Unless you do all your music work in some combination of Apple Logic (Pro/Express), Ableton Live, and/or Reason, it’s still a little premature to go buy that MacBook. Native Instruments, for example, recently updated their timetable for release. Fall sounds like the sweet spot for most musicians to upgrade, thanks to more shipping software with Intel support, and, based on our sources, a probably timeframe for a slightly updated Apple mobile line. (I won’t even try to predict when the desktop Intel Macs will appear.)

3rd Quarter 2006:

Guitar Rig, Guitar Combos, Traktor DJ Studio, Kontakt, Reaktor, Bandstand, Akoustik Piano

Late 3rd Quarter:

Absynth, Battery, FM7

4th Quarter 2006:

B4, Elektrik Piano, Pro-53

“Until End of 2006:”

Vokator, Spektral Delay

The ordering probably has to do with the underlying engine; Vokator and Spektral Delay, for instance, are older products. Or, it almost makes sense — aside from being grammatically odd, “Until End of 2006” seems like it would occur during fourth quarter, unless this is a subtle hint Vokator will slip to January.

Notably missing from this list is KORE, though I’m not sure why — I’ll try to find that out. And NI is behind schedule, having promised it would ship its first Universal Binary releases in Q2. Also, they suggest they may force you to buy a full upgrade of some of these products in order to get Intel-native support: “updates . . . will be made available for a small fee (€ 25/ $ 29 each update), or as part of the next version of this product.” You’ll also have to deal with sample libraries that rely on Native’s sample players individually, making this potentially a big pain for soundware users. (On the bright side, I would expect soundware makers to make those upgrades free, or at least inexpensive, since they can get the updated player from NI.)

The good news: if you have Komplete Care 2006, updates are free, and the Intel compatibility page seems to suggest NI will support the “dual core architecture,” which hopefully means more robust multithreading on both Mac and PC. (Windows users are likely to get more multithreading in their apps thanks to Apple’s aggressive embrace of Core Duo, as I’ve pointed out before.) Stay tuned for some hard details once we get them.

Intel Mac Compatibility Page, via Gearjunkies