Since the union began back in 2005, Intel has sold Apple tens of millions of the company’s faster processors. Apple has received a steady, stable, affordable supply of premium chips, and Mac users can run Windows, Linux, and almost anything else on a Mac. What does the future hold?
The PC On A Stick
The least expensive Mac still starts at $500 and doesn’t come with a screen, mouse, or keyboard. The cheapest PC is likely the Raspberry PI, little more than an underpowered PC with a tiny motherboard.
Taking a cue from the little Raspberry PI and other knockoffs, Intel has introduced the Compute Stick. Think of it as an underpowered PC on a stick resembling an external flash disk or jump drive.
The plug protruding from the bottom is an HDMI connector which plugs into a TV. That’s the Compute Stick’s screen. You’ll still need to add a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.
How much is this new fad? From $100 to $150, depending upon the configuration and where you buy it. The Windows version costs the most (Microsoft gives Windows away free to manufacturers who price their devices less than $200; don’t ask why; doesn’t make sense to me, either).
There’s also a lower priced and lower powered Linux version running an Ubuntu distro.
The Windows version of Compute Stick comes with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (and built-in virus protection). The Ubuntu version has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but both units have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a micro SD card slot.
Compute Stick isn’t much bigger than a stick of gum.
Intel likes to say they shrunk the package, not the performance, but no one is likely to claim the Intel Atom CPU inside will compete with a Mac mini on anything except price.
My question is this. Would Apple build a Mac-on-a-Stick? There’s little reason why OS X couldn’t be setup to run on the Compute Stick, or a version of it. I have no doubts that the Mackintosh community will try to stuff OS X Yosemite into Intel’s gum-sized stick.
I’m thinking Mac nano. Or, perhaps Mac Air Stick. Of course, Apple would charge more than $150.