The Great Intel Switch: What it Means

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Date: Tuesday, June 7th, 2005, 14:53
Category: Hardware

After reviewing Steve Jobs’ keynote and reading a lot on-line about “The Great Intel Switch of 2005,” I thought some clarification needed to be made in regard to Apple’s strategy. The media has been alluding to fallacies and misconceptions that many are taking out of context. Maybe this observation will help clear the air. Read More…


After reviewing Steve Jobs’ keynote and reading a lot on-line about “The Great Intel Switch of 2005,” I thought some clarification needed to be made in regard to Apple’s strategy. The media has been alluding to fallacies and misconceptions that many are taking out of context. Maybe this observation will help clear the air.
Let’s review the keynote Cliffs Notes.
Keynote:
- Tell everyone that OS X Tiger is cool. Check.
- Show off features of Tiger and Dashboard widgets. Check.
- Show a lot of big number on the screen. Check.
- Hint at future OS called Leopard, but don?t talk about it. Check.
- Reveal the truth: OS X has been ported on both Intel and PPC for last 5 years. Check.
- Show everyone that his presentation in running on an Intel based Mac. Check.
- Convince developers that it?ll be easy to convert code. Check.
- Convince developers that it?ll be easy to convert code, again. Check.
- Wrap up. Check
Okay, now that the formalities are out of the way we can focus on what Apple did and didn?t say.
Things Apple said:
- Apple?s new systems will use Intel chips.
- Intel chips use less power, have better power/performance ratio than PPC chips.
- You seriously need to start porting over your apps. Seriously.
Things Apple didn?t say:
- The new OS will run on any Intel box.
- We are opening the door to welcome new Macintosh compatible computers.
- Current Windows users will have a choice of operating systems to choose from.
Why didn?t Apple say any of the things mentioned above? Because they?re not stupid.
Apple never said that OS X will run on ANY Intel based computer. They just confirmed that OS X CAN run on an Intel based computer. It?s not intended to run on a Dell or a Compaq system. This brings up issues of Mac-compatible systems. If this were Apple?s strategy, then they would have used it as a selling point for the switch and the new OS.
On a side note; Apple will most likely place a ROM on the motherboard to protect the OS from being installed on just any PC. (Think first generation PPC motherboards and the Mac-clone era of the late 90s.)
It’s true that WWDC ’05 was a developer?s conference so it had to be geared towards developers, but we all know that the world was watching so there had to be some sort of “dog-and-pony” action going on. Plus, how anticlimactic would it have been if Steve came on stage and said “Hey, we?re switching to Intel chips and everything is going to be just the same as it was before. Now go home and get to work porting over your software. Thank you.” Come on now.
In a nutshell, Apple is merely switching chip manufacturers. That?s all. It?s a smart business move and in the long run we, as consumers, benefit from Apple?s upgrade.
Thanks Stevo.

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