Mac transition to Intel processors


The Mac transition to Intel processors was the process of changing the central processing unit (CPU) of Apple Inc.'s line of Mac computers, as well as its server offerings at the time, from PowerPC to Intel x86 processors.

The change was announced at the 2005 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who said Apple would gradually stop using PowerPC microprocessors supplied by Freescale (formerly Motorola) and IBM.[1]

This was the second time Apple changed the processor instruction set architecture of its personal computers. The first was in 1994, when Apple discarded the Mac's original Motorola 68000 series architecture in favor of the then-new PowerPC platform.[2]

Apple's initial press release said the move would begin by June 2006 and finish by the end of 2007, but it actually proceeded much more quickly. The first-generation Intel-based Macintoshes were released in January 2006 with Mac OS X 10.4.4 Tiger. In August, Jobs announced the last models to switch, with the Mac Pro available immediately and the Intel Xserve available by October[3] (it actually shipped in December).[4]

The final version of Apple's Mac OS that ran on PowerPC chips was 2007's Leopard (version 10.5), released in October 2007. The final version to run applications written for PowerPC chips, using the Rosetta binary translator, was 2009's Snow Leopard (version 10.6).[5] Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7) dropped support altogether.

In 2020, Apple announced that it would shift its Mac line to Apple silicon, which are ARM-based processors developed in-house.[2]

  1. ^ "Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006". Apple Inc. June 6, 2005. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen (June 22, 2020). "Apple gives Macs a brain transplant with new Arm chips starting this year". CNet. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Cohen, Peter (August 6, 2006). "WWDC Live Keynote Update". Macworld.
  4. ^ "Xserve Technology Overview" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers" (Press release). Apple Inc. June 9, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2017.

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