But which chip is Intel making for Apple? (kottke.org):
Everyone's assuming that 'switching to Intel chips' meant x86 chips (found in most common desktop computers), but what if they're going to be manufacturing the PowerPC chips (or almost-compatible ones) that OS X already runs on?
Now since Apple has been involved with PowerPC since its inception (the whole AIM alliance thing which brought together design teams from Motorola (now Freescale), IBM, and Apple), might Apple have enough IP to license PPC to another chip designer/manufacturer? If so, then this could be very good news for Apple. Then they could rely on PowerPCs from multiple companies (Freescale seems more interested in the embedded market as of late). I wonder if IBM's processor design teams have been stretched thin lately designing Cell for Sony/Toshiba (PS3) and Xenon for Microsoft (Xbox360) to concentrate on Apple's low volume business.
I guess my question for the geeks out there is how tough would it be for Intel to connect different instruction decode engines (x86, PPC, etc.) to their execution engines? From my outsider's view, I would think it would be easier for Intel to do this on their more modern Pentium-4 design. Since Pentium-M is actually based on the older Pentium-III design, I would think that the Instruction decoding would be a little more tightly coupled to the execution engine (There's a good article on Pentium-M's design on Anandtech).
What are your thoughts? Could Intel-PPC be possible? Is Apple moving to x86? Or is this the outgrowth of the Vanderpool virtualization technology Intel has been touting for a couple years now?
apple, intel, ppc, microprocessor