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The Pulpit
Pulpit Comments
October 20, 2008 -- Ctrl-Alt-Del
Status: [CLOSED]

Will the new iMacs be fast enough to play NerdTV season 2?

Jerry | Oct 20, 2008 | 6:25PM

1) The costly product transition was most likely the greener Mac notebooks. The uni-body case requires a lot more R&D cost than the typical aluminium stamped or plastic mold notebook.

2) Following Apple's history it seems reasonable that multi-core balancing will be accessed by 3rd-parties through the relatively simple inclusion of the Grand Central frameworks when they are added to Xcode. Hopefully we'll an update and full demo of SL at MWSF.

3) While 1080p would work for marketing on iTS video, a lot more Kbps is what is truly needed to be "good enough" to really kick Blu-ray in the balls.

4) I am not so sure we'll see any Mac desktop updates for the holiday. I think the lingering Mac Mini will get a complete revision to aluminium in January, the Mac Pro will get Nehelem, and the iMac will get NVIDIA's chipset. I don't think the iMac will get an update because it already got a"special" Santa Rosa back in April that had Montevina speeds.

5) Going along with my #4, Apple's growth is showing that they need more staggered releases. We saw what happened in July when a large Apple releases MobileMe, iPhone OS 2.0, iPhone 3G and the App Store all at the same time like a small Apple could.

solipsism | Oct 20, 2008 | 6:28PM

I have been under the assumption that the profit hit was the switch to the unibody frames for the same reasons that Jerry mentions in the previous comment. I'm certain that as these hit a great number through mass production, cost (to Apple; probably not to us) will come down.

But I also wondered about this $800 Mac laptop rumor that seemed so strong in the weeks leading up to the announcement. I still have to wonder if Apple originally planned to sell the white MacBook at $799 instead of $999 with much lower profit margins, but just changed their minds last minute?

R. Mansfield | Oct 20, 2008 | 6:48PM

Isn't bandwidth going to be a problem? I just looked at Apple's HDTV trailers and they weigh in at about 130 MB. I didn't time the trailers, but I'm going to guess that the full movie will be about 4 GB. That means that if you download 10 movies per month and do nothing else with your internet connection, you're over Time Warner's new cap - not to mention that it would take quite some time to download. My connection maxes out at about 160 Kbs which I figure would take about 7 hours to download a 4 GB movie. I would call that impractical, but it's not really all that far from being practical.

I don't suppose Time Warner really wants to cannibalize their own cable TV business anyway, but they will if they have to.

c23 | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:05PM

Moving to its own microprocessors would IN NO WAY maintain Windows compatibility. PA Semi makes Power processors, and does not have a license to make the x86 or x86-64 processors that Windows (and current versions of MacOS) runs on. It's quite likely that Apple will switch to it's own processors for IPod/IPhone/AppleTV instead of the ARM (x86 for AppleTV) processors they currently use, but moving back to the Power architecture on the desktop/laptop has nearly a zero percent chance of happening.

Paul | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:14PM

1080p delivery requires a lot more bandwidth than what people have today in North America. Probably no less than 12 Mbps for BlueRay quality. This is about 11 GB for a 90 minute movie which is going to take a long time to download in most places except for Japan and Korea and a few others.

Spencer | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:15PM

Moving to its own microprocessors would IN NO WAY maintain Windows compatibility. PA Semi makes Power processors, and does not have a license to make the x86 or x86-64 processors that Windows (and current versions of MacOS) runs on. It's quite likely that Apple will switch to it's own processors for IPod/IPhone/AppleTV instead of the ARM (x86 for AppleTV) processors they currently use, but moving back to the Power architecture on the desktop/laptop has nearly a zero percent chance of happening.

Paul | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:17PM

I feel so left out. I never owned a Mac... :(

Lareman | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:19PM

I think the universe has conspired to undermine your article.

Apple, PsyStar Enter Settlement Talks
http://www.osnews.com/story/20418/Apple_PsyStar_Enter_Settlement_Talks

PaulGiamatti | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:21PM

Check out my blog (www.suppositio.us). Thanks for the info about the chips and such. And there's a conspicuous absence of an announcement of a smaller Apple laptop, which would *really* work harm on margins.

And, hey, isn't the new trend to doing *all* calculations on video chips? Would Steve allow himself to be left behind?

suppositio.us

suppositio.us | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:25PM

I have been biding my time and putting pfennigs aside for purchasing an Apple laptop which will take my XP SP3 into its loving arms. Yeah I know that the duality is there, but I am still a couple of drachma short. I will not go Vista, would rather go back to pen and papyrus than buy that piece of the MSN hog. I'm just a word processing spread sheet and internet kind of guy, so I don't need much beyond security, reliability and speed.

