It’s true: Mac OS X on Intel

I found Paul Boutin’s liveblog on Engadget from the WWDC just in time to read these words:

10:28am PDT – “It’s time for a third transition. And yes, (puts up slide that says): It’s true.” Next slide is one word: “Why?”

10:29am PDT – “I stood up two years ago and promised this (3.0G PowerMac), and we haven’t been able to deliver.” Steve says it’s bigger than that, though. No roadmap for the future based on PowerPC – they can’t see a future.

10:30am PDT – Intel offers not just increased performance, but reduced power consumption. Transition will be complete by WWDC ’07.

10:31am PDT – PowerPC – 15 integer perf units (not sure what) per watt. Intel does 70 per watt. “Mac OS X has been living a secret double life” for the past 5 years.

10:32am PDT – Satellite shot with crosshairs shows building where a team has been working on the “Just in Case…” scenario. Every release of Mac OS X has been compiled for Intel for the past 5 years. Here comes the demo!

10:33am PDT – “As a matter of fact, this system I’ve been using here…” the keynote’s been running on a P4 3.6GHz all morning”

Pretty big news. Sets the conventional wisdom on its head.

Makes me want to put those plans for a Mac mini purchase on hold.

It’s good to see that even in this brave new world, some things, like the hilarity of Theo Gray from Wolfram Research, remain unchanged.

(Update: here is the official press release.)

(Almost) live WWDC updates

It appears that the WWDC keynote isn’t being streamed over Quicktime (at least, not that I’ve been able to find). However, MacRumors has set up a special auto-refreshing live site where they’ll be posting the latest keynote coverage (technical details of their AJAX based approach here). There’s also an IRC channel if you can’t wait for a schedule refresh, or if you like your news piping hot and mixed with lots and lots and lots of chatter.

Apple to switch to Sun chips

sun chips. get it? hah hah.

With all the discussion about what Greg called the Pentiac rumor—the rumor that Apple is imminently going to announce a switch from IBM to Intel chips, or a new product line based on Intel chips, or that it just had lunch with Intel, or something—I couldn’t resist pointing to a leak about the real announcement to come today. Thanks, Steven Frank, for the laugh (make sure to click the link for the full sized image). (And thanks to MacSlash for the link.)

Spies in space

I love this story about the discovery of spacesuits for spies (or, less sensationally, training suits from the Air Force’s short-lived MH-7 program) in a locked, forgotten room at Cape Canaveral. As a comment on Slashdot pointed out, it’s a great metaphor for the fate of much of our space engineering work from the 1960s.

A few other memories were dredged up by the Slashdot crowd, including the X-20 Dynosoar, a reusable space plane design conceived in 1957 and cancelled in 1963. I remember seeing models of some of the other proposed Air Force space craft in the visitors center at NASA Langley when I was a kid.

Manned espionage platforms speak of a vision of the future that failed to understand how quickly electronics technology would advance to provide communications and surveillance capabilities without costly human intervention. It’s a more Asimovian view of the future than the Philip K. Dick version we got instead.