EXCLUSIVE. Earlier reports circulating around the Internet concerning Apple's inclusion of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip in Intel-based Macs were incorrect, OfB was informed. News of the inclusion of the chip, based on the technology formerly known as Palladium, had spread across the Internet as wildfire in recent days and many news outlets, including Open for Business, had published commentary on the dramatic revelation of the technology's inclusion.
The alleged digital rights management chip was said to be included in Apple Developer Transition Kits. These kits are early Intel-based Macintosh systems Apple has been providing for lease to Apple developers at a price of $995 since company CEO Steve Jobs announced the transition away from PowerPC in June.
The Trusted Computing Group's technology has been surrounded by controversy since word first broke out about it in 2002. The Trusted Computing Group is an industry consortium sponsored by Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Hewlett-Packard Sun Microsystems and IBM. Macintosh aficionados had been pleased in the past that their platform was isolated from the technology, making the claims released this week all the more disconcerting to many.
Commenting on earlier reports, a reliable source who requested anonymity told OfB, “While many rumors are being circulated on the web about Apple's future direction on Intel processors with DRM, the majority of them are just that - rumors.” The source, a third-party Apple developer, continued, “Reality is that these boxes are production PC's in an Apple case, not DRM or TCPA protected, and none of these boxes will remain in circulation after their purpose has been served - they must be returned to Apple.
As to why those with access to the kits have been quiet concerning the claims, our source said, “you can rest assured that Apple is keeping very close tabs on those of us who have them.” The kits are only available to those who accept a non-disclosure agreement.
The Open for Business source also cautioned against trying to predict too much about the future Intel-based Macs from the developer kits. “Because they are developer kits only, future functionality of boot protection that prevents OS X x86 from booting on compatible non-Apple hardware, graphical interface, and other underlying technologies are emulated and do not reflect a production environment.” The source emphasized that “they [are not] indicative of the future production release of Mac OS X for Intel.”
UPDATE (4 August 2005). CNET News.com has posted a report citing another Apple developer with the opposite conclusion. Although not presently clear, some are speculating that Apple may be mixing in models with and without Trusted Computing modules. Open for Business will provide further updates as more information becomes available.
Editor's Note: Some have written in questioning the validity of the source quoted in this report. While we are unable to provide any further identification, per the stipulations under which the source agreed to provide us with the information reported above, the source's identity and credentials are well known and established by Open for Business.