Since the PowerPC 970 is backward-compatible with 32-bit code written for the G4, Apple intends to release Smeagol to fill Q37s software bill until Panther ships, sources said. Apples current plans call for wrapping up development of Smeagol within a month or so of WWDC, suggesting that Q37 may ship by August; however, sources were unable to confirm specifics of Apples release schedule.eWEEK sources first reported in August 2002 that the Mac maker was working with IBM Microelectronics on the 64-bit PowerPC processor, dubbed the GigaProcessor Ultralite (GPUL). IBM unveiled the chip in October at the annual Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, Calif., at speeds up to 1.8 GHz. Neither Apple nor IBM have commented publicly on whether Apple plans to adopt the chip in its hardware lineup. The PowerPC 970 shares technology with IBMs Power4 server chip and inherits many of its performance advantages, but is more compact. The chip also supports Vector/SIMD Multimedia Extensions (VMX), a group of 162 instructions that speed data processing and algorithmic-intensive tasks, such as multimedia creation and display. IBM has said VMX is identical to Motorolas Altivec multimedia acceleration, marketed as Velocity Engine by Apple. Apple and IBM are also reportedly tailoring the chip for a new high-frequency, point-to-point Mac bus dubbed ApplePI, short for Apple Processor Interconnect, that Apple plans to use as a replacement for its current MaxBus. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reports.
Meanwhile, resellers told eWEEK that current models of the Power Mac G4 are becoming constrained in the retail channel, indicating that new pro hardware models are on the way.