking about here.

    Apparently you didn’t read very closely the article that began this thread. What it says is that Apple isn’t getting early shipments from Intel. What other articles have said is that they likely aren’t getting better pricing on CPUs than any other vendor either (and probably not better than what they got from IBM, according to most analysts).

    All of which begs the question: If Intel is so keen on having Apple ‘push their boundaries’ in hardware, than why are they NOT giving Apple early adopter status with their CPUs? Seems a little ungreatful to me – Apple does them a solid, but Intel blows them off … hmm.

    Conclusion: Intel has promised Apple nothing. Apple went to Intel for reasons of their own, reasons that have nothing to do with all the FUD that both companies have been feeding the public. And since I’m tired of repeating myself, just read my other posts above for what those reasons are.

  12. odyssey67,

    I did read the oriiginal post on the inquirer’s site. and if you understood my point, that intel is looking forward to working with apple because they both push the boundary of what computing is, then why wouldn’t intel a) supply apple with it’s best chips at b) discount price. my example of samsung goes to show that other major chip manufactorers recognize apple market potential and would prefer to have sell chip at a discount just to get them into the hardware. you might want to re-read my post. but let me just quote a few sections for you:

    ” i’m certain that apple and intel made an agreement that will be mutually beneficial in engineering and design. intel knows, if apple makes intel’s latest, greatest cpu’s purr the dell’s, hp’s, and sony’s will be soon to follow. “

    “i like articles like this because it just adds to the apple mystic. if they get early shipments and discounts it give the impression that although apple sells less units, than say dell, they have clout, and intel recognizes this. at the same time, intel get’s to be seen as cutting edge via it’s relationship with apple, shares in apple’s cache. a perception that stockholder, and the buying public, would enjoy; a larger version of the halo effect.”

    i wasn’t as you where saying “giving a free advertisment for intel” i was quoting otellini from the 2005 macworld keynote. those quoted words are his, not mine, and they’re very clear on the what’s and why from intels point of view. yes, it would be a shame for intel to state the type of relationship they’d like to have with apple then to turn around and give them the same ol’ chips that dell get’s. if it happends, it happens nothing you or i can do about it. but if intel want to advance it’s chip technology they’re going to have to partner with a hardware manufactorer who isn’t afraid to us a new chip design if it meet’s specific metrics and that’s what apple is all about.

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