IBM has confirmed that Apple will use a chip that can run multiple operating systems chip in future Macs.

The PowerPC 970 processor is able to run multiple operating systems simultaneously. According to IBM, development of the new processor is close to being finished and will ship sometime in 2005. The chip is currently available in some of IBM's blade servers.

IBM eServer pSeries VP Karl Freund told Cnet: "The next generation PowerPC 970 chips will use partitioning technology which relies on virtualization."

Although Freund didn't confirm when in 2005 the chip would be available he said it's "pretty late in the design cycle now," and added, "Apple plans to use it".


Freund told Cnet: "The goal is to make virtualization capability ubiquitous across the Power line." Virtualization technology is a combination of software and hardware technologies that allow enterprises to run as many as 10 "virtual" servers on a single microprocessor.

Cnet notes that IBM's Power4 and Power5 employ two dual-processing engines on the same slice of silicon as a way to pack more processing power onto a single chip. Freund wouldn't comment on whether this feature would be included in the coming chip however.

Apple currently uses the PowerPC 970FX in its desktop and server computers.