Intel and Macintosh*: Improved Performance for Developers

Published:09/21/2011   Last Updated:09/21/2011

by John Gorman


Intel® Core™ Duo processors bring new levels of power and efficiency, plus a full spectrum of support for developers

In a natural evolution of Intel’s role as the world’s leading chipmaker, Apple has released a powerful new line of Macintosh computers featuring Intel® Core™ Duo processors-with Intel offering developers the resources and tools for a smooth, successful transition to the new platform.

“It's been 10 years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next 10 years.”

Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

It was an announcement many technology journalists thought they’d never hear.

In June 2005, after over a decade of using IBM PowerPC-based chips in its innovative personal computers, Apple announced to over 3,800 attendees of its Worldwide Developers Conference that it would deliver new models of its Macintosh* computers-the new Apple iMac* and MacBook Pro*-featuring the Intel® Core™ Duo Processor. During the same event, Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple's software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications to run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

It all starts with Intel® Core™ Duo processors

The groundbreaking design of Intel Core Duo processors brings new levels of PC performance and energy efficiency, and the potential for new, innovative, consumer-friendly designs. Its dual-core technology rewrites the rules of computing and delivers optimized power efficiency-for breakthrough performance with amazingly low power consumption.

The Intel Core Duo is comprised of two processors (cores) engineered onto a single chip, offering virtually twice the computational power of a traditional single processor in the same footprint. With two cores tightly integrated, increased L2 cache and a host of engineering breakthroughs, the Intel Core Duo delivers higher performance for all types of applications.

Did you know?

The Intel Core Duo is the first Intel processor built using the new 65-nanometer process, which makes possible transistors so small you could fit a hundred o f them inside a single human cell.

According to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, “It's been 10 years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next 10 years.” Intel President/CEO Paul Otellini was similarly enthusiastic: “We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies, and to collaborating on new initiatives, to help Apple continue to deliver innovative products for years to come.”

Intel embraces Mac developers
In conjunction with the WWDC announcement, working closely with Apple, Intel applied the finishing touches on a wide range of new software development tools and resources to be available through The goal? Helping Apple developers take advantage of Intel Core Duo processor technologies to maximize application performance on the new Intel-based Mac platforms.

With help from Intel, software developers are delivering powerful new applications of all kinds for the new Macintosh models-from programming to office productivity, engineering, design and just about anything else you can imagine.

“We think this is a really smart move on Apple's part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,” said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe.

Software development for Intel-based Macs: smoothing the transition

As part of Intel’s commitment to the Mac development community, Intel Compilers and Libraries help software developers deliver improved performance for their applications running on the new Macs, providing a fast, easy way to optimize application performance and integrate with the Xcode* development environment.

Intel Compilers for Mac OS include:

Intel® Fortran Compiler for Mac OS* -a fast, easy way to get maximum application performance for compute-intensive applications. This compiler supports OpenMP* and auto-parallelism to take advantage of performance features available in Intel Multi-Core processors.

Intel® C++ Compiler for Mac OS -a highly optimized compiler for handling the most demanding applications. Intel augments the compiler with advanced support for threading through OpenMP* and auto-parallelism capabilities.

Intel Libraries for Mac OS include:

Intel® Math Kernel Library for Mac OS-a set of highly optimized, thread-safe, mathematical functions that reduces the need for hand-coding and allows developers to achieve outstanding performance for engineering, scientific and financial applications.

Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives for Mac OS -a library set enabling software developers to achieve maximum application performance and reduce development time by providing highly optimized functions for math, graphics, multimedia, audio, video, speech, computer vision, image, cryptography and signal processing.

These development tools are integrated into Apple’s Xcode development environment and offer an alternative to existing tools and compilers.

The Intel Fortran compiler enables the scientific and technical community to bring the fastest versions of their applications to Mac OS* X and Intel–based Mac platforms using industry–standard math libraries and language. The Intel C++ Compiler provides the ability for Xcode users to apply targeted optimizations to performance–sensitive areas of their applications, allowing them to get the most out of the Intel Core Duo processor.

Based on Intel’s proven suite of software development products for other platforms, each product has been transitioned to Mac OS X’s Xcode development environment to ensure complete fidelity with other Intel platforms-giving Mac OS X developers a familiar base on which to use Intel’s powerful development tools.

It's all part of Intel's commitment to improved Mac performance

William Savage, general manager of Intel’s Software Products Division, says, “Our highly optimized compilers and libraries yield significant performance advantages for applications and take advantage of the opportunities made available through multi–core and multithreaded environments.”

“High-performance scientific and creative customers need to squeeze every last drop of performance out of their systems,” says Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “We’re thrilled that Intel has brought their respected suite of tools to help Apple developers maximize the performance of their applications on Intel–based Macs.”

Developers quickly grew excited about the real-world results they experienced. “We have seen exceptional results during our thorough testing of the beta versions of the Intel compilers for Mac OS X,” said Jeff Livesay, Absoft Corporation’s chief operating officer. “Absoft will bundle market–proven capabilities for Apple developers, including our Fx2 Debugger, with Intel Fortran and C++ compilers and libraries as part of our efforts, together with Intel, to deliver strong support for software developers. Scientists can expect great things from these new platforms.”

“We’ve been an Intel compiler customer and are impressed with the results,” said Kevin Tureski, Director of Engineering, Maya, Alias Systems. “We are encouraged by Intel’s commitment to expand their software development tools to support the exciting new Intel-based Mac platform.”

About Intel

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at

About Apple

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store. Additional information about Apple is available at*.


Product and Performance Information


Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

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