Okay, it’s been a while, but after reading various viewpoints on the whole scenario of Bootcamp, Intel Mac’s and Apple’s true intentions, and after having commented on various forums about my viewpoints on the subject, I finally feel ready to get down on paper (well not paper exactly, erm… pixels maybe), what I feel is inside SJ’s head right now, and where he’s going with this.
I’ve thought long and hard, and those thoughts have been both positive and negative, and all the compass points in-between, but I’ve finally decided. Decided what? Well read on, but let me just say from the start that I am right, and you are wrong.
This article covers a lot. It covers Apple’s move to Intel chips, Boot Camp implications, Apple’s support (or lack thereof) of Windows XP, is Apple moving to Windows, adopting the Windows API, adopting the Windows Vista kernel and many other things in-between, so, it’s a ‘biggie’.
Apple’s move to Intel Chips – why?
The reasons for this were obvious. The Motorola/IBM team simply did not have the funds/will/intelligence to create a chip in sufficient quantities for Apple Computer to use in order to drive sales of the Mac, and to keep up with the Wintel camp. The mhz myth became the ghz myth and it was difficult to have to admit that maybe Intel had a point.
Although I think Steve Jobs’ plan from the start was to eventually move to Intel chips (the Marklar project is proof enough of this), he wanted to put it off for as long as possible.
Why? Well, Apple had to wait until they had decent emulation of the PowerPC chip, to ease the transition, and Apple was trying to encourage as many developers as possible to move to Xcode. They had been pushing this for years, way before Marklar was confirmed, and I think this is another clue that Apple had been planning to move to Intel eventually. The Xcode development suite started life at Next, and had always been binary compatible with Intel chips, and now, simply clicking a tick box compiles your app for Intel.
So you can argue the pros and cons of PowerPC/Intel, but I think it was inevitable. The recent problems that Sony is having with the Cell processor is proof enough that Steve Jobs was right. Apple are now in the enviable position of having a limitless supply of (relatively) cheap, fast chips. Historically, Apple have never been able to create Mac’s quickly enough to meet demand, now they can, it’s a win-win situation for them.
Boot Camp & Virtualization – why?
The inevitability of someone hacking the Intel Mac, in order to boot Windows was well, inevitable. What surprised everyone, was that Apple would come up with the technology themselves. The question is, did Apple plan this from the start, or did the quickly come up with this technology when they heard that some geek had hacked it together?
The answer is that this is all part of Apple’s long term goal.
Once Apple committed themselves to moving to Intel, then running Windows on Mac hardware was something they must have anticipated. They new that this was one of the aspects of the move that would have happened whether they liked it or not, so they must have planned to find a way to turn it to their advantage.
What is the advantage? Well, it all comes down to the series of decisions that any computer user must make when contemplating a switch. A PC user switching to Mac has to take into various costs, such as the move in hardware, software & peripherals.
This is why the switcher campaign did not return the numbers, peoples interested was captured, but on further investigation, they balked at the cost.
With the move to Intel, this has greatly smoothed the way. Hardware isn’t a cost anymore, they were going to buy a computer anyway, software cost has been lessened, because a lot of what the average computer user uses is already free on a Mac, and any software that isn’t can be run using BootCamp or virtualization which I guarantee will become part of Leopard. Peripherals have never been a problem anyway. Most USB based devices work out of the box.
For those of you who say that Mac’s are still expensive, then you are comparing bargain basement PC’s, or build your own – markets that Apple isn’t interested in. You cannot maintain the Apple experience on cheap or build your own PC’s, or maintain a decent profit margin.
Apple support (or lack thereof) of Windows
Apple will not stop you from running Windows on your Mac, they’ve even given Windows users an easy way to do it, but this isn’t because they are moving to Windows. It’s because it knocks away another reason that Windows users have cited as their reason for not moving to the Mac – can they run their Windows apps, just in case they don’t like OS X?
However, they will not support you, (maybe because the support calls alone would eat away at their billions in cash reserves in amount 10 minutes). They’ll let you to run Windows if you want, this is why they changed the name of the portables to MacBook & MacBook Pro – if you decide to run Windows, you are still reminded that you’re running Windows ON A MACINTOSH (it keeps the brand alive in their heads).
So why have they allowed this? Well in part, they couldn’t stop it, and it’s better to have a Windows user running Windows on a Mac reliably, instead of relying on a geeky hack that doesn’t work all the time. If Apple had not done this, and a Windows user installed Windows on a Mac using the geeky hack, any problems (and their would have been plenty) would be blamed on the Apple hardware, further damaging the brand in their eyes.
But Apple mainly did this because again, it’s all part of their grand plan. (More on this at the conclusion of this article).
Is Apple moving to Windows, adopting the Windows API or adopting the Windows Vista kernel – what?
This ball started rolling with Mr Dvorak. Other Mac users much more gifted than I have pointed out the flaws in this argument and pointed out that Dvorak and people like him know as much about technology as a cab driver knows about the Apple vs Apple court case, but let’s take them one by one.
Is Apple moving to Windows?
