June 6, 2005

Apple to Ditch IBM for Intel: Does it matter?

from Reuters.

[CNET.com] said that Apple plans to move lower-end computers like the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in the middle of 2007, Cnet said, citing anonymous sources.

Two of Apple's chief gripes with IBM is the lack of processor variety and its past of failure to deliver on time. Valid points, and I as an Intel user welcome Apple to the fold. May your cpu problems be our problems.

But does this signify that Apple could be loosening the hardware rein and potentially allowing non-Mac hardware to run their OS? Will Apple lose software partners because of the architecture change? Will Will Farrel end up becoming just like Darren in Bewitched this summer?

Nein, ehh..., and he was already Darren on SNL. He has the facial expressive range of Abraham Lincoln... Today... at the Lincoln Memorial... Stone faced... But Nicole Kidman as Samantha...

Intel is the largest and most prolific chip manufacturer out there. Chances are, something in your house has Intel Inside® it. But just because Intel's providing the architecture does not necessarily mean that you'll be able to install updated versions of OSX on your Dell, HP, or homegrown box.

Apple can, and judging by how long these two have been talking most likely will, still could have a pretty high level of hardware exclusivity as they enjoy now. I wouldn't risk Apple's reputation of OS/hardware solidarity by switching to an architecture that the OS wasn't as happy with and could invite bad press by people who put it on non-Apple hardware, expecting it to work as well as it normally would(I mean, geez, how many people do you know have Darwin for x86 running?). Also, Apple's been in the market to get a cheaper and cooler chipset for their PowerBook series.

On the software side, I think there will be some attrition from the architecture switchover, but depending on the compatability between Apple/Intel and MS/Intel, this could very well be one of the best moves Apple's made yet. Their biggest issue will be making OSX perform as well with Intel as it did with IBM. After that, making it just as easy for its vendors to port their code over to Intel and hopefully offering less duplication of work for future Apple/MS software projects.

Another thing to consider is that this move will increase competition between Apple and MS. Running on (potentially)more similar architectures will potentially offer a more level field for measuring how well the OS's perform against each other. Good or Bad? I dunno.

Overall, this move has it's pros and cons. Unfortunately, it poses a serious question to Apple: give up hardware exclusivity and potential OS/hardware performance in exchange for more volume/more software? Maintain exclusivity and irritate software companies by switching architectures? Make Nicole Kidman play second fiddle or co-star to an SNL flunkout like Will Farrell? I love fillet mignon and maple syrup is OK, but no way would I put the two together. I'll still see it, who am I kidding?

Posted by Jeffrey at June 6, 2005 4:34 AM
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