1.- Multi-core computers.
Just a year ago, most of the chips found in Macs had only one core. However, today all Macs include dual-core Intel processors and higher models like the Mac Pro include two of these chips which means they have a total of four cores. Intel has already announced new chips with up to four cores that will be incorporated in Macs in 2007, which means that we will surely have machines that will integrate up to 8 processor cores.
Does this mean that Macs will go faster? The answer is complicated. Traditionally, chipmakers increased performance by increasing processing speed or single-core capacity; But doing it by multiplying the number of cores means that performance no longer depends only on the chip but on the ability of the software to take advantage of these cores. Mac OS X is capable of assigning each task to the core or processor with the least workload at any given time, which means that if you start four applications (or processes) on a Mac with four cores, each of them would take care of one application . However, if it is a task that runs a program and requires a lot of power, whether it completes faster on a multi-core Mac depends on whether the program is capable of dividing this task. Many power-demanding programs such as Final Cut, Cinema 3D or Photoshop (depending on the task) are capable of taking advantage of several processors or cores (some can even work by dividing heavy tasks between several computers). However, the only conclusion is that in the future, the fact that computers are faster will no longer depend solely on chip manufacturers but will be a responsibility shared with software developers.
You can comment on this trend in the Macworld Forum.