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Archive for the ‘Intel’ Category

Apple news

Yesterday, the WWDC opened its doors with a keynote speech of Steve Jobs introducing the new Mac OS X version called Leopard and the anticipated Mac Pro systems. Additionally, the company also introduced new versions of is Xserv server systems and Leopard for the servers.

The innovations in Leopard are not very spectacular in my opinion, or at least I was not waiting for them. The most important innovations according to Apple are Time Machine and Spaces. Time Machines enables user to take a snapshot of the system (stored on an external harddisk or a Xserve) and revert to these snapshots whenever one wants. Unfortunately for Apple, they’re not the first one shipping such a tool, as Miguel points out. Dirvish provides identical features.

Another ‘innovation’ according to Apple is ‘spaces’, which enables the user to keep sets of applications for a given task instantly available. Wow, this sounds very similar to virtual desktops – what an innovation. Ok, I have to admit that I did not see this feature working yet, so probably it is a little more polished than most virtual desktop implementations, but it is not very unlikely that the possibilities are similar. According to the article at AppleInsider, Spaces includes the possibility to preview the various desktops in tumbnial format – probably similar to the working of Exposé. Well, at least is is more useful than the new features (uh, which features?) in Microsoft Vista, whith the difference that Vista contains a lot more changes ‘under the hood’ (at least, I think it does). Ok, so far not a high-priority upgrade.
Obviously Leopard does have more improvements. For example, there are PhotoBooth effects available for Mail (nice, but not something I was waiting for) and provides facilities to store notes and todo lists and aggregate RSS feeds. That could be useful, but there are already tons of e-mail applications which provides these features, and Mac OS X already contained applictions like iCal and sticky notes which fullfill these tasks.
Another thing to mention is the new application Xray, which enables developers to debug applications and do some profiling. According to Calum Bensom, Xray is based on DTrace, which is created by Sun and open sourced under the OpenSolaris project. The implementation of Apple will probably be very nice and the use case they provide in their promotional material confirms this assumption. But while I still didn’t do any development for Mac OS X, I think I will not use it. There are more improvements, but the other improvements in Leopard are mainly bug fixes and small features which in fact doesn’t require a complete new operating system. Currently, I don’t think I will spend money on Leopard, because it doesn’t provide features I will need very much.

Ok, so far on Leopard. Apple also announced a new Mac Pro system. As expected, this system contains two dual-core Xeon processors based on the Woodcrest core (which is in fact a similar core to the Core 2 Duo cores Intel recently introduced). This is a very powerfull system for (considering the features) a resonable price of 2500 dollars. Apart from new processors and the obvious upgrades (new videocard, more memory, faster and bigger harddisks), the system is similar to its PowerPC predecessor. If I had the money, I think I would like to have such a system, because it has so much power that the coming years, upgrades are not very necessary. It is like buying a Ferrari – much faster isn’t available.

Three OS’es on MacBook

The Dutch site has a videon online which shows a MacBook (the black edition, so it is a 2,0GHz version) which is running both Mac OS X, Windows (Vista?) and Ubuntu Dapper Drake (beta) on the same time. In order to achieve this, the virtualisation software from Parallels is used. In the video also a virtual desktop application is used, in this case Virtue, so it is possible to run every os full screen on its own desktop. It looks pretty fast on the video and certainly faster than using VMware or something on a Pentium M (which I have in my laptop). Probably this is caused by the Virtualisation Technology from Intel which is build into the Core Duo processor in the MacBook. I think it would be very nice to run Mac OS X and Linux at the same time at almost native speed… The Gimp for example is on Linux a lot faster than on Mac OS X, in my experience.

Apple introduces Intel-processor Macs

Unfortunately, my weblog was unreachable yesterday, because of a problem with my internet connection. Now everything should work again, so I’m able to write about the most anticipated IT-event this year until now: The MacWorld keynote by Steve Jobs.

