Positive report on the new Intel Macs

AppleInsider has the scoop (via an IM from Soini). If this report is accurate, and there’s no reason not to think so, then the new Intel based Macs which will be released next year are going to be very nice. Here are some choice quotes:

“It’s fast,” said one developer source of Mac OS X running on Intel’s Pentium processors. “Faster than [Mac OS X] on my Dual 2GHz Power Mac G5.” In addition to booting Windows XP at blazing speeds, the included version of Mac OS X for Intel takes “as little as 10 seconds” to boot to the Desktop from when the Apple logo first displays on screen.

What interests me more is Rosetta, the software that allows for current PowerPC applications to run on the Intel-based systems with no recompiles and changes. Rosetta will be crucial during the transition period betwen the PowerPC chips and the Intel chips. So far Rosetta seems promising:

Developers sources say the early version of Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator that is designed to run unaltered PowerPC applications on Intel Macs, is also impressive. “Rosetta is completely 100 percent seamless and nothing like the Classic environment used to run older Mac OS 8 and 9 applications under Mac OS X,” one source told AppleInsider.
. . .
Since the developer version of Mac OS X for Intel offers users the option of running any application under Rosetta, developers have been able to perform rudimentary speed comparisons between native Intel Mac applications and those that must first filter through the Rosetta binary translator.

“Taking a universal binary and timing its startup in Intel native speed versus its startup when opened via Rosetta results in a slowdown, but not as much as one would think,” said another source. “The apps run at about 65 to 70 percent of their normal speed.”

However, some PowerPC-native applications realize little to no speed reductions while running under Rosetta. A source told AppleInsider the current PowerPC version of the popular Firefox web browser loads just as fast under Mac OS X Intel as it does on a high-end dual processor Power Mac G5.

I’m guessing Rosetta will never be able to run high-end games and applications at an acceptable speed, but Apple still has a year to optimize it and get it up to snuff. At this point it seems Apple has a real good thing going.

In other Apple news, Apple is cleaning up financially. Some eye-popping third quarter numbers: 320 million in profits (highest ever), 6 million iPod sold (616% growth over last year), 425% net profit growth over a year ago, a gross margin of 29.7%, and a revenue of $2.01 billion (75% growth).

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