I haven’t developed some perverse fascination in Apple computers, honestly, but since the rumour of Apple moving to Intel chips first surfaced and has now become confirmed + made public, one thing jumps out that no-one else seems to have mentioned yet. Everyone is talking about how it will make Apple’s cheaper, will cause problems with shifting applications over, upping production numbers, waiting 18 months to buy a new Apple otherwise it will obsolete very quickly, etc. but:
What if Apple release OS X as an installation CD in the same way you buy a SuSE Linux or MandrakeSoft boxed set since they will develop everything for x86 anyway?
Think about it. If Apple are moving over to the x86 architecture, what’s stopping the Apple OS itself simply being stuck in a box to be bought by anyone already owning a PC? Rather than continuing to convince people to buy an Apple computer as a whole and shelling out minimum Ã�Â£340 for a Mac Mini (realisitically Ã�Â£700+ for an iBook or complete system), simply convince them to spend Ã�Â£100 or whatever on the software. It happens with most major Linux distros – they happily resize your hard drive, format their own partitions, install themselves and give you a pretty bootloader to switch between OSes.
Imagine if you could run Windows XP on one partition, and Tiger on another partition.
What’s to stop this happening? Okay, the main route Apple will be taking will still be knocking out their own systems and sticking with certain hardware components so they’d control the drivers required and other stuff along those boring lines, but lack of hardware drivers has never discouraged Linux or BSD users. With the number of Linux / BSD drivers available, the task of getting hardware vendors to open up how their gubbins work is well on it’s way, and a lot of other technical crap along those lines will surely already be documented.
I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated and has a lot of technical implications in trying this, but if the base kernel and core apps are being re-designed for the x86 systems, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. That, I’m convinced, would push Apple well into the personal computer market more than selling whole machines, as I’m sure most people would be happy to spend 100 notes on the OS itself than having to buy a whole new machine.
I know I certainly would!