"His assumptions were based on public info about the processor, however. Moki has hinted that this info is, at least to some degree, not strictly accurate, and that there are several key 'surprises' about the chip or it's decendents (typically, he was rather obtuse about this!)
Of course, i have no inforation to back my theory up, and i don't totally subscribe to it myself, but if Apple thought that with this chip and the rumoured ppc980 or other 9xx series chips, it could offer a decent advantage over any x86 based machine, it could introduce a x86 based version of OS X whilst reducing the likelihood that it would endanger it's PPC hardware sales. Whether this would come don t releasing it's own x86 machines or offering OS X to third party manufacturers is another matter."
I think that sooner or later, Apple will have to really go after that 98% and that it can't quite do it while it is viewed as 'proprietary.'
The 9XX roadmap seems to finally give PPC the edge over the next few years. And that buys 'Apple Software Co.' time. For what? If PPC kit outperforms Wintel kit in key markets such as workstation, print and video...they're going to keep buying premium priced PPC kit. This gives Apple the chance to have a pop at the Wintel consumer market. No way? They already are. iPod. iTunes 4 by the years end. Apple software on Wintel? No way...? Way?
970 iMacs that might run Wintel 'as fast' as Wintel? Gives access to 'X'. A licensed version of 'X' to Intel/Amd? Key people like Dell? Dell are already selling iPods. Dell has a massive customer base. How about an agnostic OS that can run on PPC and Intel hardware?
I don't see this as something they can do overnight. Certainly NOT while they're moving to 64-bit. Not while they're 'breaking even'. Not while the transition to 'X' is incomplete...(and it is incomplete by a mile in terms of Apple's userbase adoption...despite what Apple says...)
They may build 'x86' in x86 support. If the Wintel market is moving beyond 'x86' then build in support for 'next gen' of Wintel chips. Encourage key developers to begin 'fat compiling' versions which will run PPC/Hammer/Itanium. This could take some time...and may not begin until developers 'frayed' nerves have been soothed with 'X' sales of eg Quark Aqua for a few years.
To me...this is a very long-term Trojan Horse battleplan. And it maybe something fundamental to Panther's gameplan. This maybe the beginning of something new. If the 970 was made for Apple by a player like IBM...what has been ceded in return? Why did Jobs talk at an Intel conference ('He's Pixar's CEO...')? Yeah. That's right...
Apple already make as much from Software/Services/'Other Products' as they do 'power'Mac sales. And with more Apple software and 'other services' coming on line along with 70 plus retail stores at the end of the year...we can expect that number to increase.
We can expect iTunes 4 for Wintel by the end of the year for the 'music store'. If it does for sales what iPod PC has done for 'Mac', sorry, 'Apple' growth then...
This divergent strategy from 'new' Apple hints that you can't go on indefinitely ignoring a hundred million customers with proprietary kit. Alot of PC users are whinging about the fact they can't have a go at 'X' on their computers...or play with iTunes Music Store...or those great iApps...or the iPod...oops...Apple gave them a version 'just for them' and they sell like crazy.
Apple has been increasingly observant of 'open standards' (on their terms) these last few years. I wonder if they will broaden this to 'non-proprietary' Macs? And broader support for other markets from within 'X'..? 'X' for IBM servers...'X' for Intel renderfarms..., 'X' for cheap Wintel Boxes...'X' for PPC workstation markets (As Amorph would say, 'That's where Apple makes its profits...')
Apple have discovered they can make money in a Wintel market. In fact, they now sell more iPods in PC land than they do in Mac land. And they're dominating market share that 'music player market.' How about that...(better than the 2% they play with in Mac land. And it appears their 'new found confidence' is growing...
We have been warned.
Lemon Bon Bon