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Next Generation Mac to Run on Intel Processors

The Apple WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference)  2005 has just wrapped up, with the focus being a rather startling confirmation of rumors that have been circulating for years now. Steve Jobs announced today that the rumors of Mac OSX and the Macintosh hardware platform transitioning to Intel hardware is in fact true. 

Also confirmed are the rumors of OSX having been run on Intel machines in an Apple lab since 2000 to ensure the operating system design was cross-platform from the ground up (referred to as Project Marklar on the rumor sites). 

The transition will take place over the next two years, being helped along by the XCode developer tool which will be able to compile "universal binaries", which are likely to be similar to the fat binaries which were used in the transition from 68k to PPC architecture. Most of the newer OSX APIs will take a simple recompile to work on the new Intel hardware, and there will also be some kind of dynamic binary translation taking place for older apps.

While I was hoping the deal was something more along the lines of  Apple announcing a new  portable device or  media platform, using a Pentium M or perhaps an XScale, which seemed the simplest and most likely explanation for the rumor mill running so strongly, this could be welcome news if it helps the longevity of the Mac platform and won't completely outmode my current software investment.  I expect my G4 to live on for a few more years, however, as it's ideal for what I use it for in terms of not only development, but music and PVR via EyeTV.

Next area of rumor mill speculation- what are the implications of this move for Apple in terms of Intel's involvement with so-called Trusted Computing?  Will iTunes and any future media endeavors be encumbered by end-to-end hardware DRM?  Seems inevitable now, and maybe that's not too bad if it gets quality paid content on our machines.  But what could this mean for free content models, such as Furthernet or any digital content with Creative Commons licensing?  What about "untrusted" apps like GPL software is likely to become?  Please, Apple, keep our computers working FOR US, not for Hollywood. We are not "consumers", we are your customers.

Posted on June 6, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LifeDrive, Nokia 770, More on Sidekick

PalmOne has introduced its latest offering, and it's pretty compelling.  At last, mini hard drives have been integrated into a handheld PDA, bridging the gap between your classic Palm device and the iPod.  The LifeDrive features 4GB of storage, a nice color display, and an Intel Xscale processor.  Imagine what you can do with this!  Wait, no need to imagine- Amazon allows you to view the complete manual in PDF (a very nice feature... why don't brick and mortar stores do more of these nice touches?).  The PalmOne site mentions that the LifeDrive will even work with GPS add-ons for mapping functionality.  It looks like all the gadget is missing is a much larger hard drive and GPRS capability, which is pretty much the consensus on the forums at large.

Also recently announced is the Nokia 770. You wouldn't guess it coming from Nokia, but this is not a phone at all but a Linux handheld!  Built on the open Maemo platform, Nokia is hoping to build a strong developer community around the 770.  There is no mention on the Nokia site of any hard drive, so it looks like we're limited to flash memory, onboard DDR, and MMC for storage. The storage is not what's impressive, however, when you see that the 770 has audio playback capability, the usual online handheld apps, and several online apps for use with the unit's built-in Wi-Fi.  Without seeing it in person, I'd say it resembles a Linux/X11-based Hiptop, with the addition of multimedia and replacing GSM/GPRS with WiFi.

While we're talking about the Hiptop (aka T-Mobile Sidekick),  I thought I would mention that I continue to use my beloved Sidekick  II. It's just such a nice form factor and it's so affordable that it's hard to not like, despite the frequent and sometimes unacceptably long downtime due to server problems somewhere between T-Mobile and Danger, Inc.  To their credit, though, when many users suffered several weeks of spotty Internet access, T-Mobile gave a full $20 credit on that month's bill, on top of any credits already issued by customer service.  Kudos to T-Mobile... I was impressed enough that I actually called into customer service to say thanks. 

The Sidekick's full utility has come about as I've used the camera extensively in planning a wedding, I've used the IMAP mail client to stay on top of work, and the web capability to track spring storms rolling in.  Add to that the Yahoo! Messenger and simple note-taking and you have a useful gadget.

Posted on June 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack