As unlikely as it seems, Steve Jobs has thrown caution to the wind and dumped IBM for Intel with Intel-based Macs coming this time next year. This switch brings many questions like “Mac OS X on a machine from Wal-Mart?”, “Every virus in existence now works on Macs?” and “Steve Jobs didn’t wear blue jeans at the keynote, what the hell?” so we’ll give-in to speculation and try and shell some information.
Will Mac OS X Now Run on Every PC?
According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP:
“We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac.” — Phil Schiller
This means that there will be certain Digital Rights Management protections developed into Macintosh-bound Intel chips to make sure that Mac OS X is run only on a Macintosh and not an eMachine found in the trash. However, it won’t be a one-way encryption, for Schiller also said that running Windows on a Mac (natively) would not be difficult, but wouldn’t be supported. In my mind, I see this as an enormous positive — buy a kick-ass, top-of-the-line Macintosh and run Windows and Mac OS X on it without any fudging. We’ll see if this actually happens.
All Viruses Will Simultaneously Attack Safari and Render It Useless
Viruses attack Windows not because it runs on an x86 processor, but because the operating system is flogged with security holes. Linux can run on x86 processors, but you don’t see wide-scale Redhat viruses getting coverage on CNN, do you? Mac OS X is a quality operating system with UNIX underpinnings that will be solid regardless of the processor it tears up. The move to Intel-based x86 processors will not cause all viruses to start working on Macs all-of-a-sudden, so don’t worry.
Jobs in Black?
Usually he wears a black turtleneck with blue jeans, but reports came in saying he was wearing all-black today. Remember, “back in black” is not a bad thing.
Apple Cheated on IBM and Was Dumped?
Our friend John Rhodes has a great counterpoint to the generic “Apple dumped IBM” argument — John thinks that maybe IBM dumped Apple. Think about it, IBM has now secured processor production for the next three huge gaming systems (Xbox 360, Nintendo Revolution, and Playstation 3) and is the king of the hill in that multi-billion dollar industry. Maybe Steve Jobs was a little too public with his IBM criticizing, and IBM told him to do some self-copulation. Or even more interesting, what if IBM never knew that Steve had been working with Intel on x86-based Macs for the past 5 years, and after the cat left the bag IBM couldn’t deal with the infidelity. Sure makes for some interesting pillow talk.
Steve’s Ace Up His Sleeve
If IBM couldn’t deliver, and Jobs took his company and went elsewhere, this could be a sign to Intel that says “step up, deliver, or be replaced” … with AMD. AMDs latest dual-core processors whip Intel’s silicon ass with a leather strap, so if Intel doesn’t meet Apple’s high standards for processor production and speed, what would stop Apple from moving to AMD? All the applications for the Mac, by that time, would have been recompiled to work on the Mac’s x86 processors, so if Macs make another switch to AMD down the line there would be no recompiling, but just faster speeds. Jobs effectively has Intel by the cojones, and if Intel doesn’t make good on their technology, Apple now has the freedom to jump ship and use something else that’s better, and you can bet, cheaper. Think Steve would jump to Intel if the deal wasn’t sweeter than with Big Blue? Hell no.
“Wave of the Future”
But in general, I think this is a revolutionary and positive move for Apple. Hardware sales the next year might go down because of this announcement, but who cares, Apple’s making a mint with the iPod and iPod-related goodies so it’s not as though they’re dead in the water until the first Intel Mac comes out. Personally, I can’t wait until a raging 4.0Ghz Intel-based Power Mac is ready to ship because I’ll be the first one in line to snatch one up.