The Tipping Point

Apple announced that within the next 2 years they will have completed the transition from using the PowerPC to machines based on Intel’s CPU’s.

I never thought i would see the day… now I am extremely curious as to what the changes *inside* the box are going to be.

“The soul of a Mac is its operating system.” Steve Jobs, WWDC, June 6th 2005

One thought on “The Tipping Point

  1. Basically there are three options.
    A) MacOS X would run on commodity hardware, and system would just have boot-up/kernel checks to see that it is booting on a supported (ie shipped by Apple) configuration. Then the BIOS/peripherals are all the same as with PCs, and the only thing that would differentiate Apple from the rest would be software. In a way this would be very similar to the period in Apple history when PPC clones existed. Keep in mind that Jobs quickly shut down that licensees when he came to power.

    B) The system would be standard PC, but the BIOS would be custom. Frankly, mostl likely option, as the costs of development of the hardware would be shared with the PC side of things. Then motherboards could be designed/made by Intel/Asus/whoever, and Apple would just tweak BIOS. Inherits all the x86/PC world uglyness (inability to boot from FW, no openboot, etc) and legacy, yet locks customers into Apple blessed hardware. Least desirable option, IMHO.

    C) Apple would create custom motherboards that would have a port of IEEE 1275 for BIOS (OpenBoot), firewire, etc. and just happen to run x86 CPUs. Probably most desirable by consumers, as would retain Apple magic (Bootable FW/USB, etc, no legacy ISA/EGA/MGA emulation, etc) but also not likely due to high costs of developement and relatively low volumes of systems bought.

    *sigh* Time will show, and meanwhile might make sense to save up some money, and consider buying top of the line PM G5 just before they are finally End Of Sale. Hopefully Sonnet and other CPU upgrade manufacturers will keep that hardware going for a while with hardware upgrades, and Apple would support MacOS X PPC for a few years. Although, who knows?

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