Intel Inside?

It’s really weird: As Seen on TV‘s last comment (under that particular nickname) was on May 23rd and that was just to say that he hadn’t posted lately because he was out of town. I see three possible scenarios to explain his reticence:

  1. He’s been given a warning about his actions and has wisely toned it down.
  2. He’s sick and tired of Slashdot discussions, which is a perfectly understandable thing after 686 comments consisting mostly of shooting trolls.
  3. He’s gone quiet because he doesn’t want to give anything away before the WWDC.

While the first two are entirely possible, I tend to go with the third option. He was making his candid comments long after incredible attention was brought to bear on him and he was excessively patient with Slashdotters for at least two hundred of those comments. I think he wants to keep WWDC’s secrets because he’s an executive at Apple and sincerely does not want to spoil the fun.

If it’s true that Apple is moving its CPU base to Intel-manufactured chips, then that’s something he might want to keep quiet about even if he didn’t fear for his job. It’s such a momentous switch that he probably would want it to be a surprise.

However, knowing him (as I feel like I do after reading nearly every one of his comments starting from when he hadn’t even filled up his profile page), I don’t think he could resist posting on Slashdot. And with the recent Slashdot story about CNet’s confirmation of the Intel move, I think he’s made at least one comment as an Anonymous Coward. The style sounds the same, the level of awareness about Apple’s direction sounds about right, and I just would really like it to be him posting. In a strange way, I sort of miss him.

I don’t know at all whether Apple would move CPU production to Intel. I think such a move would be in their long-term interest since every chip supplier they’ve had to this point has had long bouts of unreliability and stagnation. Intel is a proven manufacturer that can both innovate and produce. I do think, however, that Apple would not use one of the Pentium chips; as the Anonymous Coward (hopefully ASOT) said, I think Intel will become a PowerPC chip provider through a contractual provision that IBM hoped would never come to pass.

Whatever Steve Jobs announces at his keynote on Monday, I can guarantee that it’s going to be big. And I think that the Anonymous Coward comment cited above is going to prove prescient. (It wouldn’t be the first time that an anonymous comment at Slashdot turned out, in retrospect, to be completely accurate—there was one long before the iTunes Music Store was premiered that spelled everything out.)

[UPDATE (6/6/05): Steve Jobs just announced the two-year transition to Intel-based Macs. I’m flabbergasted. I mean, I expected it, but it just never felt real.]

[UPDATE 2 (6/6/05): This Slashdot comment thread is hilarious.]

[UPDATE (6/7/05): John Siracusa, he of the ponderous review, weighs in.]

[UPDATE (6/9/05): The always-interesting <a href="http://pbs.org/cgi-registry/cringely/thisweek.pl?pulpit
“>Robert X. Cringely weighs in on the Apple-Intel news:

Apple’s stated reason for pre-announcing the shift by a year is to allow third-party developers that amount of time to port their apps to Intel. But this makes no sense. For one thing, Apple went out of its way to show how easy the port could be with its Mathematica demonstration, so why give it a year? And companies typically make such announcements to their partners in private under NDA and get away with it. There was no need to make this a public announcement despite News.com’s scoop, which only happened because of the approaching Jobs speech. Apple could have kept it quiet if they had chosen to, with the result that not so many sales would have been lost.

Good point.]

[UPDATE (6/10/05): ArsTechnica’s Hannibal offers up his thoughts on the move to Intel. He’s got better information about Intel’s processor roadmap than you can find on Intel’s site. This is like a whole new world to a Macintosh guy like myself.]

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