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Apple + Sony = ???

Story added: 16 May 2005 17:58. Last updated: 09 Jun 2005 18:16.

There has been talk of a Sony Apple partnership for some time now ever since the Sony President got a bit excited at the Apple Expo 2005 and was cut off by Steve Jobs when he said something about making computers together

While not directly related to mobile gaming, we felt we should pass some comment on the various noises from the rumour sites and forums across the 'net of a collaboration between Apple and Sony in some undisclosed venture possibly connected to the PS3 and iTunes/iPod.

What we do know:

1) Sony President Kunitake Ando was on stage (at an Apple event) with Apple supremo Steve Jobs and mentioned about the companies working together, possibly on computers.

2) Apple initially offered Sony the chance to work with them on iTunes Music Store. Sony declined. This would indicate that Apple wanted Sony on board, Sony thought it could go it alone.

3) The PSP can run both AAC (Apple's audio format - not the DRM version though) and MPEG 4, a new video format with heavy Apple involvement. This is a change in direction for Sony, who had previously locked their products into using Sony's proprietary ATRAC format only. In July, Sony are releasing the "NAS-CZ1", a network audio system that works with iTunes.

4) Both Sony and Apple, both previously very isolationist companies, have worked in collaboration with other companies - Sony with Ericsson (phones), Apple with Motorola (phones - yet to be released) and HP (selling HP branded iPods in the US).

5) Microsoft is a threat to both. MS already dominate the OS landscape, and is homing in on the console market with the Xbox and its successor, Xbox 360.

6) The PS3 is built around a CELL chip, which is made by IBM and closely related to the PowerPC family of processors used in Apple's Macintosh computers. This could mean that it wouldn't be too hard for Apple to 'move' some of their code over to the PS3. (Incidentally the Xbox 360 also uses PowerPC chips and the MS development boxes for Xbox 360 are Mac G5s.)

7) iTunes is widely regarded as the best jukebox. Its latest update gave users the ability to add videos into their library and play within iTunes. This 'little' feature could be a sign of major things to come. The film studios want to be able to download films and make money from it, why not use iTunes.

If the PS3 is going to be more than a console it will need an effective system to organise their stuff - Apple have the expertise and proven experience to make such a system.

In addition to the above, various theories float around cyberspace suggesting Apple will use CELL chips in future Macs. Apple already use a PowerPC technology called AltiVec/Velocity Engine, to give Macs extra power in the realm of video and graphics. Apple's latest OS update enhances Macs' ability to offload graphic processes direct to the graphics card, allowing all kinds of graphical wonder-ness.

Maybe it isn't such a leap for Apple to put a CELL in their Macs and offload video and graphics to that - would this then mean Macs could then run PS3 games? Sony would still sell games (and PS3s), increase the number of Sony customers and Apple addresses a failing of Macs, ie being a poor relative of the PC when it comes to games.

There's not really enough information to determine which direction Apple/Sony are going in. Apple has the software, Sony has the ability to get PS3s in people's homes. It is interesting that Sony and Apple have tried to get together before but Sony backed off because they didn't feel Apple were telling the whole story. Sony now have a new CEO, Apple have worked with other companies now, run the most successful online music store in the world - I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

[UPDATE] Apple went with Intel, who saw that coming :)

Reporting by James (Staff Writer)

Checking this - Apple + Sony = ???Tweet & Track


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