Ready Or Not, Here Come Intel Macs

Ben Reitzez, an analyst with UBS Securities, said discussions between analysts at the firm produced the opinion that a blockbuster Apple-Intel system could be available as early as the Macworld conference in January. “We note that Intel will be releasing its dual-core Yonah processor in January (shipping now to vendors in prelaunch),” Reitzez wrote in a recent research report. “After discussions with our UBS Semiconductor Research Team, we believe Yonah may be a good fit for an Intel-based Mac mini.

“We also believe it is possible for the Yonah chipset to be included in an iBook, but we believe this option may be less likely for Apple right away since it could cause some performance disparities between the iBook and the PowerBook,” Reitzez wrote.

The Macworld Conference and Expo runs from Jan. 9 through Jan. 13 in San Francisco. Apple spokesmen did not comment on the reports last week. Apple announced last June that after years of producing desktops and notebooks using PowerPC processors, it would shift its system production to processors manufactured by Intel, Santa Clara, Calif. While Apple said it would have the first systems available within a year of the June announcement, the company hasn&'t commented on whether it could be earlier than that. David Salav, president of Webistix, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider and Apple partner, said that despite the intensifying reports of the vendor&'s next moves and the timing of its Intel migration, Apple itself has been typically close-mouthed about its new products and timetable. Salav said his company primarily sells Mac minis to three types of clients: first-time Mac users who want an inexpensive device to try; clients who are faced with space constraints or who wish to deploy in odd areas, including wall displays; and those who seek Mac minis to replace the now-defunct eMac. In spite of the hype heading into early 2006, Salav said there is primarily one thing he would like to see from Apple at the January conference: “Consistency. The only thing I care about is a seamless transition and that customers are excited about what it is and that it works well,” Salav said. Another Apple partner, Scott Schaefer, said while he, too, has not heard anything directly from Apple (“Apple stopped preannouncing products to us eight years ago,” he said), he has already begun planning for the Apple-Intel era and the potential for a new, hybrid Windows-Macintosh customer. “We&'re going to grow like a weed,” said Schaefer, president and operating manager of Techknowsphere, a New York-based solution provider. “I think we&'re going to get significantly more busy. “We&'re finding that telling people that we&'re a Mac-savvy ISP, as well as a fully authorized Apple dealer, is helping to bring people to us in particular,” he added. “We&'re trying to broaden what we can do for a customer” as a result of the upcoming transition, he said.

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