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…


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