At first, I thought the rumor of an Apple/Intel partnership was going to be over an ARM processor for a new handheld device or possibly for WiMax technology.
The ARM processor made it's way into the first Apple Newton handhelds and continued with processor speed increases throughout the life of the Newton. Now ARM processors (and derivitaves) are found in most all Palm and PocketPC handheld PDA devices.
Intel now calls their version of the ARM - the XScale. (It used to be called the StrongARM)
Apple had significant investment in ARM shares, and sold them off little by little upon Steve Jobs return and then killing of the Newton.
I thought I would provide that brief history before I get into the background of this BLOG entry.
A company called Transmeta, who has recently seen hard times, produces a chip called, "The Crusoe". It's a low power, low heat processor that emulates the x86 (Intel processor). It features a unique code morphing ability. Similar (loosely) in process to what Apple will be doing in software with it's Rosetta technology to recompile PowerPC applications to run on Intel processors.
Theoretically, the x86 morphing layer in the Transmeta Crusoe could have been replaced with a PPC emulation layer.
Interestingly, in 2001, a few engineers left the Apple PowerBook team to develop an ultra portable handheld that would run a full blown operating system, not a paired down, custom PDA operating system. This company was called OQO. It was rumored that OQO went to Apple to see if they would buy into and invest in the handheld. It was rumored that Steve Jobs refused, and OQO went on to release a Windows XP OQO handheld. (Many thought the product was vaporware, until it finally came to market in December of 2004)
It features a 1Ghz Transmeta Crusoe processor, wifi, bluetooth, USB, and even firewire.
Since the WWDC conference, I've been trying to figure out the various implications and background that Intel processors have had at Apple since the year 2000. In his keynote, Steve Jobs announced that all versions of OSX had also secretly been developed on Intel processors. Were the OQO engineers aware of this? Was an OQO running Mac OS X?
I do find it a little odd the OQO has firewire
Steve Jobs has also said that Apple has had a number of prototypes floating around for handhelds, but hasn't seen the need or the market for them. He went on to say that he believes smart phones will take the place of PDAs eventually.
Now that we know there was a possibility of a full OSX version running on, in my opinion, the coolest handheld made to date, is there more hope one will be released now?