13 Comments

Summary:

Unless you’ve been on some other planet, you’ll be aware that Apple are tranistioning to Intel-based chips. The majority of the applications supplied are Universal; everything from Safari to Mail to Address Book is Universal.
Two oddities however standout – iTunes 4.9 (as was supplied) and DVD Player are both PowerPC only. These run absolutely fine through Rosetta, I’ve not experienced any problems at all with these apps. In fact, iTunes under Rosetta is noticeably faster (up to twice as fast) when ripping (partly due, I realize, to the fact that QuickTime is a Universal component) than my 1GHz 17″ PowerBook.

Unless you’ve been on some other planet, you’ll be aware that Apple are tranistioning to Intel-based chips.

I’m one of the lucky developers who purchased a transition kit, and one of things I find interesting is that not all of the applications that Apple supply as standard with this kit are ‘Universal Binaries’, that is, both PowerPC and Intel based.

As you may know from other posts on the topic of the new platform, you can identify application types by looking at their ‘Kind’ within the Finder, or using the ‘file’ command line tool. Universal applications show up in the Finder as ‘Applications’. PowerPC applications show up as ‘Application (PowerPC)’. With the file tool, you get a full extract of the mach package and the architectures supported in the ‘fat’ binary.

The majority of the applications supplied are Universal; everything from Safari to Mail to Address Book is Universal.

Two oddities however standout – iTunes 4.9 (as was supplied) and DVD Player are both PowerPC only. These run absolutely fine through Rosetta, I’ve not experienced any problems at all with these apps. In fact, iTunes under Rosetta is noticeably faster (up to twice as fast) when ripping (partly due, I realize, to the fact that QuickTime is a Universal component) than my 1GHz 17″ PowerBook.

While I don’t really have a problem with this (it works, why fix it?), I had expected iTunes 5.0 to make the transition to Universal binary as part of the gradual migration from PowerPC to Intel over the next 12-18 months.

I’m not suggesting there is anything sinister here – I just find it mildly odd that a new version of an Apple application hasn’t moved over when so much of the other components are already Universal.

I’d love to see a Universal (or more specifically, Intel compatible) version of iTunes just to see how snazzy it is; based on the Rosetta executing version I’ve got nothing to worry about, but that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued…

By Martin MC Brown

Related stories

  1. Why force people to download extra bloated megabytes of a universal installer if *there are NO Macs to run it on*?!

    That is the simple explaniation.

    Share
  2. Has anyone else noticed the speeeed?! Good god, it finally scrolls smoothly through my nearly 9000 song library and resizing is as smooth as it should be on my G5. I’m guessing that at least some of this has to do with the decision to dropped brushed metal. If never had a problem with brushed metal, but if this is the case, I’m all for wiping it from the OS as soon as possible.

    Share
  3. Most of the applications you mentioned as having Universal binaries are cocoa while last time I checked iTunes was still carbon. This may be a sign that it is much easier to transition cocoa to Intel than carbon (as many developers have said).

    Share
  4. John C. Randolph Thursday, September 8, 2005

    Twist,

    It is easier to compile a Cocoa app as a universal binary in most cases, but the work to build iTunes (and all the rest of Apple’s apps) for x86 has already been done (for several years, even). I’m sure that registered developers will have a way to get their hands on an x86 version of iTunes if they need it, but even for most of them, running under Rosetta will suffice. In the meantime, since there aren’t any Intel Macs in consumer’s hands, why not just save the bandwidth?

    -jcr

    Share
  5. John C. Randolph Thursday, September 8, 2005

    BTW, did anyone else notice that you can drop MPEG files into your iTunes library now? They play in the “Album Art” pane, or in a separate window if you control-click on the image.

    -jcr

    Share
  6. ITunes is still the old OS 9 app SoundJam, and it isn’t built in Cocoa, its built using PowerPlant.
    So making it universal is not easy at all. Same goes for DVD Player.
    They may currently be working on a Cocoa version. But I doubt it. If the emulated behavior is acceptable I would think they won’t throw away so much code.

    Share
  7. Who cares if iTunes 5 is UB? It do not contain anything that developers have to use to develop UB versions of there apps. A UB version of iTunes are going to be there form day one so why care?
    Get real…
    Pointless article…

    Share
  8. Why not just entitle this article “I’ve got a Mac-Intel developer kit and you don’t. Ha!”? There seems to be no other point to it.

    Share
  9. Actually, the article is interesting, and your post has no point to it.

    Share
  10. Actually, I’m surprised that more people are not interested in the fact that Apple’s key application (for without iTunes, we’d have no iPod) is not yet a UB.

    I can’t believe – as steve suggests – that Apple are not working on an Intel version in time for the new release, and I am very surprised that they didn’t use this opportunity to produce one. That was the point of the article.

    That said, it took Apple a long time to migrate some of their applications and even core components to the PowerPC platform when they moved from Motorola 68K, so I guess we could have to wait…

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post