Apple moving to Intel?I've been reading so many comments on the Apple-moving-to-Intel rumor that I have to have an opinion. First, I'm a Mac person at heart who did the reverse-switch from Macs to Wintels. No, I didn't like switching, but the Mac market was a very risky business around the year ~2002, and programmers have too eat, too :) And I didn't like Mac OS X either.
I'd love to see Apple move to Intel processors, and it has not so much to do with who has the better processor.
So, much has been written about the move anyway, and where analysts and "experts" are completely wrong is that the switch would be technically difficult for Apple and their developers.
- Switching platforms is nothing unusual. Sun has done it, SGI has done it, Apple has done it very successfully, and - most importantly - neXt has done it. Next actually they moved from Motorla's 680x0 to x86 Intels and finally to the PowerPC Macs on only a few months, so why would anybody think it would be difficult for Apple to get OS X ported "back" to Intel? The whole Linux / BSD world is more or less architecture independend:
- Porting software is easy, or at least "manageable". For "simple" command line applications such as Apache, porting to Intel is as easy as "click here to recompile". But even sophisticated desktop software should be easy to port. MacOS X has so many abstraction layers between the hardware and its subsystems (Quartz, Quicktime, etc) that bringing existing software from PPC to Intels would probably be just a recompile if done well by Apple (and at least I would expect them to do it well).
- The opportunity has never been greater than now.
- No-one doubts that Apple is alive and kicking. Actually, Apple is perceived today as probably the most innovative company in the personal computer business, and besides the financial benefits, the iPod is a great publicity devicle for Apple. I forgot the numbers, but a very siginifcant number of customers who buy a Mac today are Switchers - first time Apple PC owners. Linux people are buying Macs, and MacOS X has become the Mercedes of the *nix world. People see Mac OS (X) as a "professional" operating system and no longer as a "toy" OS (it's got a command line shell, 'ey ;) )
- MacOS X is here today, Longhorn is far away. C'mon, why would anybody ant to a) wait for and b) switch to Longhorn? There is absolutely nothing new to say about Windows these days. Mac OS X is the clear innovation leader; it's based on BSD (Linux folks will love that), it´s mass-market "desktop ready" like no Linux distribution, and it runs enterprise apps just as well. Now, add that to the installed base of Intel PCs... maybe Apple won't officially support it, but you bet that hacks and patches will soon appear on the net and make it work on just about any PC.