I guess I just lie low for awhile. Every upgrade MaSsaN has done to its office suite has driven me farther away. The last Windows Live Hotmail changes black and white to unseeable pastel blue.

Truthful James | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:41PM

I have been biding my time and putting pfennigs aside for purchasing an Apple laptop which will take my XP SP3 into its loving arms. Yeah I know that the duality is there, but I am still a couple of drachma short. I will not go Vista, would rather go back to pen and papyrus than buy that piece of the MSN hog. I'm just a word processing spread sheet and internet kind of guy, so I don't need much beyond security, reliability and speed.

I guess I just lie low for awhile. Every upgrade MaSsaN has done to its office suite has driven me farther away. The last Windows Live Hotmail changes black and white to unseeable pastel blue.

Truthful James | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:46PM

I have been biding my time and putting pfennigs aside for purchasing an Apple laptop which will take my XP SP3 into its loving arms. Yeah I know that the duality is there, but I am still a couple of drachma short. I will not go Vista, would rather go back to pen and papyrus than buy that piece of the MSN hog. I'm just a word processing spread sheet and internet kind of guy, so I don't need much beyond security, reliability and speed.

I guess I just lie low for awhile. Every upgrade MaSsaN has done to its office suite has driven me farther away. The last Windows Live Hotmail changes black and white to unseeable pastel blue.

Truthful James | Oct 20, 2008 | 7:48PM

The low margin product was an apple TV with enough DRM to make the studios happy. It also has a fast processor and Nvidia GPU to make it a casual gmaing platform via an expansion to the App Store on iTunes. Oh yes and don't forget that it is a DVR too. Blueray would have topped it off but that's not going to haappen. How does Apple make money on it? -- through the app store!

David B. | Oct 20, 2008 | 8:34PM

Or perhaps they're going to buy nVidia who already has some of the best silicon engineers around.

Where are they going with their unlimited license of the XP code? Why does the 10.5 executable loader know what a DLL is AND how to load one and complain when it can't? Why would apple roll out snow leopard without a major product push to go with it?

My wild ass speculation is that Apple is going to buy nVidia and by owning nVidia and PA they're going to have their own chipsets and chips designed in house both graphic and CPU and they're going to erase the line between the two.

They'll be including the ability to run some Window software in 10.7 or 10.8

Given the depressed prices they could also buy Sun and get their hands on SPARC and coolthreads, get the nVidia engineers and the Sun engineers working on chips and you'll have some amazing multithreaded stuff being pushed through.

Dave | Oct 20, 2008 | 8:55PM

I'd get a Mac, but I'm not gay.

Blah Blah | Oct 20, 2008 | 9:10PM

I'd get a Mac, but I'm not gay.

Blah Blah | Oct 20, 2008 | 9:11PM

"crappy Intel integrated graphics" - this is unfair. AMD/ATI and NVidia graphics chipsets are highly optimised for gaming.

There is a single pipeline to a single very fast video buffer. Reading anything *out* of the buffer, or transitioning to a different display is quite slow.

Intel's graphics chipsets are more general purpose. You can flip between different frame buffers much more quickly. You can read, and therefore merge, much more quickly. I would argue that Intel's graphics are better suited to everybody except hard-core gamers. As we want more compositing, picture-in-picture video and so on, Intel's approach will pay off.

Intel's graphics are well suited for notebooks, which are now more than half of all PCs sold.

Concrete Gannet | Oct 20, 2008 | 10:11PM

Mr. Cringley,

I very much enjoy reading your articles. However, I beg of you to change the name of the article to:

Control - Open Apple - Reset.

Apple II Forever.

John

John | Oct 20, 2008 | 10:19PM

Can you say digital TV transition in Feb 2009?
ATSC MPEG2/H.264 plus AppleTV plus over-the-top HD content all priced at early iPod prices...

Paul | Oct 20, 2008 | 10:25PM

"1080p delivery requires a lot more bandwidth than what people have today in North America. Probably no less than 12 Mbps for BlueRay quality."

For small values of Blu-ray quality.

You are not going to match BD quality with file sizes under 10GB. My experience with Apple's present HD offerings on my AppleTV is that they have more detail than the SD versions, but the banding, blocking and other artifacts are all present and accounted for, and in greater quantities than a good well mastered SD DVD.

Now as to whether most people care, there is room for discussion, but the quality difference is not hard to see.

