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CNET News: Apple to drop PowerPC chips?

post #1 of 319
Thread Starter 
Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors, CNET News.com has learned.

Apple has used IBM's PowerPC processors since 1994, but will begin a phased transition to Intel's chips, sources familiar with the situation said. Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.

The announcement is expected Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, at which Chief Executive Steve Jobs is giving the keynote speech. The conference would be an appropriate venue: Changing the chips would require programmers to rewrite their software to take full advantage of the new processor.

IBM, Intel and Apple declined to comment for this story.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Apple was considering switching to Intel, but many analysts were skeptical citing the difficulty and risk to Apple.

That skepticism remains. "If they actually do that, I will be surprised, amazed and concerned," said Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood. "I don't know that Apple's market share can survive another architecture shift. Every time they do this, they lose more customers" and more software partners, he said.

Apple successfully navigated a switch in the 1990s from Motorola's 680x0 line of processors to the Power line jointly made by Motorola and IBM. That switch also required software to be revamped to take advantage of the new processors' performance, but emulation software permitted older programs to run on the new machines. (Motorola spinoff Freescale currently makes PowerPC processors for Apple notebooks and the Mac Mini.)

The relationship between Apple and IBM has been rocky at times. Apple openly criticized IBM for chip delivery problems, though Big Blue said it fixed the issue. More recent concerns, which helped spur the Intel deal, included tension between Apple's desire for a wide variety of PowerPC processors and IBM's concerns about the profitability of a low-volume business, according to one source familiar with the partnership.

Over the years, Apple has discussed potential deals with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, chipmaker representatives have said.

One advantage Apple has this time: The open-source FreeBSD operating system, of which Mac OS X is a variant, already runs on x86 chips such as Intel's Pentium. And Jobs has said Mac OS X could easily run on x86 chips.

The move also raises questions about Apple's future computer strategy. One basic choice it has in the Intel-based PC realm is whether to permit its Mac OS X operating system to run on any company's computer or only its own.

IBM loses cachet with the end of the Apple partnership, but it can take consolation in that it's designing and manufacturing the Power family processors for future gaming consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Ninendo, said Clay Ryder, a Sageza Group analyst.

"I would think in the sheer volume, all the stuff they're doing with the game consoles would be bigger. But anytime you lose a high-profile customer, that hurts in ways that are not quantifiable but that still hurt," Ryder said.

Indeed, IBM has a "Power Everywhere" marketing campaign to tout the wide use of its Power processors. The chips show up in everything from networking equipment to IBM servers to the most powerful supercomputer, Blue Gene/L.

Intel dominates the PC processor business, with an 81.7 percent market share in the first quarter of 2005, compared with 16.9 percent for Advanced Micro Devices, according to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research. Those numbers do not include PowerPC processors. However, Apple has roughly 1.8 percent of the worldwide PC market, he added.

Apple shipped 1.07 million PCs in the first quarter, and its move to Intel would likely bump up the chipmaker's shipments by a corresponding amount, McCarron added.

http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+I...?tag=nefd.lede
post #2 of 319
Thread Starter 
Disclaimer: I did check forums for recently posted topics like this. The CNet report itself was posted only a half-hour before this. Also, the question mark should not be in the title if CNet is correct by Monday. Direct complaints there please, I am but a humble messenger.
post #3 of 319
If true, it seems to me that it implies two possible things:

Apple is trying for a true turn-key system for pros - give them the machine, the software and you have everything you need tightly integrated. At the kind of price point they can do that could make a compelling product.

The other thought is that Apple is pretty much giving up on the hardware business and intends to sell software, iPods and other consumer products - e.g. making the mini into a true home theater PC.

Bad, bad, bad...

I guess the 970MP will never see the light of day...
The Mad Kiwi Winemaker
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The Mad Kiwi Winemaker
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post #4 of 319
wow.
post #5 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by radiospace
wow.

