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Apple officially has killed support for netbooks in OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2

Nov. 10, 2009 (8:22 am) By: John Brownlee

intel-atom-z520

For Hackintoshers nuzzling an OS X running netbook in the crook of their arm, the last couple of weeks have been a rumorously trepidatious time. Two weeks ago, the first word came out, claiming that the version of OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 that had been seeded to developers dropped Intel Atom support. Over the next couple of weeks, the rumor wave rapidly oscillated, with some developers claiming that Intel Atom support was as robust as ever, while others posted dramatic YouTube videos of Snow Leopard 10.6.2 endlessly crashing upon boot.

Now that OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 is out, though, we have our answer: yes, Virginia, Apple has killed support for Intel Atom with the 10.6.2 update.

What this means is a bit vague. Right now, any Hackintoshed netbook or nettop running Snow Leopard needs to stay put on 10.6.1, unless they want to brick their machine. It’s hard to imagine the OSx86 Hackintosh community — which loves a challenge — will take this laying down though, and the coming weeks should make clear whether or not Atom support can be plucked from the old 10.6.1 operating system and somehow injected into 10.6.2.

What this does conclusively say is that Apple has no intention of releasing a computer with the Intel Atom chipset. In truth, this makes sense: a couple years ago, Apple purchased a processor building company called PA Semi. Steve Jobs said this was to build ARM chips for iPhones… but if Apple ever enters the netbook market, a PA Semi CPU is a no-brainer. In fact, one wonders if Apple — beleaguered by Hackintosh Intel PCs on all sides — will again go the proprietary route for most of their devices.

For now, we’ll all have to sit tight and see if the OSx86 team can downgrade the Snow Leopard 10.6.2 kernel without borking the whole operating system. It’s war on the streets.

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