B | Oct 20, 2008 | 10:52PM

What is this about Snow Leopard being late? Leopard was only released in October last year (which was 6-12 months behind schedule). And at WWDC08 Steve Jobs said Snow Leopard was scheduled to be released in about a year, or July-ish 09. There hasn't been any announcement that this general expected release has been pushed back.

And there is no way in the forseeable future Apple will move away from Intel processors. PA is more for handheld device's as that is their expertise. Very low power processors that provide good performance. They still have to support military hardware that uses their very low power consuming chips. Look forward to much longer battery life in iPods/iPhones. But not to iMacs running non-Intel processors. Maybe PA will develop a chip that will only be on Macs such that it becomes even harder to copy Macs. But not the actual processor.

Matthew | Oct 20, 2008 | 11:06PM

Apple can simply buy nVidia.

Then it can get nVidia to make a Apple-Specific GPU and chipset.

Since nVidia would be out of the chipset business except for making custom ones for Apple, then Mac would be just much harder to clone.

nVidia has a marketcap of $4 Billion. That makes it a tasty morsel for Apple.

James Katt | Oct 20, 2008 | 11:11PM

i bet steve was looking for some kind of agreement to be able to transfer the movies onto computers - didn't get it, so refused to ship blu ray players in his machine. that's his only leverage.

jamesa | Oct 21, 2008 | 12:05AM

Along with your readers you make some interesting points. I know I've been scratching my head since Apple dropped firewire on the MacBooks. They were selling at least locally because of firewire. No video acceleration chip will make up for that so what is really going on? The big picture is probably a sea-change inside Apple. Clockspeeds (x cores) have been stagnant for a year which reminds me or the G5 debacle. The Mini, which ought to be the most green desktop computer available and be touted every which way to businesses as such hasn't had a refresh in how long? Nor have we seen anything PA Semi yet, not that I really expected to until 2009 but remember PA Semi was not in the business of Intel compatible (x86*) but rather in embedded Power chips. I don't think Apple is going to dump the ability to run Windows but at the same time that decision has them boxed so that Pystar can make clones. So food for thought: back in the day their were ridiculously overpriced macs 71xx's with a Power PC 601 main CPU and a x86 chip on a daughter card. Could the cost be vastly reduced if you had a Power/PPC and x86 cores on the same silicon? That's entirely up PA Semi's alley. The PPC would run in low power situations and power the bulk of the Core* technologies while the x86 core would take tasks like Windows that required it and be powered off otherwise. NSBundle/Fat Binary solution already in place would seem ideal. Finally, Steve has proven over and over that he plays hard ball with vendors. The lack of Firewire could be a carrot while Nvidea is the stick that might push things forward.

Tom | Oct 21, 2008 | 12:12AM

Completely changing their manufacturing process for their most popular computer is obscenely expensive AND revolutionary. Manufacturing engineering is Greek to most people but going from their old process to their new process is like what it would cost in R&D to make an apple look like an orange. They're leagues apart; this is a big jump forward.

sarah | Oct 21, 2008 | 12:26AM

Sarah has it right; you missed the boat on this one. That new shell doesn't look like much but that's because you haven't used a toshiba lately. Apple has just put that much more distance into its lead in the build quality and "feel" stakes for laptops. It really matters.

Martin | Oct 21, 2008 | 12:52AM

Every tech writer misses this. The product transition Peter Oppenheimer suggested was the MacBook brick. It's more expensive machining the new MacBook, than pressing and casting the old one. Everyone assumed it would mean a notebook below $1000. What you get instead is vastly superior quality.

Jan | Oct 21, 2008 | 1:20AM

1.)The dog and pony show last week was not about the notebooks - that could have been handled as a standard Apple press release and online video press kit via the company website. No, this show was about Steve Jobs gradually handing off Apple to two like-minded successors who will continue his vision and quell any nervousness from investors and consumers. Tim Cook and Phil Shiller are being groomed as heirs presumptive, this outing will be the first of many where Steve Jobs will let Tim and Phil more or less run the presentations, while he looks on, occasionally giving an assenting nod. Steve is not sick or dying, but the question of his mortality must have him thinking there is more to life than what he has achieved so far at Apple. Steve may not entirely let go of the reins, perhaps retain a chairman emeritus title, but he may be planning his own philanthropic adventure.

2.)The volatility of recent market swings (is it an uptick or a dead cat bounce?) presented one or two possible real estate/retail opportunities. Neighborhood Apple retail video download kiosks may become a reality.