Avie (the guy who basically invented OS X) could not have left at a worse time. (Sometimes I think Apple does this because Steve gets a kick out of seeing users squirm – but it does create interest in Apple, so maybe THAT’S the point). Avie retired from active input at Apple years ago. This was just a coincidence.
Is Apple adopting the Windows API
No, nope, nein and every other way you can say something in the negative. It sounds easy – simply adopt the Windows API (call it the Red Box, Pink Box, Purple Box Environment if you like), and all Windows applications would run alongside Mac OSX, much like X11 & Classic apps do. Except it’s not easy, and although possible, it would take years of development (it took Apple 5 years to get Classic working and they own the source code), and even then most software would not work because there is no Windows API as such, most of it is hacks and undocumented hooks. So the Apple ‘it just works’ catchphrase would go out the window (no pun intended).
Is Apple adopting the Windows Vista kernel
Oh my god, somebody please shut Dvorak up! It just goes to show how little this guy understands computers, let alone why Apple has survived this long. His basic premise was that Apple could adopt Vista, and then simply run a Mac OS X ‘skin’ on top. Like, yes that’s the difference between the 2 OS’s, the way they look.
Apple’s ‘reason for being’ is the tight integration between hardware and software. It’s the reason they don’t crash, why they’re stable, why they work, and yes, why they are a little bit more expensive. If Apple did this, they would basically become an EOL supplier of Microsoft’s OS, competing directly with Dell, HP and the others. Where does this leave the Apple ‘it just works’ benefit. Why would you buy from Apple? I wouldn’t, they’d be too expensive. They’d be dead in the water.
If Dvorak doesn’t even grasp this simple premise and see why his ramblings are not only wrong but embarrassing for a mainstream tech-writer then he doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Anyway the only reason he writes things of this ‘calibre’ is to drive traffic to his blog. Have you heard how many times he mentions it on TWIT?
Conclusion – so what is Apple’s overall plan?
All these things are connected. Apple does NOTHING on the spur of the moment, they plan, they scheme, they anticipate. Apple are profitable and healthy, the one thing that eludes them is market share, at least big gains in market share.
So this is all about attracting people to the Mac. Which people? Well there is a saying that says that if you grab somebody while they’re young, you’ve got them for life. So that means consumers.
Aren’t Apple interested in the enterprise? Well, yes and no. They’re interested in being a ‘good citizen’ on Windows networks, and playing happy with PC’s, but the real attack is at the enterprises of the future and that future lies with consumers, they are the enterprise of tomorrow.
So how will Apple do it? This is the plan, taking into account all that’s been said above:
1) Apple moves the current customer base from PowerPC to Intel hardware, moving the software at the same time, having very good emulation software built in.
2) Apple makes this move a smoothly as possible, so as not to alienate current, loyal Mac customers.
3) In order to counteract piracy, Apple creates a stable, geek-free way of running Windows on Mac hardware. Either using BootCamp or virtualization, this satisfies 2 types of new user:
a) Bootcamp users: These are users who want to move away from Windows, but dare not. This gives them a safety blanket in case they don’t like the Mac OS. They will, and within 6 months they’ll wonder how they ever put up with Windows.
b) Virtualization users: These are users who are fed up with Windows, and want to move to Mac but cannot because there is a piece of software that they must use on Windows. Within 6 months they will find a replacement or learn to live without it and use the Mac full time.
4) Apple’s market share starts to go up. It is irrelevant that some people who have bought a Mac just to run Windows, it will show as a Mac sale, much as in the same way that a PC user who buys a Windows PC and install Linux on it, still shows as a Windows sale.
5) Apple now has a significant number of new users who run Windows on a computer that can easily run Mac OS X AT NO EXTRA COST.
6) Apple then encourages them to switch by offering incentives that mean they must boot into the Mac, such as movie store that is tied into .Mac. (You would stream the movies from your account, to your Mac, but only if you run OS X), and by pushing the benefits of iLife, buy releasing new hardware, iPod related devices that leverage iLife, such as the iPhone. More controversially, they would either cancel iTunes for Windows, or make an enhanced version for Mac users. BootCamp users would not have a problem here, it would encourage them to boot more into the Mac.
7) Apple market share continues to climb.
8) Apple releases an update to XCode that allows you to compile the application you just wrote for the Mac, to run on Windows, (a specific hardware configuration only, probably teaming up with Dell or HP). Apple now controls Microsoft application development for all apps that have both Mac & Windows versions. Companies such as Adobe would jump at the chance because of the development cost savings, and new developers would contemplate XCode as a way of entering the new market of increasing Mac users, whilst still selling to the bread and butter market of Windows users.
9) Apple now controls a significant portion of Windows application development.
10) Apple buys Microsoft, closes it down and gives the money back to the shareholders. Windows IT managers around the world scream and hang themselves with used USB cables, their last words being, “Our pointless livelihoods have just been destroyed and we would have got away with it to, if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids at Apple computer!”
Okay, those last 3 were BS, (well except the bit about USB cables maybe, I went a bit Dvorak, you know, by doing about the same amount of research), but this seems to me to be a logical process that I would take if I were running Apple, all perfectly feasible, and it would grow market share.