Now that I've caught my breath: if true, does this mean that in a couple of years my current PowerMac won't be able to run contemporary OSX software (which will have been by then redesigned for Intel chips)?
post #6 of 319
I don't like the idea...

NeXT comes to mind. Steven Jobs was in that very situation already. And that experiment failed.

NeXT started selling NextStep, the OS, on Intel hoping to gain market share. But that backfired. As Intel boxes were a lot cheaper than NeXT's own hardware, people just stopped buying NeXT hardware. They bought a cheap Intel box and ran NextStep on those.

Eventually NeXT had to scrap its hardware business and went 'software only'.
At that point they were taking on Microsoft. Head-on.

But that turned out to be a lost cause, and an up-hill battle. Microsoft is too entrenched. Basically what happend was that developers said: Why should we develop for NextStep? If users run this on an Intel box anyway, we might as well develop for Windows. That gives us a much greater market to sell to.

And that was the end of NeXT's OS business too. NeXT only 'survived' because it was bought by Apple. And at that time it was only a shadow of its former self. The company would have gone bust were it not for that deal.


If Apple really goes Intel, then I'm very certain that history will repeat itself.

No matter whether Apple will try to restrict the OS to run only on Apple hardware. If Windows boxes have the same CPU, it's only a matter of time until someone develops a crack and all Apple will end up is selling OS X. Too few will pay the design premium for Apple's hardware. And from then on the NeXT circle will start to repeat itself.


C|Net has been wrong before. I for one hope they're wrong again.

---

p.s.
There is the odd chance that Intel will develop a new chip exclusively for Apple. If that chip does not run on anything but Apple hardware, that might just work out.

But then there's still the transition phase, which will hurt.
post #7 of 319
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-5731398.html

IBM, Toshiba, and Sony have taken over ownership of the PPC architecture and have shut Apple out of the business !!!

Sony and Toshiba have insisted that IBM charge Apple twice as much as they have previously for the processors, citing concerns of unfair competition from Apple in the Asian arena.

Faced with these raised costs Apple will be moving to Intel processors as quickly as possible.

Steve Jobs was quoted as say, "WHAT THE HELL, NeXt ran BEST on Intel, Macs will be even HOTTER on Intel !!!"


NOT REALLY !!! JUST CONSIDERING WHAT COULD REALLY BE GOING ON IN THE BACKGROUND, although its probably just all an overdue April Fools Joke.
post #8 of 319
The worm in the Apple at Fishkill must be larger than we thought. Still, that seems little reason to let Intel take the bait. It may end up being a shrewd move, as the key is for Apple to grow marketshare. The big question is whether or not Apple fans can weather such a transition ... and whether Apple really has the clout to compel ANY chipmaker to service its needs.

---------------------
Concerned in Nashvegas
post #9 of 319
Whats the possibility of intel developing powerpc chips for apple? maybe they can offer them at a lower cost or are willing to design multiple styles of chips, which IBM wouldnt. I mean can intel only produce x86 chips ?

i really want to know where they got this info from.
post #10 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by hobBIT


p.s.
There is the odd chance that Intel will develop a new chip exclusively for Apple. If that chip does not run on anything but Apple hardware, that might just work out.

But then there's still the transition phase, which will hurt.

What's interesting about this story is the reported transition plan. Working from the bottom up. Starting with low end (read cheap) where market share could be grown fastest... starting in 2006, an ramping to the high end.

Is it possible Apple is still hopeful that the IBM Power series will deliver the "killer" processor many have been anticipating (and which has as yet to be delivered)? Could Apple consider a 2 processor lineup? This is very disconcerting as I'm right in the middle of spec'ing an upgrade for our production dept (8-10 workstations, Xserve & supporting hardware) and an announcement like this could cause me to rethink my plans. Ugh!
post #11 of 319
Let me put it this way, if Apple is "swiching" to Intel, then I pray that Intel will start making PPC ISA chips.