3.)First, there were the Apple II clones, and they got snuffed out. When Jobs took the reins in '97, he put a bullet in the head of all the "sanctioned" Mac clones (and nearly took Be,Inc out,too). Defeating Psystar should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, unless it plays to Apple's advantage to allow Psystar to operate, but only by Apple's largess, which can be withdrawn at any time with little if any notice.

4.)Oppenheimer is gonna' dodge that question Tuesday so expertly, it'll make Sarah Palin weep.

Kevin Kunreuther | Oct 21, 2008 | 1:20AM

I think it may have long been forgotten that Apple absorbed quite a bit of BeOS engineers in the past. Over the years I have seen Apple introduce things in OS X that was already figured out (quite well actually) by BeOS. One of the MAJOR strengths of the BeOS is it's design from the start to take full advantage of multiple processors or cores as they are called now. Be called it "pervasive multi-threading". What that means is that BeOS was designed so that from top to bottom it would generate many threads for any task even one as simple as opening a file manager window.

So you may wonder who cares, what does that mean to me? To understand it fully you would have to use the BeOS or in it's current open source form, Haiku. Unlike ANY other graphical OS I have ever used (Mac OS, OS/2, Windows, OS X, Linux) there is NO such thing as an hour glass, spinning beach ball, etc. Since the threading is so smooth on BeOS as you load it with more concurrent tasks it just get slower and slower but never does it choke and make you wait. It just keeps getting slower. If you reduce the load it speeds back up. Again, in order to understand the joy of using BeOS and why a group would create an open source version when BeOS was sold off you would have to use it. Just imagine never seeing a stupid "waiting..." icon when you are trying to get your work done. There is a 20 minutes video Be created after they ported to Intel CPUs that does a great job of showing what I am talking about, just look it up on YouTube.

The point of all this is that I believe the Be engineers within Apple have convinced Apple to make Snow Leopard all about performance and hopefully we will see Snow Leopard perform like BeOS. Now that would be a true game changer and M$ should be worried because using an operating system that smooth is addicting, just ask the BeOS fans.

Hal Hanson | Oct 21, 2008 | 1:25AM

I vote for the "brick" as the product transition. Let's run some numbers. Oppenheimer said the GMs would fall to 30% in 2009. That's a 4.8% drop from last quarter's 34.8%. Of course, Oppenheimer was using 33% in his calculations for last quarter. In other words, Oppenheimer is attributing a 3% drop in GMs due to this product transition. Let's say Apple sales are $40B in 2009, up almost 30% from 2008, then 3% of $40B is about $1.2B. Perhaps he was being overly conservative with guidance, as usual, so let's say the actual drop in GMs due to the transition is just 2%, or $800M in increased costs of mfr. Wow, if you have 10M laptops, a big increase from the 7M laptops sold in 2008, then that would come out to $80 in additional costs of mfr due to the product transition. Some of that is going to all LED-backlit screens, which is more expensive, but alot of that is due to the expensive CNC-milling required for the new laptop frames. Milling takes time. Recycling aluminum waste costs money. I can easily see $20 to $40 of that cost in more expensive LED screens, and $40 to $60 in more expensive CNC-milling, adding to the $80 in additional costs per laptop. There's your $800M in increased costs of mfr.

KenC | Oct 21, 2008 | 2:49AM

I am very surprised that you, and other knowledgeable people, are expecting so much from Snow Leopard, given that the common name for a snow leopard is an ounce! Apple is actually going to release a lightweight operating system that will be mainly bug fixes.

Forbes Wilson | Oct 21, 2008 | 3:20AM

I can't believe the title of this article didn't start "Cmd-Option-Esc"

ginswizzle | Oct 21, 2008 | 5:59AM

Snow Leopard's hoped increased stability and performance will be greatly appreciated. However, as the "Apple Tax" increases and the number of options I am NOT allowed to use expands (firewire, BluRay), I find myself looking at my son's Linux media server more and more.

Jim Fearing | Oct 21, 2008 | 7:51AM

It think the logical thing for GPU manufacturers to do is support hardware acceleration for all Blu Ray-mandated codecs at the very least. That this MB/MBP's Quicktime-only does so for H.264 syncs with what QT supports via software codecs right now. My guess is there will be ways for codec writers to access that hardware too once Apple clarifies the API with Quicktime X.

About that product transition and its cost: I guess it can be three things:

-The cost of the new Unibody process manufacturing plant, which ultimitely could affect all of Apple's product lines.

-The cost of transitioning to PA Semi's components' design and fabrication.

-The eternal iTablet thing (in a gorgeous Unibody).

