Apple Update Kills Intel Atom Support

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The latest software upgrade to Apple’s Snow Leopard has ended support for Intel Atom chips, reports are suggesting

Apple has reportedly removed all support for Intel Atom processors from the latest developer version of its Snow Leopard operating system.

According to the Apple-focused blog OS X Daily, Apple is expanding its “Mac software on Mac hardware-only” fight beyond iTunes and Palm Pre compatibility and to the chip set: The company is supposedly ending support for the Intel Atom processor, which is used on netbooks.

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Based on information provided by one of the blog’s inside sources, known by the user name “StellaRolla,” the software update for Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, 10.6.2, blocks support for the Atom chip set. The Apple software licence does not allow Mac OS X to be used on hardware that is not “Apple-labeled.”

“In the current developer build of 10.6.2, Apple appears to have changed around a lot of CPU related information,” StellaRolla posted. For “Hackintosh” users interested in keeping their netbook running on Snow Leopard, StellaRolla recommends staying with Snow Leopard 10.5.8 (noting 10.5.9 might have the same effect as 10.6.2), staying with Snow Leopard 10.6.1 or upgrading to 10.6.2 and using “either the stock 10.0.0 kernel or use modded Snow kernels.”

The post recalls a similar cat-and-mouse game Apple is currently playing with handset maker Palm and its Pre smartphone. In May, early tests of the Palm Pre made it known that Palm’s upcoming Pre WebOS will include an application called Palm Media Sync, which will synchronise with iTunes and allow users to transfer DRM-free music, photos and video onto the Pre. On 15 July, Apple updated iTunes, and the newest version prevented the Palm Pre from syncing with Apple’s proprietary music app.

In August, Palm filed a complaint with the USB Implementers Forum, a non-profit corporation founded by the group of companies that developed the Universal Serial Bus specification, charging that Apple is infringing on its trade by not allowing the company’s smartphone, the Pre, to connect to Apple’s popular iTunes application. However, in September, the USB-IF later rebuked Palm for using a workaround to sync the Pre with iTunes.

The battle took another turn last week, when Apple’s iTunes 9.0.2 update, pushed into the wild on 29 October, again prevented Palm Pre users from syncing their smartphones with iTunes.

Palm’s WebOS 1.2.1 update, released in early October, had allowed Palm Pre users to sync fully with both Microsoft Exchange 2007 and iTunes. Months before the back-and-forth struggle began, during a 21 January earnings call, Apple COO Tim Cook, declining to name Palm specifically, had said, “We will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we’ll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal.”


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