Apple and AMD have been working together of late, a senior AMD official admitted at the launch of the chip maker's 64-bit Opteron processor this week. During the press Q&A, the head of AMD's server business, Marty Seyer, said the company had been talking to "all tier one and tier two vendors". Of course, only a few of them have committed themselves to supporting Opteron, leaving the company will its usual base of little known customers, but that's by the by. All tier one and tier two vendors? we wondered, and latter popped the question, "so we can conclude you've been talking to Apple as well then?" Said senior official fell silent for a moment then turned to his PR minder and asked, "Can we talk about what we're doing with them yet?" The answer was a muddy 'not sure... have to get back to on that' kind of thing?
So what can we read into this little interchange? Certainly there have been rumours aplenty in the past concerning Apple's possible migration to the x86 world, and AMD's x86-64 technology - now officially known as 'AMD64', by the way - in particular. We've always found such claims incredible, given the considerable difficulties of managing the migration users and software developers to a new platform.Yes, Apple is a past master at this, witness the 680x0 to PowerPC shift, but don't underestimate the effort involved.
Then again, practical issues, such as the paucity of high-performance PowerPC processors might just tip Apple's hand, forcing the company to take the hard path because it has no choice. With IBM's 64-bit PowerPC 970 coming up, it's hard to imagine Apple feeling such pressure right now. Assuming it does choose to use the 970 - and all the indications are that it will - it will gain a significant speed boost, and an easy migration path to 64-bit computing.
News source: The Reg