(Or everything at once :))

About your multicore thesis: I wonder how Larrabee would fit in there.

Snafu | Oct 21, 2008 | 9:03AM

Why do you think Snow Leopard's release has slipped. Apple's scheduled release of Snow Leopard is for Summer 2009.

Matthew Hinton | Oct 21, 2008 | 9:06AM

What about Apple starting to produce LCD TVs to display the 1080p iTunes content--wouldn't that hit the bottom line, but be a logical extension of what Apple's already doing? Can you imagine a 46" LCD TV in your living room with an Apple logo on it, using iTunes and a wireless keyboard/trackpad combo lap pad for surfing the web and/or checking your email?

petachya | Oct 21, 2008 | 9:08AM
Snafu | Oct 21, 2008 | 9:15AM

thank you for not using the phrase "game changer."

matt | Oct 21, 2008 | 10:40AM

Isn't this a bit of a stretch?

Apples laptops are built by an entirely new process. Its easily possible that they cost more to make. Also completely changing their assembly line is bound to reduce margins for a while.

Throw in the cost of the extra graphics processor and its even a closer match.

stwf | Oct 21, 2008 | 11:14AM

It was the iPhone 3G. Those teardowns are bogus.

jhn | Oct 21, 2008 | 11:23AM

Maybe you should just consider that Apple is overpriced, underpowered, overtly proprietary, and compared to what can be purchased for lots less money, Apple Sucks. Let the fascist skeletor retire on his back dated options, and let this hype machine of a company compete on level ground.

Zanny Blowzdogs | Oct 21, 2008 | 11:57AM

Agree with stwf. The product transition involved lower margins for the quarter just ended, not the upcoming quarter. What happened during the last quarter that cost Apple money and that nobody knew about until the quarter was already over? Apple was secretly building brand-new laptops with a brand-new manufacturing process that is likely not yet seeing large efficiencies of scale. (Note that the new laptops are already in stores and in reviewers hands, no delay... so they must have been built prior to the announcement.)

sd | Oct 21, 2008 | 12:25PM

I don't think there will be a need to rewrite any applications because of Snow Leopard. I don't know how Apple handles this now, but Windows already does this. It's not to hard to make the OS run heavy weight processes on different cores, since all the cores have access to the same memory address space. I am not so sure about threads because threads share the parents Process Control Block, although I don't see why this would be an issue since the PCB resides in memory. If you run Windows XP on a machine with multiple cores, and open the Task Manager, it will show you a graphic of each core and it's current load.
This is still not "Parallel Computing" as it is known in computer science. In parallel computing you will actually run the "if-then-else," "while," and "For" statements on different cores at the same time. This is a very non-trivial matter and does require the code to be written a special way to do it.

ParallelMan | Oct 21, 2008 | 2:33PM

OS/X is based on BSD. BSD trounces Linux in scalability already. I would hope that the improvements to thread processing and core handling that Apple (and it's BeOS minions) is creating will eventually become part of mainstream BSD releases. Pretty please?
The aluminum cases have some other benefits, namely as a huge heat spreader, which makes the notebooks more reliable and increases overall quality and consumer perception. Also I would be willing to wager that the aluminum case does wonders for the reduction of RFI emissions...something that government users would be very glad to see (Tempest).
FireWire is a great, speedy technology...that comes at increased cost. I'm sure the marketing mavens at Apple polled their users of the lower end machines and found that they really didn't feel like spending the extra $20-30 for a FireWire drive and instead bought a USB drive. Speedy enough to suit most users' purposes. Apple saved the space and more importantly, the extra cost. Go to Fry's and see how much of the aisle is devoted to USB peripherals versus FireWire. And for those that don't mind spending $2500, they can have their precious FireWire 800 port.
Power processors...what else uses them? Oh, that's right...TiVo! There's been more than a few rumors about Apple buying TiVo of late...AppleTiVo sounds like a great name...just a couple of extra letters. Apple is firmly entrenched in the Intel camp for CPU's on its desktop and notebook lines, and I don't expect any significant changes there for the foreseeable future. However, they could use some of this chipset building expertise to protect its product line, denying the cloners and the dualbooters at the same time. Maybe an Apple WINE is in the cards...

MrWindows | Oct 21, 2008 | 3:02PM

BSD trounces Linux in scalability? While FreeBSD and Linux definitely trade blows back and forth at the "lower" end (less than 16 CPUs) I've yet to hear about FreeBSD scaling to 64 CPUs like vanilla Linux already does. With patches, Linux can run on machines with 1024 CPUs so I'd argue FreeBSD as yet doesn't "scale" as high (FreeBSD tends to be the best performing BSD outside the network stack too).

