Apple to make PowerPC laptops again?

“Apple says it bought P.A. Semi to get its hands on some patents and a bunch of very bright engineers who are already used to working together. I’m sure that’s true – but they also got an irresistible opportunity to shake the money tree while doing something good for the country,” Paul Murphy blogs for ZDNet.

“P.A. Semi designs PPC chips primarily for advanced military and robotics applications and the one they talk about in public, the PA6T-1682M, has had an unprecedented uptake in the industry – so much so that major defense contractors include Lockheed Martin and Curtis-Wright have locked in ten year supply contracts on it,” Murphy writes. “The chip itself is impressive: it’s a 15 watt, 2+Ghz, dual core, dual Altivec, 64bit PPC “system on a chip” with 2MB of level 2 cache per core, hardware packet management (including cryptology), on board memory busing, and eight concurrent PCI/E channels.”

“Why would Apple use it in a laptop? Because Apple has been facing pressure from U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) customers for more secure (i.e. non x86) gear that’s made in America and because all of P.A. Semi’s big customers are long term experts at selling to the DOD. In other words, what Apple really wanted here was technical expertise, but what they got along with it was specific market expertise and a golden opportunity to sell from three to five hundred thousand American made, PPC based, MacOS X machines to the DOD every year,” Murphy writes.

Paul Murphy is betting that Apple will make PPC laptops again. Read the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: 3Ghz within a year!

58 Comments

  1. They ARE continuing to develop PPC distros of OSX, but I think its more likely they will take the tech and cross develop it into an x86 chip; we’ll see.. either way this is just another logical step

  2. 2gig dual core PPC? It sure would be fun to run some performance tests against my MacBook with a 2gig dual core x86 intel, with all other specs equal. If the pre intel arguments for PPC’s being more capable at slower clock speeds is true, then that dual core PPC should kick ass.
    Sure is cool the way OSX is written such that the processor architecture is not such a big deal. PPC on old macs, Intel on new macs. ARM processors on the iPhone, OSX works ’em all.

  3. Why not make PPC and Intel? Heck, the OS runs on both right now, why not just keep it that way? Why get locked into a particular chip again?

    I’m sure that if Apple could make a PPC notebook using some sort of new PPC chip that would make it thinner, lighter, faster and have a battery life a lot longer than the MacBook Air, then people would buy that.

  4. I think that the security aspects of these designs and patents are the major issue here. Hardware based security measures that only a vertically structured tech company can employ easily could be crucial to Apple in the coming years to protect the OS from attack be it in computers or mobile technology.

  5. this is just plain dumb, concluding that they’ll make PPC laptops again. there are many kinds of chips that go into an electronic product, not just CPUs…

    http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/04/24/jobs-still-hearts-intel/?mod=WSJBlog

    “Jobs said Apple acquired P.A. Semi mainly for its chip designers and suggested it will rely on P.A. Semi’s expertise primarily for portable electronics devices like the iPod and iPhone for which Intel doesn’t currently supply chips”

    “Jobs said Apple, though, has no plans to go back to Power chips.”

  6. Isn’t someone forgetting that it’s not the x86 chip that’s not secure, but the Windows that’s running on it that’s full of holes?

    Or is Murphy trying to say that OS X is as vulnerable as Windows because it’s running on an X86 chip?

  7. “The chip itself is impressive: it’s a 15 watt, 2+Ghz, dual core, dual Altivec, 64bit PPC “system on a chip” with 2MB of level 2 cache per core, hardware packet management (including cryptology), on board memory busing, and eight concurrent PCI/E channels.”

    All this techie talk is giving me a stiffie.

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