Analysts, media pundits, Mac users, Windows users, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, and IT professionals have all weighed in on what will happen when Apple switches the Mac to Intel chips.
About the only person we haven’t heard from is Tera Jean Patricks.
You won’t hear from Tera today as she’s on an extended vacation. Based on conversations with the silvery-haired Mac diva, she’s got plenty to say on the subject of Mac on Intel.
In the meantime, everyone has an opinion. One of the more recent is a prediction that Apple will abandon hardware in 2008 and concentrate only on Mac OS X. The so-called “red box” feature (which runs Windows applications) left over from NeXT days and early OS X development is the prime cause of this ridiculous rumor.
OK, let’s think about this for a minute. Apple introduces Mac OS X Leopard which has a “red box” feature. It runs Windows applications.
So, I’m a software developer. For which platform should I write applications? Windows at 90% or Mac at 5%? Hmmmm. No need to write for Mac because my Windows application will work on Mac OS X anyway.
Say goodbye to Mac developers.
No developers, no “Mac software,” no Mac hardware sales. No more Apple.
Something else to consider is that “red box” isn’t 100%. All Windows applications will not run on it. That kind of “emulation” doesn’t work wonderfully well at the application level. Even Mac OS Classic didn’t run all Mac OS 8/9.x applications. The same holds true for Wine, DarWin, et al.
No more Mac or Apple hardware won’t happen. All that’s happened with the future switch to Intel is that Apple has leveled the hardware playing field. Now it’s OS X against Windows. Watch what happens.
Here’s the deal. This is what will happen within the next few years. Take it to the bank.
Apple will move hardware to Intel chips as the new line of Macs. We’ll still pay a modest premium to buy Mac hardware but they’ll run Mac OS X and Mac applications, thereby setting up a superior environment to Windows, Windows Longhorn, or whatever, including Linux. The Mac hardware will also be able to “run” Windows for those few folks who absolutely MUST have compatibility for applications that are not available on OS X.
Forget about going out of Mac hardware business by 2008. That makes for an interesting headline, argumentative speculation, but won’t happen. If hardware is a commodity in the Wintel world (it’s not really; just look at the wide range in hardware prices…) then Apple will be on an even playing field with all other Wintel box makers.
“Apple’s products will be new, fresh, innovative, secure, and perform MUCH better than typical Wintel boxes, and cost the same or a small and insignificant premium.”For those who don’t know, Wintel boxes are crippled at the low end and mid-range products. There are many hardware bottlenecks that inhibit performance (motherboard graphics, slow FSB, slow IO, etc.). Apple can produce faster machines running Mac OS X simply by eliminating some of those hardware bottlenecks and continuing to innovate new features (something that Intel would dearly love to see as the Wintel box makers hate innovation).
Steve Jobs wants Apple to continue to innovate and grow; revenue, profits, AND market share. This is speculation on my part, but I’m sure he’d also like to stick it to Bill Gates and Microsoft. Apple won’t topple Microsoft from their lofty perch, but they can make it a ball game again, and perhaps embarrass his old foe.
What’s important, crucial, and a requirement in the next 18 months to 36 months is “timing.”
Apple MUST get the Intel hardware out the door with few glitches and at competitive pricing with higher performance. Apple MUST port all their iLife and Pro applications to the new platform. ASAP. Developers MUST move Mac applications to the new Universal Binaries so they’ll run on Intel-based hardware.
Finally, Microsoft needs to delay Longhorn until sometime in mid 2007.
If all that happens in the next 24 months or so, then it’s a whole new ball game.
Apple’s products will be new, fresh, innovative, secure, and perform MUCH better than typical Wintel boxes, and cost the same or a small and insignificant premium.
That’s what will happen.
What else? Apple will also introduce more new models that compete with Wintel’s best at every level. Laptops. Servers. Ultra portables. Wireless tablets. The works. Why? How?
No more chip problems. And, they’ll run Windows for those poor folks who just don’t know any better.