Anticipated, because the expectations were that Apple would introduce the first Macs with an Intel processor – and they did. Also, there were rumours that Apple would introduce other existing products, such as a spreadsheet for their iWorks package and even a new version of Mac OS X – these rumours however, were untrue.

So, what did Steve Jobs announced? He began with some sale figures to illustrate the success of past year. He told that the Apple Stores sold for more than one billion dollars last quarter, and because he released this figure (which is information relevant for stock traders) he was forced by his CFO to tell the revenues for the latest quarter, which was 5,7 billion dollar. Steve also told that there were 42 million iPods sold over the entire lifetime of the musicplayer, and that in 2005 the company sold more iPods than every year before (32 million iPods). Of course iTunes Music Store can’t be left out when talking about numbers. Apple sold 850 million songs via IMS and is now selling 3 million songs per day, which means a market share of 83 per cent. This left you wondering where record companies have their guts from to threat Apple with not selling songs via their store, because the ‘prices are to low’ in their opinion. They seem to really don’t want to sell music at all, so they can even complain more about piracy?

After these ‘boring’ numbers, Steve announced that Apple will start selling new content via IMS. One of the new series is ‘Saturday Night Live’. While the rumours suggested a new iPod shuffle or iPod nano, Apple introduced only a remote control for the iPod which also includes a integrated FM tuner. The new accessoire is going to cost 49 dollars. Finaly he also mentiond the coorporation with Crysler, which is going to add iPod support to their cars. In order to improve the iPod sales Apple has created a tv-ad featuring the trompetist Whyton Marsalis (who mostly plays jazz, so probably not many people will know him.. actually i do)

After the iPod and music talk, Jobs starts talking about the ‘important’ stuff: computers. He starts with Apple’s new professional photography workflow application Aperture. After a short movie about Aperture, Steve continues to talk about the Widgets which were introduced with Mac OS X 10.4. He introduced a few new widgets from Apple: a Google search widget, a new Address book widget, a weather widget and a few widgets which are pretty much only intresting for US citizens. The new widgets are available with a new update of Mac OS X which has version number 10.4.4.

More software: iLife. Microsoft is currently working on new software for the upcoming Windows Vista, which includes a new music and photo applications. These applications are in functionallity almost identical to what Apple has for a few years: iTunes and iPhoto. These applications are in my opinion the most important parts which makes Mac OS more userfriendly than competing operating systems – one of the reasons I think that Linux distro’s should include Mono by default, because F-spot is the only application which comes near to what iPhoto is and Muine or Banshee are also the best music libraries for Linux.

Steve introduces iLife ’06 which includes new versions of iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband and a new application called iWeb. The new iPhoto supports more photo’s than previous versions and is faster than the older version. He demonstrates how the new applications works with full screen edition on large screens – it makes you almost want to run to the store to buy a nice 30″ Cinema display (unfortunately I don’t have the money for it and it won’t work on my Mac mini because it lacks a dual-DVI connection. iPhoto has improved support for photobooks, it addes the possibility to create calenders, postcards and features ‘photocasting’. In fact this is nothing more than uploading selected photos to .Mac, where people can subscribe to such a gallery and the photos will automatically be available in their iPhoto. Changes made by the author are automatically updated to the people who are subscribed to the album. You have to be an .Mac-member in order to ‘cast’ a photocast, but everybody can subscribe to a photocast – even if you don’t own a Mac – because it uses RSS to publish updates.

iMovie features animated themes, which enables you to create professionally looking movies with photos, video’s and music without using ugly effects or slideshows. The movie will look more like ‘one piece’. Jobs demoes some of the possibilties with iMovie, which are rather impressive. When you talk about iMovie, you also will be quickly talking about iDVD for creating a DVD of your movie. New in iDVD ’06 are widescreen menus and support third party DVD-burners, which is nice because until now it was only possible to make DVD’s when your Mac contained a build in superdrive. Also Garagaband features some minor updates, mainly focussed on Podcasting. Steve demonstrate it by creating a funny Podcast – you can easily see that this is very good prepared and probably rehearsed several times, because the timing is perfect.

