Intel Updates Tools for Leopard, Fuels Penryn Speculation

Intel Corp. announced a major upgrade to its tools suite on Wednesday in support of Appleis Leopard OS. The latest version 10.1 of the Intel C++ and Fortran Compilers as well as the Intel Threading Blocks, Math Kernel Libraries, and Performance Primitives have been optimized for Leopard and Xcode 3.0, according to Intel. The announcement has fueled further speculation about Appleis possible use of the Penryn family of CPUs.

"Leopard, Xcode and Intelis compilers give developers powerful new tools to squeeze even more performance out of the latest Intel processors," said Bertrand Serlet, Appleis senior vice president of software engineering. "Intelis software works well in our Xcode environment, and the Intel engineering team does a great job supporting our Apple engineers and Mac OS X developers."

According to Intel, several Mac developers, including Appleis own Leopard development team, Adobe and Autodesk, have used Intelis compilers since the Mac OS X tools suite was introduced in January 2006.

The announcement fueled the belief that Apple may be planning the introduction of the Penryn CPU (and/or Montevina and/or derivatives) in the Macintosh line.

"We think there is a significant chance there will be [Penryn] announcements at MacWorld in a few weeks," Richard Douherty, research director at Envisioneering Group, told EDN. He explained that Apple has many power users in their customer base using 64-bit advanced graphics. "Since such a high percentage of Apple customers are using every last hyper-threading and architectural capability of the Intel chip, the [software] tools [just announced] are very welcome."

Apple has not made any announcements about the use of the Penryn family of CPUs in 2008, but many observers, in addition to Mr. Douherty, believe itis bound to happen.