Anon | Oct 21, 2008 | 5:51PM

I agree with Paul when I say that Apple moving back to the PowerPC architecture for its laptops and desktops is highly unlikely. Customers would LOOSE productivity, unable to run windows along side OS X to run their Microsoft games, unless Apple makes an emulator (PowerPC to X86), in which windows and the sofware running on top of it would take longer to do the same tasks as before.

And Bob X. Cringley, do you honestly think that P.A. Semi can dish out a CPU that will even come close to matching the performance of Intel's new Nehalem Chipset & CPU? I don't think so, not unless they have something up their nostrils they want to pull out.

danwat1234 | Oct 21, 2008 | 8:32PM

Well, having just listened to the Apple conference call, I think it is now safe to assume that the "product transition" was indeed the "brick" and the lower prices on the iPod Touch.

KenC | Oct 21, 2008 | 8:40PM

Wait, Bob Cringley, are you saying that P.A. Semi may be making a chipset in which an Intel CPU could plop onto and function properly, or both a P.A. Semi Chipset & a P.A. Semi CPU being developed?

I don't know how P.A. Semi would have the Intell(igence) info to make their own Nehalem compatible chipset...
I believe they will offer technological advancement with the Ipod and their other ARM based products only.

danwat1234 | Oct 21, 2008 | 8:42PM

The product transition Apple is talking about is going from high-volume manufacturing processes to the low-volume "brick" process. You heard it from Ive directly - they cut out the case from a solid plate of aluminium.

Then think about inventory and efficiency. Suddenly your inventory can't be fixed, you have to find the balance between productivity and aluminum plate supply so you can still hit your production targets without your inventory costs exploding because most of your aluminum is scrap in a bin waiting to be re-melted, re-forged, and returned as new plates.

So this brick manufacturing system is expensive and forces you to plan inventory and manufacturing very carefully to ensure adequate supply without tying up too much money and inventory in the process.

They gave this all away in the presentation. Highly custom manufacturing, but material intensive.

This transition easily accounts for lower margins due to a transition. It's a new case manufacturing process and it looks like it may come to impact the MacBooks and possibly iMacs.

Graham | Oct 22, 2008 | 12:53AM

Did Steve Jobs hog that conference call today, or what? Why was Oppenheimer there?
Basically, he tells us Apple is happy being a "niche" player, selling Porsches and not Pintos to a loyal fanbase. Oddly enough, that strategy may get it through the rough patch the economy is going through. Interesting that he confesses about the unsuccessfulness of AppleTV, though it sounds like he's not going to dump it just yet (it'll remain as a "hobby"). Kind of a weak swipe at Android, it would have been better to say nothing at all. Perhaps he is worried about its presence, though I think it'll boil down to how well the companies that employ Android know how to market their phones.

Kevin Kunreuther | Oct 22, 2008 | 1:00AM

Bob,

The trick to full-blown 1080i video isn't the decompression at the client end - there's chipsets out there, including nVidia, that can accomplish that. The trick is content - where to get it, how to transport it, and most importantly, how to keep it locked up so that only subscribers can watch it. So sayeth the MPAA - for as long as "their" media is being transported across the Internet (or even across private networks), it's either DRM-locked, or it's pirated, in their view. So, that's a major hurdle to IP-based media transport.

Apple TV will probably remain a 'niche' until Jobs courts an IPTV provider, and figures out how to dovetail DRM and such things as program guide and DVR applications onto whatever platform that provider is using. So far the major IPTV platforms are AT&T and Verizon - once the tech gets deployed to decent saturation, then we should begin to see companies like Apple build IPTV capability into their set-tops and computers.

They'd better hurry - rumor has it that Microsoft is putting an IPTV client into upcoming versions of the XBox (where it would dovetail right into AT&T's product offering - the client load for Cisco and Motorola IPTV sets is essentially a custom Windows CE build).

George | Oct 22, 2008 | 8:48AM

I agree, there is a lot of "potential energy" in the new MacBooks, that will be unleashed with Snow Leopard/Grand Central.

"Snow Leopard is late, but then operating system updates are always late, no matter the vendor. " How so? I have never seen statements that 10.6 was expected before January.

Also, the bandwidth costs for delivering 1080p can't be underestimated. Apple is probably waiting for CDN costs to come down, thus improving the margin on video delivery.

