February 4, 2006

Shockwave vs. Intel Mac

Shockwave developers report that Safari on the spanky new Intel-based Macs will run Flash but not Shockwave content out of the box. Additionally, native Safari users who are directed to Adobe's downloads site will be told there is no Shockwave player available for that platform. A quick visit to the Apple store today uncovered the following:

While running natively, Safari uses the userAgent string below:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/417.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/417.8

When run in Rosetta, Apple's PPC-to-Intel translation layer, "Intel" is replaced with "PPC", and Shockwave content loads and runs if the player is present. Unlike native Safari, the Adobe downloads site recognizes the Rosetta Safari and offers up the appropriate SW player if you need it.

Further, while running natively, the javascript plugins array appears to ignore plugins that are not Universal Binaries.

So an interim strategy for Shockwave content might be to test to see if "Intel" is found in the Safari userAgent when Shockwave is not found in the plugins array, and present a message explaining how to force Safari to run under emulation.

As I didn't have very much time, I didn't get to run any performance checks, but getNetText and 3D seemed to work, though we still see the Safari trails effect bug with 3D OpenGL sprites when moving the browser window around.

Fwiw, I didn't see much of a performance difference with a large Flash movie using alpha fades natively or under Rosetta. This is probably because the bundled Flash player is an Intel-only build (not a UB); its version is v8,0,22,0. I'm guessing that Rosetta is smart enough to recognize the fact that both Safari and the Flash version shipped with the MacIntels are native.

BTW, the Intel iMac already had SW 10.1. Have no idea at this point if a store employee had installed it or if it also comes bundled with the new Macs. More to come...

Posted by Lewis Francis at February 4, 2006 6:30 PM

Adobe's Tom Higgins confirmed that Shockwave 10.x has been bundled with new Macs for at least a year, including the Intel Macs.

Posted by: Lewis Francis at February 7, 2006 8:22 PM
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