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CNET Confirms Security Chip in Intel-Based Developer Machines

CNET Confirms Security Chip in Intel-Based Developer Machines

by , 1:20 PM EDT, August 5th, 2005

CNET's Michael Singer on Friday reported that a microcontroller known as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is part of the Intel-based Macs that Apple has made available to developers through its Apple Developer Connection (ADC) program. The TPM "handshakes" with the Mac OS X installation process, enabling the software to be set up on one of Apple's Intel-based Macs. Without that module, a garden variety Intel PC won't be able to run Mac OS X, an option that was the subject of much speculation when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the move to Intel processors in early June.

Mr. Singer received confirmation of the TPM's existence through an anonymous ADC member. Apple and Intel declined to comment on the matter, of course. Mr. Singer's source was able to install Windows and Linux on the Intel Mac but was unable to use the Mac OS X installation DVD provided by Apple on an Intel-based PC.

Mr. Singer also reported that, as expected, some Apple customers were upset to hear the news, with one even threatening to remove his Apple tattoo if the TPM is present in the Intel-based Macs that the company will ship next year. "The TPM could compromise the privacy of users because of the identifying number built into the chip," Mr. Singer writes. "The technology could also restrict the use of some digital media by enforcing digital rights management technologies."

All was not ill will, however. Mr. Singer reported his source said that "one welcome surprise was that the combination of Intel chips and the Mac OSX seems to have led to the ability to perform tasks and play games incredibly fast."

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