Transmit X was updated today to version 3.5. A universal binary that runs on PPC Macs with OS X and Intel Macs with OS X Tiger.
What’s that mean? In short, it’s a good thing. Apple has pulled another rabbit out of the hat. Macs are marching quickly into the future. The future is here.
Apple’s last six months have been busy. Not only did the company announce that future Macs would run Intel chips instead of PowerPC chips from IBM and Freescale (a spin off from Motorola), Apple provided a roadmap and tools to make it happen.
One of the most important tools is Apple’s Xcode development system. Since last year, Xcode has had the ability for software developers to create applications that run on older Macs and newer Intel Macs.
The same software you download or purchase will run on both. Apple already has it with iLife ‘06, and many other applications are following suit. Quickly. Including my beloved Transmit X (and many others).
To show they were serious, Apple shipped the first Intel Macs about five months sooner than many expected. The rest of the Mac line is likely to go all Intel by the end of 2006. That’s fast.
The secret is Universal Binaries. Apple has experience handling “fat” binaries and pulled off a similar feat with the move to the PPC chips in the early 90s.
A quick check of the Apple web site indicates the company has been planning and executing. Quickly. The hope is that Mac software developers will follow suit and provide versions of their applications that will run on the new Macs.
So far, I’m impressed with the number of Mac applications that are shipped as Universal Binaries, and the flow is increasing.
Apple’s web site for Universal Binaries is a mixed bag, but hopeful. Adobe and Microsoft won’t have their applications upgrade, possibly not until the end of the year.
HP says their printer drivers are already updated and available in Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.4 (the Intel Mac version). Canon and Epson are announcing that they support UB’s but haven’t indicated they’re ready. Yet.
Not to worry. Most Mac applications that run fine on older Macs with OS X Tiger will also run fine (possibly slower) on Intel Macs using a technology called Rosetta.
Think of Rosetta as built-in software that finds and runs older Mac applications in an emulation layer. It just works, and by most accounts, works well.
What’s impressive about all this is the actual speed of delivery. Apple moved very fast to get the first Macs out the door, fast and behind the scenes to get Xcode ready to do binaries for PPC and Intel, and fast to get iLife ‘06 ready.
Impressive, too, is the lack of grumbling from independent software vendors who have to modify their applications to run on yet another new Mac platform. If anything, developers appear eager to get this done.
With Mac sales and market share rising, sales of Mac applications should be rising, too. Ka ching is a good sound for developers.
The Universal Binaries are not only coming, they’re here already, and the number is growing. 2006 promises to be a year of change for everyone at Apple, and Mac customers, too. A good year.
2007 could be an especially good year as the whole line of Macs transfers to Intel chips, and Tiger gets upgraded to Leopard. Smaller, faster, lighter, more capable notebooks are on the way.
Apple was prepared, planned, and executed well. Congratulations.
As for me, I’m still waiting for my wireless tablet Mac with built in iSight, and the Airport Express AV so I can play my iTunes TV shows on my own TV.
Dreamer. Give up the ghost, Tera. Apple’s not paying attention to you. They want customers to actually ‘buy’ their products.
Universal Binaries not withstanding, I’m looking forward to a really small “MacBook mini.”
Jack D. Miller
I’m sure Bill Gates isn’t pleased to see Apple execute so well on so many fronts the past few years. Windows Vista is what? Three years late?