iWeb is a new application in the iLife suite for publishing stuff on the web. This application will be ‘easy to use to create beautiful websites’. The app can create online photoalbums, weblogs, podcast sites and other stuff. Especially creating photogalleries was a missing part of the Mac OS operating system, because Linux has standard applications which are able to do this, such as gThumb and F-spot. According to the screenshots the pages you can create with iWeb look pretty good and will work on IE, Firefox and obviously Safari according to Steve Jobs. For the photogalleries the program uses AJAX to create slideshows which will work on the current browsers. Unfortunately the program also only works when you have an .Mac-subscription. Also a new version of iWorks is introduced.

iMac with Intel-processor and Cinema displayAfter the software, Jobs moves on to the hardware – the most interesting part of the keynote. He repeats that he announced that by june ’06 the Macs with Intel processors will be available. Then there appears an from the smoke (in a previous keynote Apple ‘burned’ these dudes) Intel-dude which says: ‘Intel is ready’, to which Steve Jobs replies: ‘Apple is ready too’. Steve thanks Paul Otelini (the Intel-dude) for their support when Apple moves to Intel processors. Then the iMac with Core Duo (Yonah-processor) is introduced, as was expected by rumours, because the design of the last update of the iMac with G5-processor wasn’t as sophisticated as the previous iMac G5. The iMac with Intel-processor is available in the same size and design as the previous iMac, so with a 17″ and 20″ iMac. The other features are identical and the price is identical – probably to emphasize that the change to Intel isn’t as difficult as it seems. The only difference is the speed, according to Steve Jobs. The processor is two to three times faster – Steve also says that this doesn’t mean the computer is two to three times faster, because the disks aren’t faster and the memory isn’t faster. Every application Apple now introduces will be ‘universal binaries’, which means that it will run both on Power PC and Intel Macs. In March all the professional software of Apple will be available as universal binary. Finally it is announced that Microsoft will ship new Macintosh products for at least five years. There is also a tv-ad for the Intel Mac which is verry ‘Applesque’.

MacBook ProAnd the last thing of the keynote is the introduction of the PowerBook ancestor, the MacBook Pro. This new laptop has obviously an Intel processor, namely a Core Duo. The powerconsumption of these processors is significantly lower than the consumption of the G4 and G5. The speed is four to five times better than the previous PowerBooks. It is the thinnest laptop from Apple and available with a 15,4″ widescreen with high brightness and iSight webcam. The laptop come with a remote control and Frontrow. Also it feature MagSave, which is a powerconnector which is magnetically held in, so when someone pulls on the powercord, it yanks right out from the laptop. This feature is ‘patent pending’ according to Steve. The MacBook Pro is available with a 1,67GHz Core Duo processor and a model with a 1,83GHz Core Duo processor.

Intel introduces Centrino Duo-platform

Today Intel introduced the Centrino Duo platform which is the successor of the current Centrino platform, codenamed Sonoma and based on the Pentium M-processor with Dothan-core and i915-chipset. The brand new Centrino Duo platform comes with the much anticipated Yonah processor which is a dual core processor for laptops, but incorporates the energy efficient technology of the previous Pentium M processors. The codename of the new Centrino platform is ‘Napa’, and apart from the Yonah processor, it exists of the Intel Mobile 945 Express chipset and the PRO/Wireless 3945ABG wlan chip (don’t know if it is already supported on Linux, probably not).

Intel Yonah (Core Duo) processorOf course, the most interesting part of this new platform is the dual core processor. According to benchmarks of AnandTech is the performance of the processor better than its predecessors. Not only speedwise the processor is better, but despite its extra core and other enhancements, the energy consumption is lower in comparisation of the Dothan core.

The expectations are that Apple will introduce new systems based on the Yonah processor coming Tuesday. Rumours are that probably the iBook will be renewed, but also the possibility of a new Mac mini are discussed. The new Mac mini should be powered by the Yonah processor and include a iPod dock.

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