What is a "Universal Application" on a Mac?
Dave, I just heard that Apple released some new computers and is touting that its latest release of some of the cool Apple software is built around "Universal Applications" technology, or something like that. I've been a long-time Mac user: what the heck are they talking about?
While ordinarily I don't think that the chip inside a computer matters to any but the geekiest of computer owners, the announcement by Apple Computer at Macworld San Francisco 2006 is pretty darn profound for everyone in the computer world, even non-Mac fans. For the first time in many years, Apple's Mac OS X operating system is now running native on the same computer chip that can also run Microsoft's Windows operating system.
By switching from its historical Motorola CPU to an Intel base, Apple can leverage a better architecture and create faster and (hopefully) less expensive computers for all of us. But more importantly, we can all benefit by having computers that will be able to run either Windows XP (and, eventually, Windows Vista) and all the wealth of PC applications on the market, or Mac OS X and all the many elegant applications available in the Mac world.
Apple, of course, is stating that it is focused on building Intel-based computers for running the Mac operating system, but there's no question in my mind that being able to pick which OS you want to run when starting up or, even better, being able to run both Mac OS X and Windows XP simultaneously, is going to be a killer combination and we'll have a solution on the market within a few months, if not sooner.
But there's a challenge inherent in switching from one computer architecture to another: most computer programs on the Mac platform are still written specifically for the Motorola architecture, which means that they won't necessarily work on the Intel-based Macs. That's where the Universal comes into play: Universal applications are made to run on both Intel and Motorola (PowerPC) based Mac systems.
The basic idea? It's as if the applications will be written in both English and Spanish, and the system automatically, and silently, choses the most appropriate language so that you never even realize it's happening behind the scenes. In this case we're not talking about human language as much as computer language, of course, but Universal Applications, utilizing a system that Apple calls Rosetta, will run the Motorola PowerPC version of the program on that hardware, and will run the Intel version of the program on the newer computers. Automatically.
You can learn more about this on the Apple site, if you'd like:
More Useful Mac OS X Help Articles:
✔ Audacity can't find LAME library, I can't save Mp3?
Hey Dave. I read your article Audacity can't save mp3 audio files and am still puzzled because I downloaded the LAME Mp3 converter...✔ How to remove Dashboard as a "space" in Mac OS X Spaces?
I'm a big fan of the Spaces utility in Mac OS X that lets me have multiple virtual screens [see Set Up Mac...✔ Best place to buy a cheap MacBook laptop?
Hi Dave. I am looking for two gently used MacBook laptops for my teen daughters. Personal computers would greatly facilitate their studies as...✔ File too big error copying to USB flash drive on my Mac?
I'm baffled. I have a 16GB Kingston USB flash drive that I use on my Mac system and I'm trying to copy a...✔ Stealth image capture photo from webcam on my Mac?
Someone sneaks into my cubicle while I'm at lunch and takes candy out of my desk. Petty, but stupid too. I want to...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+