Apple's decision to move to Intel processors may cost the company dear in the professional publishing markets, speculates Publish magazine.

The title notes that Classic will cease to exist during the transition, as future Macs will be completely incapable of handling Mac OS 9. Apple has itself stopped selling Macs capable of dual-booting in OS X and OS 9.

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller recently described Classic support as "not very high up the priority list", adding, "In recent versions of Mac OS X, we actually stopped installing Classic by default because very few - if any - people use it anymore."

This situation is primarily a problem for publishers using older versions of Quark XPress - a market Publish estimates as between 1.5 and 2 million people.

Don't snub creative pros

"Even a very successful Apple cannot afford to sneer at this market. And for Quark, the move to Intel will be an issue: The company is in the middle of finalizing the upcoming 7.0 release of its flagship application, and porting the code to Intel is probably not a very welcome addition to the overall workload."

There are other applications that rely on Classic, the report explains.

"Users who rely on such an application do so because there is no real alternative on Mac OS X; for them, the perspective of an Intel-based Mac could amount to a serious headache."

AltiVec vanquished?

Another problem too in AltiVec, which isn't part of Intel's architecture. Apple has been encouraging developers to use this to yield best possible performance form its existing G4 and G5 processors. Video applications ion particular harness the technology, and Apple says that moving these to Intel will be time-consuming.

Publish notes that moving to the new processors may impact on Apple's sales, as the move poses, "a set of problems no IT director particularly needs".

"It's one more argument for dropping the Mac operating system in favour of Windows," the report claims.

However, the report also points out that because Apple wants developers to use universal binaries - which run on both Intel and PowerPC processors - the potential remains for Apple to exploit the world's "first universal, processor-agnostic operating system".

Apple could potentially ship high-end professional workstations based on whichever of the two architectures it supports offer the best advantages.

"This is the biggest change Apple has tackled since the announcement of the original Mac," the report concludes.