PowerPC-based Macs have long been considered dead and buried by Apple, but the company just put a few more nails in the coffin to prevent any corpse risings. With the release of iTunes 10.7 this week the ubiquitous media control center becomes Intel-only, requiring at least a Core Solo processor and Mac OS X 10.6.8.
In a related one-two punch, Apple has also stopped providing online Software Updates for Mac OS X versions 10.0 through 10.3, as well as Mac OS 9. These items are now available only by direct download from Apple’s support website.
These moves are certainly not unexpected, nor unusually rapid by Apple’s standards. Actually I’ve been surprised at how long iTunes has supported PowerPC systems. Current web browsers and Flash players have long abandoned the G3s and G4s of our youth, but iTunes can still (slowly) sync our iPods.
iTunes debuted under Mac OS 9 — as a rewrite of the venerable SoundJam MP — and has been included with all Mac OS versions since. iTunes 10.6.3 is the last version to support PowerPC processors running Mac OS X 10.5.8.
The discontinuation of online Software Updates was an even quieter change, made back in July without much notice at all. Apple has posted a tech note announcing the news:
As of July 23, 2012 (23-07-2012), the Software Update service feature of Mac OS 9 through Mac OS X v10.3 is no longer available, but you can manually download updates if you need to.
Few people are accessing these updates these days, so presumably Apple has decided to pull any remaining server resources. Mac OS X “Tiger” 10.4 is the earliest release which supports Intel-based Macs, all the older versions are PowerPC only. Manual downloads can be found on Apple’s Support Downloads page.
Pardon me while I go have a Pint with my Pismo…
- Thanks Mark Hitchin