An ISA transition for Apple would be (I fear) disasterous. Just take my father for example, he just swiched half a year ago, simply because he wanted to try something new. He had been hesitant for a while, but he felt that the G5 Powermac was a safe option. He bought that machine not expecting to upgrade for four to five years, if Apple swiches so will my dad ... back to his Windows machnice. This is what I fear will happen, lots of devs won't like the swich and will jump ship, lots of people with heavy invenstment in legacy, or those with recent investments will feel a deep deep recentment and turn away from Apple. And the bad just goes on and on.

What I further don't understand is why Apple would be interested to swich at al in the light of the positive news in general from IBM and Freescale; the 970MP, MPC8641/D, CELL, POWER 5 kicking ass like it does.
post #12 of 319
After reflection on this article, one fact seems strange to me, and that is the detail that they will be upgrading starting at the *bottom* of the lineup with the MacMini in 2006, and not the PowerMacs until 2007.

This raises a couple of logical questions: does Apple expect IBM to continue developing new PowerPC chips until 2007 at such a pace that they are outpacing Intel's development of the new chips? (Otherwise, the MacMini could conceivably have a 4.0 Ghz Intel chip while the PowerPC languishes at 2.9 Ghz or something). If IBM couldn't keep pace with Intel clock speeds when they had motivation to, what possible motivation would they have after having lost Apple's business already? On the other hand if the plan is to use low-end Intel chips (already on the market) in the MacMini in order to keep it well behind the PowerMac and iMac G5, doesn't that consign the MacMini to being grossly underpowered compared to the Wintel computers it should be competing with by the time 2006 rolls around?
post #13 of 319
^ Because they will be testing the waters. If the experiment doesn't turn out to be too good, they will just scrap the mini and continue with PPC.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #14 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by radiospace
After reflection on this article, one fact seems strange to me, and that is the detail that they will be upgrading starting at the *bottom* of the lineup with the MacMini in 2006, and not the PowerMacs until 2007.

This raises a couple of logical questions: does Apple expect IBM to continue developing new PowerPC chips until 2007 at such a pace that they are outpacing Intel's development of the new chips? (Otherwise, the MacMini could conceivably have a 4.0 Ghz Intel chip while the PowerPC languishes at 2.9 Ghz or something). If IBM couldn't keep pace with Intel clock speeds when they had motivation to, what possible motivation would they have after having lost Apple's business already? On the other hand if the plan is to use low-end Intel chips (already on the market) in the MacMini in order to keep it well behind the PowerMac and iMac G5, doesn't that consign the MacMini to being grossly underpowered compared to the Wintel computers it should be competing with by the time 2006 rolls around?

The clock speed race is basically over, its now about cores. but i understand your point
post #15 of 319
I put a suggestion in Apple's suggestion box a few days ago telling them to start using Intel processor, DO BOTH !

I have actually left the suggestion before but that was YEARS AGO.

Well, I guess they took my advice, if this ticks you off, SORRY !!!

I HAVE OFTEN SAID THEY ALWAYS TAKE MY ADVICE.



Why do people always worry about these transition ???

Apple has already handled every transition in the book flawlessly why should this one be any different ?
post #16 of 319
The hardware isn't what makes a Mac a Mac, it's the software. I actually believe this is a good move on Apple's part - to make it's software Intel friendly. The Mac OS market share will rocket and will bring down Microsoft to a level where they will have to make a product that actually competes with Mac OS X. Even if, even if Apple where to become a software only company, they would still be more successful then they are at the moment. Ludicrous? Take a look at how much money Microsoft makes in comparison to Apple.

The Mac OS is what makes Apple what Apple is, the drawback has always been that it runs on a nonstandard chip to 95% of the PC market.
post #17 of 319
This could all be Apple's big diversionary smokescreen. We shall see though.
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #18 of 319
My main concern would be software availability.