Mason | Oct 22, 2008 | 9:57AM

"seamless use of as many cores as are available"

Sure sounds like Nvidia's CUDA compiler, available free on PCs now (Windows or Linux). It allows you to create one SIMD application program (like an H.264 decoder) that will automatically use multiple cores OR offload to an Nvidia GPU.

Andrew Burgess | Oct 22, 2008 | 11:09AM

Where did you get the idea that the new iMacs are due out this week? Every predictor-blog points to mid-November at the earliest.

Dan | Oct 22, 2008 | 1:25PM

Apple is not going to build it own chips when it has Intel doing all the heavy lifting of designing and mass producing good chips. Intel is the best at what it does. Apple is not going to buy nVidia for the same reason. Why would Apple spend all that money to do something it couldn't do better?
What Apple has done best is streamlining their product line (saving money in support and qa), choosing the best venders for their Insanely Great products, and using buying power to lock out others (remember a few years back when Apple bought half the flash memory production for A YEAR, upfront, so scarcity caused competitors to have to pay more for the same flash? I bet the same thing is happening with LED LCD now; there is only so much production of these screens possible at this time.)
Chips are a commodities, Apple has made the aesthetic unity of software and hardware it's product.
The decreased margins are do to the higher quality components the consumer can see; faster graphics via nVidia chipset, LED LCD displays, and the new aluminum chasis. My guess is that nVidia didn't have a firewire chipset available currently; that might change or Apple may just decide to upsell Macbook users to Macbook Pros.
As others have mentioned, P.A. Semi doesn't do x86. That is the one instance where Apple has hedged its bets with venders for the iPhone; if Apple can't find what it it looking for on the market it will design its own, further distinguishing the iPhone from other smart phones.
OS X Snowleopard will be the point of declamation for Macs; either you have a fancy new metal intel mac and can run snowleopard with all its bells and whistles or you don't. 10.4 will be put to pasture and 10.5 will be around for a year or two
to support PPC. In the process Apple will not have to support those old architectures saving gobs of money.

swheatle | Oct 22, 2008 | 6:57PM

Apple is not going to build it own chips when it has Intel doing all the heavy lifting of designing and mass producing good chips. Intel is the best at what it does. Apple is not going to buy nVidia for the same reason. Why would Apple spend all that money to do something it couldn't do better?
What Apple has done best is streamlining their product line (saving money in support and qa), choosing the best venders for their Insanely Great products, and using buying power to lock out others (remember a few years back when Apple bought half the flash memory production for A YEAR, upfront, so scarcity caused competitors to have to pay more for the same flash? I bet the same thing is happening with LED LCD now; there is only so much production of these screens possible at this time.)
Chips are a commodities, Apple has made the aesthetic unity of software and hardware it's product.
The decreased margins are do to the higher quality components the consumer can see; faster graphics via nVidia chipset, LED LCD displays, and the new aluminum chasis. My guess is that nVidia didn't have a firewire chipset available currently; that might change or Apple may just decide to upsell Macbook users to Macbook Pros.
As others have mentioned, P.A. Semi doesn't do x86. That is the one instance where Apple has hedged its bets with venders for the iPhone; if Apple can't find what it it looking for on the market it will design its own, further distinguishing the iPhone from other smart phones.
OS X Snowleopard will be the point of declamation for Macs; either you have a fancy new metal intel mac and can run snowleopard with all its bells and whistles or you don't. 10.4 will be put to pasture and 10.5 will be around for a year or two
to support PPC. In the process Apple will not have to support those old architectures saving gobs of money.

swheatle | Oct 22, 2008 | 6:57PM

Apple is not going to build it own chips when it has Intel doing all the heavy lifting of designing and mass producing good chips. Intel is the best at what it does. Apple is not going to buy nVidia for the same reason. Why would Apple spend all that money to do something it couldn't do better?
What Apple has done best is streamlining their product line (saving money in support and qa), choosing the best venders for their Insanely Great products, and using buying power to lock out others (remember a few years back when Apple bought half the flash memory production for A YEAR, upfront, so scarcity caused competitors to have to pay more for the same flash? I bet the same thing is happening with LED LCD now; there is only so much production of these screens possible at this time.)
Chips are a commodities, Apple has made the aesthetic unity of software and hardware it's product.
The decreased margins are do to the higher quality components the consumer can see; faster graphics via nVidia chipset, LED LCD displays, and the new aluminum chasis. My guess is that nVidia didn't have a firewire chipset available currently; that might change or Apple may just decide to upsell Macbook users to Macbook Pros.
As others have mentioned, P.A. Semi doesn't do x86. That is the one instance where Apple has hedged its bets with venders for the iPhone; if Apple can't find what it it looking for on the market it will design its own, further distinguishing the iPhone from other smart phones.
OS X Snowleopard will be the point of declamation for Macs; either you have a fancy new metal intel mac and can run snowleopard with all its bells and whistles or you don't. 10.4 will be put to pasture and 10.5 will be around for a year or two
to support PPC. In the process Apple will not have to support those old architectures saving gobs of money.

