Intel, doesn’t Windows run on Intel hardware?
This is a thought that immediately ran through everyone’s mind once they heard the news. While Apple certainly isn’t going to sell you a dual-boot machine, it looks like Windows should run on a Mac + Intel, unless they take some extreme steps in the hardware anyway. And why would Apple go out of its way to prevent this? You can certainly understand them not want OS X on Dell boxes, but adding Windows to a PowerBook opens up whole new markets. All those folks stuck at companies that require Windows will now be able to use a Mac if they so desire (and the IT department doesn’t snap).
Apple will also benefit from Intel’s brand recognition. Having only the one customer, IBM and Freescale do not advertise their respective Mac-related products. Intel, though, spends millions upon millions making sure people associate them with anything computer related.
Steve Jobs has come down from the mountain and declared to the masses Apple will be shipping computers built around Intel chips by June ’06. Is that date etched in stone? Of course not. Probably laser engraved into the back of an iPod somewhere though.
Speculation on when the first Apple Mac + Intel product will ship has become a staple of forums and sites the world round. All I can say with any certainly is that Steve will launch something cool with an Intel chip by the summer Developers Conference. When? Cannot be certain at this point, though even Forbes is getting in on the guessing. I wonder what the odds are in Vegas are? As for myself, a “surprise” launch at Macworld in January isn’t out of the question, but also isn’t a certainty as some people would like to believe. The logistic of switching platforms (making sure that all the most critical software is ported over in time) is not trivial. Steve did promise the developers a year rather than 6 months remember.
So is this a good thing for Apple or a sign of some deeper problem? I think it will probably turn out for the better for Apple, though I’ll probably pine for the days where multi-CPU systems based on IBM chips could be found for under 10k. It is clear for the state of Apple’s notebook line (stagnate doesn’t begin to cover it) that they had to do something. By maintaining a build of OS X for the x86 architecture, Apple was hedging its bets and it looks like it was a smart move. The move to Intel will give them a virtually unlimited supply of chips, continuous improvements in CPUs, and the best line-up of mobile processors on the market.
Personally, if Steve pulls a Mac Mini-like system with a Pentium M out of his hat at the next Macworld, I am going to be mightily tempted. He throws a tv-tuner in and I’ll order one that day.