Any Intel box where Mac OS X runs on would surely run Windows too. So that box could be booted in either Mac OS X or Windows.

Faced with that fact, why would a company like Microsoft (Office) or Alias (Maya) continue to develop their software for Mac OS X? Sure, it would be a much better user experience, and even a nicer development environment. But heck, it's extra effort too? Just tell the user to dual boot into Windows and use the Windows version instead.

The end of Mac OS X software...

And no matter what kind of tricks Apple will try, the moment OS X runs on Intel CPUs that can also run Windows, people will find a way to run OS X on any PC hardware.


Hmmm, bad news.
post #19 of 319
I hope this isn't true. I was planning on buying a dual G5 but what a huge waste of money that'll turn out to be if its true. The software support will slowly fade as Intel based Apples crank up meaning my Powermac will be worthless in a much shorter time. And in the mean time, new Intel based boxes will have not much software available.

I think this decision to go Intel sucks (assuming its true) and will probably turn out to be a huge blunder for Apple in the long run. At the moment, I am so glad I did not get a new Powermac G5.
post #20 of 319
I would like to say, I knew this was coming. I have been saying Apple would switch for years. They stayed with the sinking ship longer than I would have, but in the end the abandoned it like a sane person would.
post #21 of 319
There has to be more to this than this article says.

If there's any truth to this at all, I bet they're going to start selling an Intel version of OS X. They're not going to simply replace PowerPC with Intel chips in the mini and the iMac. That just doesn't make sense.

That would actually be pretty cool, but it's hard to understand from a business perspective for Apple.
post #22 of 319
Has CNET ever reported a future Apple more or announcement that didn't happen? Not that I can recall, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
post #23 of 319
Quote:
Apple has already handled every transition in the book flawlessly why should this one be any different ?

Apple has.

But NeXT hasn't!

One cannot win the Windows/Intel war. Not on the same ground. Steve Jobs couldn't then. And he will not in the future.

It's more likely that developers will switch to Windows not users to Mac OS X.
And without Mac specific software from any vendor but Apple, Mac OS X will become insignificant. Like BeOS. Or others who also tried to compete with a better OS on Intel boxes.


Presuming that 'legacy' OS X software will run lacklustre in emulation on Intel hardware, users are forced into upgrading all their software.
At that point I might just 'upgrade' to Linux. At least that OS is free. And has lots more OpenSource software too.

The reasons for sticking with OS X would be very, very small.
post #24 of 319
People have been telling Apple to get out of the hardware business for a LONG TIME.

So what if Apple has been looking at the future Play Station and Xbox and it looks like they will be able run Mac software without much modification ?

Therefore, the only way to stay in the hardware business would be to SWITCH because the game boxes are TOO CHEAP.

Maybe they have some amazing new consumer toy and want to get out of the computer business, but before they quit they plan to produce some cool designer boxes and bring Mac OS X to Intel and then give it away IN THE END.

It will be a poison pill for MS OS sale !?!?!?!?!~~~
post #25 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by MACchine
I put a suggestion in Apple's suggestion box a few days ago telling them to start using Intel processor, DO BOTH !

I have actually left the suggestion before but that was YEARS AGO.

Well, I guess they took my advice, if this ticks you off, SORRY !!!

I HAVE OFTEN SAID THEY ALWAYS TAKE MY ADVICE.



Why do people always worry about these transition ???

Apple has already handled every transition in the book flawlessly why should this one be any different ?

Trying to be funny doesn't help...

Apple has only ever underwent one majour transition, the 68k --> PPC one. The reason, and only reason for why that went as smoothly as it did was due to 1) the PPC being massevly more powerfull then the old 68k chips. Thus emulation of the old apps was easy, nowadays there isn't such a preformace gap to speak of. And I doubt that intel would be nice enough to implement special PPC ISA "swichover" instruktions like the PPC of yore did. 2) 68k development went on for a looong time. Again tis was possible due to the speed of which the 68k code ran on the PPC chips. A swichover today would have to be far far more "brutal", as doing PPC code would be vastly uneconomic, leaving people who aren't ready to "hustle" and swich swiftly to x86 by the wayside.

