One major music developer is thrilled about Apple’s move to Intel: Ableton, developer of the wildly-popular Live software.

Robert Henke, Ableton’s software “conceptualist,” long-time Max/MSP developer, and electronic musician (member of Monolake) had this to say on Ableton’s forum:


“Hmm, Apple is going to use intel chips in the future. Good bye Altivec. You should praise us for not waisting resources into a technology which we tested and did not get a significant boost and which would have had the huge problem of maintaining two code bases.” [sic]


You heard that right: Ableton users had pressed the company to enhance their code for Velocity Engine, but Ableton found it didn’t help performance. While I’ve found Live runs brilliantly on my dual-2.7GHz G5 (big surprise), its CPU-intensive time-stretching and effects can bog down a 1GHz PowerBook G4. Comparable PC mobiles tend to run much better dollar-for-dollar; an entry-level Live laptop PC is significantly cheaper than a Mac if you compare performance specs. (Boy, it feels good to say that, now that Apple is finally admitting as much.)


Live is a glimpse of the future of digital music: real-time, improvisatory, with involved DSPs. And that’s what this is about. There’s simple reasoning here: current G4s and future PPCs are too slow. Have you played with Apple’s latest and greatest? Logic, Soundtrack, Motion, Final Cut, even GarageBand — all CPU-intensive. Apple and the many Mac music developers deserve an engine that will run tomorrow’s music applications. So far, the music developers are saying that engine will come from Intel. So, when you next hear pundits saying Apple’s move is a cynical business decision, I’m happy to say, it’s not. This is all about getting the right CPU on the Mac platform. And, heck, if it came from the Pepsi-Cola company, I’d want it.