On April 26, I set off tremors in the PC industry with a short, simple post in my Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2005 blog. Apple Computer, I wrote, was "unhappy with the PowerPC production at IBM and will be switching to Intel-compatible chips this very year." The article was met with skepticism, and I received a lot of queries about the claim. The Macintosh-fanatic community reacted most violently, accusing me of inventing the story and needlessly dredging up a years-old rumor.
Today, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Apple and Intel are in talks to move the Mac to an Intel-based platform. Although neither company corroborated the report, "The Wall Street Journal" noted that it has multiple sources for the story (as, incidentally, I did for mine). "Two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies said Apple will agree to use Intel chips," the story reads. "One of the two industry executives said Apple isn't likely to market OS X for other PCs. Besides hurting its own hardware business, such a path would put Apple in more direct competition with Microsoft, whose application programs are important to the success of the Macintosh. Instead, the company is likely to package its modified software with its own Intel-based hardware."
Apple almost moved to Intel's chips in the past. The first attempt, in 1992, was dubbed Project Star Trek because it would have taken computing "where no man has gone before." Apple backed away from the project, however, because it would have drastically reduced the company's hardware sales, a primary source of Apple's income.
"The Wall Street Journal" reports that Apple could make the Intel announcement as soon as June 6, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs will present a keynote address at the company's developer confab, the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2005. Officially, however, Apple refers to the possibility of moving to Intel as "rumor and speculation."