Is this yet another knock down drag out fight in the PC space? Time will tell as Apple intros new Core Duo PowerBooks. Teh new boxes use the latest Intel mobile chip except it's now packing double the cores and doesn't quite form a nuclear heater. Of course Intel had to "slow their roll" 50% with the fastest Prescott clocking at 3.8GHz and the new Yonah scaling a "measly" 2.0GHz.
On the other side of the coin, the software and hardware seem to switch places with XP barely holding a candle to Tiger, though the mainstream user is now moving more towards the "cooler, faster" AMD as evidenced by the numerous times the "minus-Dell" sales of retail AMD outdistanced Intel's P4 monopoly.
So the stage is set. Will Apple finally get 20% of the market? WIll Dell finally listen to their customers and offer Opteron\Athlon systems? WHo knows but th ething that is certain is that Intel still has a ways to go before they threaten the superiority of mighty Opteron and its FX\X2 brethren.
Apple's move definitely surprised everyone although one can wonder why they jumped into the frying pan when the counter was just as close. Motorola's latest dual core attempt needs a refrigeration unit to keep it from heat treating the the molded plastic in the IMac and friends, but Inrel is doing slightly better as even their .65 process has merely allowed them to say AMD is not better at load than Intel is at idle. The HP 585 owns the database space (TPC-H), the FX57 owns the gaming space, the Turion is making inroads and can only get better. Is this another case of Intel paying for the privilege or does Steve actually believe that AM2 will not give AMD the performance crown back in the 5% of cases where the new Intel 955 has captured it?
If I knew that, maybe more people would pay attention. AT any rate it iwll be interesting to see how competitive OS X is now with the latest MS offerings, such as X64 Pro. If Apple hopes to gain market share with this initiative, more than "fan-boys" had better be impressed with the performance, especially in cases where there is no native binary for the application. That shouldn't be a problem with Intel's deep pockets, buttiming is exceedingly important since .65 should take AMD up to at least 3.6GHz even with the current SanDiego\Venice architecture and should happen by Q3, just in time for Vista(coincidence?).
When all is said and done, this move by Apple will benefit customers while Intel will see very little additional income intiially, with Apple barely accounting for 10% of the world market. Even if Apple manages to grow market share by 50% or more, it will do little to Microsoft's domination. Even Apple's OpenGL runs better on AMD chips, so it begs the question, What market segment is Apple hoping to gain? PhotoShop is not that big a seller.