Apple’s Achille’s Heel…

No question that games have been Apple’s Achille’s heel. In fact, one of the key reasons I purchased an HP laptop was for games (my 11 year old son begged me). Of course, there are a host of little utility things that only a PC can do since the manufacturer <insert name here> doesn’t support the Mac for some miscellaneous dweebezaarb application.

What if the upcoming Mac on Intel took care of that?

When announcing this past Summer that going forward Apple would be primarily supporting the Intel chipsets — and that developer’s needed to create “universal binaries” with Rosetta (powered by Transitive) so they’d run on both the current PowerPC chips as well as the future Intel ones — I became quite interested in the emulation possibilities.

Games are, however, far too demanding to run well in emulation. Every ounce of performance is necessary to provide a good user experience. An experience which is, in fact, growing ever more powerful and rich with the advent of new gaming systems like the Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

Still, there is a lot of interest and debate about what Apple will do in this PowerPC to Intel transition. What if there was a minimal, base-case load of Windows (or an emulator) so that games and other applications would operate natively on Intel? Could Apple provide a near-equal gaming experience with Windows games yet have Mac OS X be the dominant operating system? It’s intriguing to think that — with this transition — Apple would instantly and immediately remove the one key problem users have in switching to Apple: games.

High tech….always an adventure.

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2 Comments

  1. Sean Underhill on November 21, 2005 at 2:30 am

    Just one correction I’d point out… Rosetta is the emulation layer for PowerPC-only binaries on Intel. Universal binaries contain Intel and PowerPC binaries, and are created with Apple’s Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

    One problem with Rosetta though is that it doesn’t support code that uses G4 or G5 specific functionality. It’ll run anything that will run on a G3, however.



  2. Steve Borsch on November 21, 2005 at 7:44 am

    Thanks for the clarity around Rosetta.

    The not supporting code on PowerPC specific areas (like AltiVec) could be an issue. But I’d be curious if anyone has done any quantitative analysis over how many applications actually take advantage of PPC-only aspects?



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