iTunes 5.0 is PowerPC


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…


Gareth Potter

I’ve been crying-waiting-hoping for a Cocoa iTunes for ages. I’m still running iTunes on a 400Mhz iMac, and bugger me it can be slow. iT5 has improved matters somewhat, but it’s still a Carbon whore at heart, and as such, not as slick as it would otherwise be.

I’ve certainly gotta agree with the people on here who are pointing out that it would be an incredible waste of bandwidth (and time, etc.) getting people to download a UB installer. As so few people have the appropriate kit yet (and even fewer are running it on kit made by Apple :P), I fail to see the point.

In any case, porting iTunes is going to take a while, and as we’re not going to see x86 kit on sale for the best part of a year yet, that’s a year which Apple can (perhaps) put to good use Cocoa-ising the app. Given, though, that I am sure they have more important things for developers to be doing (if Rosetta is as good as reports suggest), then it will be a long while before we see a Cocoa iTunes UB.

But I can dream. It would make such a difference to this dear old iMac…

Gareth :D


John – yes, the speed is fantastic, isn’t it?

unfortunately, it downloaded all my purchased music again. so now my library is a third again as large, and filed strangely to boot – so i can’t sync my vintage iPod until I clear all the double files off!


“BTW, did anyone else notice that you can drop MPEG files into your iTunes library now?”

Could you be more specific? I know that PDF files show up in iTunes, of course, so extra details – possibly song lyrics or the booklet included with some albums – could be immediately accessible. But it would be nice if they, and MPEGs, are somehow directly connected to the relevant song/grouping – is that doable?

It would certainly be good if the pictures didn’t necessarily be bloating the music files. Furthermore, one should be able to have more than one picture associated with one or more songs, albums/groupings … or playlists! (the latter a built-in option in the screen saver preference panel).

So how does one connect an MPEG dropped into the iTunes library with a song?

Martin 'MC' Brown

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…


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.


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…


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.

John C. Randolph

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.


John C. Randolph


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?



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).


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.


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.

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