iTunes 9 still not 64-bit, internally referred to as “iTunes X”

With the release of Snow Leopard only a short time ago, many of Apples internal applications, save for a few such as iTunes and Front Row, have been rewritten in Cocoa and built as 64-bit applications. The reasons for doing so range from reluctance to retrofit major new features or fix old bugs in an application due for a Cocoa overhaul, to the obvious advantages that come with 64-bit computing; access to larger amounts of memory should it ever become necessary, and new processor features only available in 64-bit mode.

While Apple is no doubt still working on porting their flagship application to 64-bit Cocoa, the release version of iTunes 9 available from the Apple Website is apparently still 32-bit only. A quick check using some command line tools confirms there are only 2 builds present in the new binary file:

mac:MacOS steve$ lipo -detailed_info iTunes
Fat header in: <strong>iTunes</strong>
fat_magic 0xcafebabe
nfat_arch 2
architecture <strong>ppc</strong>
    cputype CPU_TYPE_POWERPC
    cpusubtype CPU_SUBTYPE_POWERPC_ALL
    offset 4096
    size 14546048
    align 2^12 (4096)
architecture <strong>i386</strong>
    cputype CPU_TYPE_I386
    cpusubtype CPU_SUBTYPE_I386_ALL
    offset 14553088
    size 14203136
    align 2^12 (4096)

This shows that the currently released version of iTunes 9 for Mac OS X only contains PowerPC (ppc) and 32-bit Intel (i386) binaries; 64-bit support is missing. If they had rewritten iTunes to take advantage of 64-bit cocoa, you would see an x86_64 listing there as you currently see with the Quicktime X binary:

mac:MacOS steve$ lipo -detailed_info Quicktime\ Player
Fat header in: <strong>Quicktime Player</strong>
fat_magic 0xcafebabe
nfat_arch 2
architecture <strong>x86_64</strong>
    cputype CPU_TYPE_X86_64
    cpusubtype CPU_SUBTYPE_X86_64_ALL
    offset 4096
    size 9512784
    align 2^12 (4096)
architecture <strong>i386</strong>
    cputype CPU_TYPE_I386
    cpusubtype CPU_SUBTYPE_I386_ALL
    offset 9519104
    size 7133744
    align 2^12 (4096)

As can be seen above, the Quicktime X binary only supports 64-bit (x86_64) and 32-bit (i386) intel processors, as Snow Leopard does not support PPC at all.

It seems the Cocoa rewrite will have to wait a bit, and Apple is using this iTunes 9 release as a stopgap measure to support new features and new hardware. However they are referring to this new iTunes release as iTunes X internally, as can be seen in the package list inside the installer:

mac:Resources steve$ pwd
/Volumes/iTunes 9/iTunes.mpkg/Contents/Resources
mac:Resources steve$ ls iTunes*
iTunesAccess.pkg:
Contents

<strong>iTunesX.pkg</strong>:
Contents

So rest assured, a true 64-bit Cocoa “iTunes X” is coming, albeit later than the community assumed it would be released.


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  • wesley

    when will the imac be updated with quad cores? Please do an update to your old i7 article. Thanks

  • Tony

    For what it's worth, iTunesX.pkg has been part of the iTunes install for a long time — at least since I remember seeing it with version 7. I think it might've honestly come about as in “iTunes for OS X.”

  • Tony

    For what it's worth, iTunesX.pkg has been part of the iTunes install for a long time — at least since I remember seeing it with version 7. I think it might've honestly come about as in “iTunes for OS X.”