Home » Intel Macs Today… My predictions through 4/1/2007

Intel Macs Today… My predictions through 4/1/2007

So, I was a bit surprised at the choice to release a 32-bit iMac to succeed the G5. Most experts seem to be saying this won’t matter for most people, but I disagree. The 64-bit capabilities of the G5 are pretty important for editing home or professional video, and that is one arena where the Mac is competing very well for market share against Windows. At 12 GB/hr of footage, it’s simply not possible to fit even 30 minutes of video into 32-bit memory space. With the iMac being a dual core, you will actually be wanting to fit almost twice the video you could before into RAM. With a 32-bit processor that won’t be possible, and it really won’t feel any faster for video editing than the iMac G5.

I had been predicting that we would see an iBook and a Mini. My primary reason for this is that Yonah (the dual core processor driving the Intel Macs) is only 32-bit. The Pro notebook and desktop lines, as well as the iMac, I reasoned, would wait another quarter until the 64-bit bigger brother of Yonah is available. But Apple would want to release both a desktop/media center capable entry and a laptop showcasing the low power, dual core processing muscle of their new CPUs. That pretty much left the Mini and the iBook as likely candidates.

I was partly right: they did go for the desktop and laptop spaces simultaneously. However, they did something that in retrospect should have been, at least partially, obvious. The MacBook Pro is clearly meant to fill the gap left by the missing PowerBook G5. Apple wanted to fill that gap, and the PowerBook (now MacBook Pro) does that nicely when compared to the G4 models.

The iMac is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it may be that most people who want lots of memory buy PowerMacs, so Apple didn’t feel that address space was an issue. It’s also, as has been documented elsewhere, the “flagship” line, and so it makes some sense for it to be one of the first models available with the new chips.

So, I’ve got some new predictions. First, Apple’s 30 Year Anniversary is 4/1/2006. I think we’ll see at least another desktop model and whatever iBook becomes announced 4/1. I think the desktop will probably be whatever PowerMac becomes, with 64-bit processors. It may well be that we see the entire rest of the line announced (i.e. Mini, PowerMac, iBook and, if not entirely dead, eMac).

We’ll see iMac refreshed with 64-bit processors in September. And I think we will get a preview of Leopard (the successor to OS 10.4.x) at WWDC in June/July, to steal some thunder from Vista. We may also get an announcement between now and 4/1/2007 that OS/X for Intel is available with limited support for generic PCs, for exactly the same reason. This would be the right window, if they are ever going to do it, because it will capitalize on the confusion that the Vista launch will bring to the Windows marketplace.

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