Apple To Use Intel Processors in 2006
The title sentence may come as a herald of Armageddon for ultimate Mac lovers. The war between Wintel platforms and Macintosh platforms, which has gone on for 20 years since the birth of the Macintosh, has evolved into a whole new ball game.
For years, the Wintel platform (Microsoft Windows on Intel processors), with IBM-modeled open architecture (the original arch-enemy of the Macintosh platform) prevailed the computer battles with DOS, then Windows 1. 0 (which is a licensee of the Macintosh OS) because of the open architecture itself. No ROM devices like on the Mac. Anyone can make a computer. The market opened possibilities to make endless variations of the same operating system and hardware combination (not to mention, viruses and system incompatibilities as well), while Macintosh has to this day maintained a closed architechture, using ROM components which cannot be made by anybody other than Apple, and not giving one single license to anyone for producing Apple clones.
The war also occured on a processor level as well, as the processors used up to the latest G5’s use RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) and Intel (and AMD) uses CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing); two very different variations of designing a processor, and how it handles data. For years critics and Intel employees alike have said that Apple missed the CISC boat by not using Intel processors, choosing to use chips developed first by Motorola, then IBM (the former arch-enemy) in G4 and G5.
For Mac freaks around the world, the distinct and unique use of software and hardware on the Macintosh platform made it special, and made it a level above the “general use” computers, even compared to the high-end Wintel computers. A similar situation occurs in the PDA market, where Palm OS users zealously maintain their Palm OS devices, OS and programs over Windows Mobile products, which are up to now still relatively unreliable. The difference is, Palm OS has evolved to become too complex, hence also unreliable (although still much more reliable than Windows Mobile)… plus, the major knife-in-the-back for Palm OS fans, is the decision of PalmSource (the company that develops the Palm OS) to create Palm OS as a “skin” running on top of a Linux kernel. The Palm OS as we know it is dead, but it leaves its face and simple usability for future Palm OS products. Let’s just admit it, once Linux is used, although just running in the background, eventually other people will make their own “skins” and phase Palm OS out. Perhaps even a Windows Mobile skin, who knows…
The same “betrayal” occured when Apple decided to use Intel processors for their future products (see the article here). It’s like, taking the heart of your enemy and using it yourself. Of course, the Mac OS will remain as it is (maybe even better), the ROM chips will remain, and perhaps most of the world will never notice the difference. Well, maybe the millions of Mac fans… and AMD employees.
Here’s the catch. I think this is a great move. Not only do they get the superior technology (come on, admit it guys) of Intel processors, they get to play head-to-head with all those IBM architechture computers… and Microsoft. If they pull it off (and I believe they will), they will prove that even with Intel microprocessors, the Mac OS is still a better product. And no, they will not be giving out clone licenses; they will sell ROM chips! So any computer store that is equipped to assemble a Wintel product, can also assemble a Mac OS product! This is the key goal of the expansion that Apple has planned, and could actually be felt since the introduction of iPod Shuffle and Mac mini.
Apple will continue to make their hardware products, but they will have added revenue from these built-up computers, not to mention elbowing into turf that was originally monopolized by Wintel products. They have succeeded in their 10-year long brand revamp excersize, now it’s time to capitalize on it.
So, friends, the battle is not over yet!
(Thanks to MacFreak for the news link.)