The end of the Powerbook (as we know it)

by Dave in

Well, it's happening again. The rumor mill is spurring on stories about Apple switching processor platforms to Intel. Plenty of folks have their theories on what's happening and why. I tend to agree with the folks that think Apple's trying to send a public message to IBM, but it'll all come out in the wash soon enough. My big concern: if this happens, what will become of our beloved PowerBook? Having worked with both platforms for years, I have to say that there is nothing on the Wintel side that comes close to matching the elegance of the PowerBook. The big reason (other than companies that can't design their way out of a plastic box) is heat. The Intel processors put out way more heat than the PowerPC's do and, therefore, the cases need to be bigger and have more fans. So, it stands to reason, if Apple moves to Intel-based chips, we should assume that the PowerBook (as we know it) will go away in place of something bigger and bulkier to accomodate that excess heat.

But will it really make a difference which platform they use? Even if Apple stays with the PowerPC, we have almost the same issue. Apple has said (and repeated) that to step the PowerBook up to a G5-based platform would be "the mother of all thermal challenges". Well, they can't stay on the G4 forever. Plenty of people I talk to (myself included -- yes, I talk to myself) are considering moving away from the PowerBook as their main machine simply because it can't match the speeds offered by today's desktops.

So to stay current, Apple's got to do something with the PowerBook, and all indicators point to our elegant machine dying away.

And no.. I don't feel fine.