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Apple begins migration to Intel platform

Apple Computer last week began its move to the Intel platform by unveiling the first models of new Macintosh computers to run on the new Intel Core Duo processor. New iMac and laptop models got significant speed boosts with no increase in price.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the entire Apple line would make the Intel transition by year’s end. In order to take advantage of native performance on the new Intel processor, all Macintosh software must be converted to a universal binary form.

Macintosh OS X version 10.4.4, a new version that works on the Intel platform, was joined last week by Apple’s iLife ‘06 and iWork ‘06 application packages. All were immediately available as universal binaries.

Apple said its professional applications, including the Final Cut Pro professional video editing suite, will be available in universal binary versions starting in March. Owners of the current pro software can trade up to the new versions for $49.

Intel versions of Apple’s pro model Macintosh computers are not expected until later in the year.

On the software side, Apple enhanced its multi-application iLife ‘06 package to further embrace professional quality audio and video podcasting. Enhancing its Garageband audio editing application, Apple added a Podcast Recording Studio module. A new iWeb application makes allows users to publish podcasts on Web pages and Apple iTunes online store.

Apple also enhanced its low-end video editing application to iMovie HD 6, adding real-time effects and video podcasting tools. Added to iLife ‘06 was iDVD 6 for authoring custom DVDs for 16:9 TV displays.

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