swheatle | Oct 22, 2008 | 6:58PM

Apple is not going to build it own chips when it has Intel doing all the heavy lifting of designing and mass producing good chips. Intel is the best at what it does. Apple is not going to buy nVidia for the same reason. Why would Apple spend all that money to do something it couldn't do better?
What Apple has done best is streamlining their product line (saving money in support and qa), choosing the best venders for their Insanely Great products, and using buying power to lock out others (remember a few years back when Apple bought half the flash memory production for A YEAR, upfront, so scarcity caused competitors to have to pay more for the same flash? I bet the same thing is happening with LED LCD now; there is only so much production of these screens possible at this time.)
Chips are a commodities, Apple has made the aesthetic unity of software and hardware it's product.
The decreased margins are do to the higher quality components the consumer can see; faster graphics via nVidia chipset, LED LCD displays, and the new aluminum chasis. My guess is that nVidia didn't have a firewire chipset available currently; that might change or Apple may just decide to upsell Macbook users to Macbook Pros.
As others have mentioned, P.A. Semi doesn't do x86. That is the one instance where Apple has hedged its bets with venders for the iPhone; if Apple can't find what it it looking for on the market it will design its own, further distinguishing the iPhone from other smart phones.
OS X Snowleopard will be the point of declamation for Macs; either you have a fancy new metal intel mac and can run snowleopard with all its bells and whistles or you don't. 10.4 will be put to pasture and 10.5 will be around for a year or two
to support PPC. In the process Apple will not have to support those old architectures saving gobs of money.

swheatle | Oct 22, 2008 | 6:59PM

I could be off, but when did Apple ever build their own chips?

Yeah, Apple had an alliance with Motorola and some other company I don't recall, which is where the A and M in ARM came from, but Apple didn't build chips.

John | Oct 22, 2008 | 11:35PM

You couldn't be more wrong. The IBM-Apple-Motorola alliance was, uh, AIM.

ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, or perhaps if you know a bit more history, Acorn RISC Machines.

A is not always for Apple.

Allen Baum | Oct 23, 2008 | 2:20AM

You couldn't be more wrong. The Apple-IBM-Motorola alliance was, uh, AIM.

ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines, or perhaps if you know a bit more history, Acorn RISC Machines.

A is not always for Apple.

Allen Baum | Oct 23, 2008 | 2:21AM

I'm dubious about itunes being useful for TV distribution, I mean with any kind of mass acceptance.
I subscribe to ADSL television now and it is much more convenient than using an apple computer to watch TV. Also, Apple has to rely on the benevolence of ISPs to be their content distribution network, when ISPs may want to be their own content distribution network. Like I say, the whole thing sounds dubious to me.
Incidentally I never use itunes, nor the ipod. I have a cell phone that utilizes bluetooth and a micro SD card. My Sony stereo receives bluetooth signals, so I can literally sit down in the couch when I get home & play the stereo from the cell phone. You can't do that on an ipod or even an iphone, I do believe. You can't really do anything conveniently on an Apple. I used to like Apple but I missed out on the whole OS-X generation. Just seems like a big waste of money for a bunch of fluff.

Grunchy | Oct 23, 2008 | 3:11PM
"Ctrl-Alt-Del"?

Snow Leopard late, when it was only announced 4 months ago?

Cringely, any vestige of credibility you had just flew the coop!

MacSmiley | Oct 23, 2008 | 4:02PM

My Sony stereo receives bluetooth signals, so I can literally sit down in the couch when I get home & play the stereo from the cell phone. You can't do that on an ipod or even an iphone, I do believe. You can't really do anything conveniently on an Apple.

You'd be wrong :-)

Apple has a free "remote control" program for the iPhone and iPod Touch that talks to either your computer or your AppleTV ($229) over your wifi network and controls iTunes. If you don't have an AppleTV then you can run an audio cable from your computer to your TV, or use an Airport Express ($99).

I can literally sit down in the couch when I get home & play the stereo from the iPhone. Or from anywhere in the house or yard, for that matter.

Bruce Hoult | Oct 25, 2008 | 1:53AM