Today has yielded two news items from Apple. One is wild speculation. The other is real news. Let’s start with the real news.
iTunes Podcast Support
Steve Jobs, at D: All Things Digital Conference, announced that iTunes 4.9 will have Podcasting support. iTunes will allow you to subscribe Podcast RSS feeds and automatically download the song files into your library. The update is due within 60 days.
In the meantime, I’ll still use NetNewsWire (and I may do so after). Apple adding this is almost trivial now that they have the Safari RSS backbone to use. The question in my mind is whether Apple will try to integrate a bittorrent client. I find podcast feeds that distribute using Bittorrent exceedingly irritating. Currently, the only feed that I subscribe to that does this is This Week in Tech. Ok, ok, so they probably have the largest listening audience out of any podcast, but having to screw around with Bittorrent completely defeats the purpose of podcasts (they’re delivered automatically without user intervention).
Macs to Use Intel Microprocessors
The annual (or is it bi-annual now?) rumor that Apple is thinking of going to Intel processors is back. According to the AP (via ABC News), Apple is in talks with Intel to put their microprocessors into Macs. Naturally, not understanding why this is highly improbable and costly even if it were to happen, the stock market jumped at the news. Yes, these are the same people that cause stock prices to go down shortly after a company posted higher than expected profits.
Wall Street was cheered by the Apple report as such a change could be the biggest shift in the Mac’s makeup since it came out in 1984 and could make the machines less expensive.
Geez. People read and believe this crap. God forbid that the AP do some actual research. Several things would be necessary for this move to take place.
First, Apple would need to maintain two versions of Mac OS X (in order to deal with the architecture differences). It’s not like that would be expensive. Nah. Imagine two codebases and making sure that any fixes applied to one works with the other.
Two, Apple would need to get developers to recompile their old apps for x86 and either distribute in a fat format (combined PowerPC and x86) or two separate versions. The former option would be space heavy and the latter is simply confusing. That sounds fabulous. That also assuming that Apple could get developers to go along with this and even if all active developers do, what about all those old gems that haven’t been updated for a long time? Users of the new x86 machines wouldn’t be able run them. That is unless Apple bundled an emulator (there’s more cost).
Three, related to the above, Apple would need to get developers to optimize their applications using Altivec and x86 specific chip features. I’m sure Adobe is chomping at the bit to do that. Programs that use low level bit manipulation are going to require major rewrites. Where do I sign up?
Despite those three facts, Wall Street thinks this will make Macs less expensive. Pass the pipe boys, cause that’s some good shit.
The only way for Apple to avoid all that and use Intel would be if Intel suddenly started developing PowerPC chips despite never having shown motivation to do so before. Even if they did, does anyone really think that Intel will be able to cheaply research, develop, and manufacture PowerPC chips starting from scratch with no prior experience? That’s even more laughable!
Someone must feel at least a little bit embarressed about publishing this over at the Associated Press. At least I hope. Maybe it’s time someone looked into making a syndicated tech news service because existing services are falling down onto their collective ass.
Update: Matt Deatherage thinks it’s a load of crap too.
Update: So does John Gruber.