Then there will most likely be a vast, vast upswing of Mac On Linux users. All you'd need to run OSX, at full speed, would be a cheap and nasty x86 Linux box running MOL and a pirated copy of OSX.

But doom and gloom aside, does anybody know how much endian/ISA dependent code Apple has got in OSX. Disregarding the kernel stuff of course?
post #26 of 319
i'm really stunned. it will be nice to find out more details in the next few days. this is big news even for non-tech interests. there must be some kind of special Apple specific design that Intel will manufacture for this to work. what does this mean for Altivec? is there a truly serious PPC roadblock?

the transition is going to be fast. i wonder if there isn't going to be another refresh of the G5/Power Mac until then? this is odd. it seems interesting the timing is coinciding with the launch of Longhorn. could Apple be seeing the new look of the next PC evolution to be a greater threat than we thought. enough that Apple has to concede to the major architecture in order to compete...?

there are a lot of questions
post #27 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by Eric_Z
Trying to be funny doesn't help...

Apple has only ever underwent one majour transition, the 68k --> PPC one. The reason, and only reason for why that went as smoothly as it did was due to 1) the PPC being massevly more powerfull then the old 68k chips. Thus emulation of the old apps was easy, nowadays there isn't such a preformace gap to speak of. And I doubt that intel would be nice enough to implement special PPC ISA "swichover" instruktions like the PPC of yore did. 2) 68k development went on for a looong time. Again tis was possible due to the speed of which the 68k code ran on the PPC chips. A swichover today would have to be far far more "brutal", as doing PPC code would be vastly uneconomic, leaving people who aren't ready to "hustle" and swich swiftly to x86 by the wayside.

Then there will most likely be a vast, vast upswing of Mac On Linux users. All you'd need to run OSX, at full speed, would be a cheap and nasty x86 Linux box running MOL and a pirated copy of OSX.

But doom and gloom aside, does anybody know how much endian/ISA dependent code Apple has got in OSX. Disregarding the kernel stuff of course?


You are obviously quite young.

I tested many Apple prototypes, 040s , at Silicon Beach when they transitioned from 68000 to 68040.

But there was an OS transition before that they went from 16 bit to 32 bit, which I tested prototype Apple systems software and software compatiblity for.

Oh yah, I also handled sending Apple the "Compatibility Checker" CC information for Silicon Beach for the CC app which informed people as to what software was 32bit clean.

Then System 6 to OS 7 from basically beefed up Switcher tech, to multi-threaded multi-tasking.

Then OS 9 to Unix based ( Threaded Multitasking that people trust because it comes from Unix. ) OS X.

Oh and by the way, I wasn't trying, I was.


AND THEY DO ALWAYS DO WHAT I SUGGEST !!!


Oh, and I am also sure there were major transition before I understood what was going on, like the 128K Mac to 512 Mac Plus.


post #28 of 319
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #29 of 319
the MacTel computer system will suck
post #30 of 319
http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fastf...066257,00.html

"Jobs options are many. For one thing, Intel badly wants to sell its chips to Apple. For another, PC makers realize that the Mac OS X operating system is superior to Microsoft's Windows, and they want a piece of that market. FORTUNE has learned that Apple, Intel, and several PC companies already have the Mac OS X operating system working on Intel chips in their labs. And then there's the fact that more PC users are considering switching away from Windows. There are more Mac fanatics now than ever before. The Mac OS X operating system is superb, especially in its new Tiger version, and Apples brilliant iPod is this decades signature tech device so far."

"Unlike IBM, Intel builds low-power, low-heat chips, especially for portable computers. (As I sit on a hotel bed in San Diego writing this column with my PowerBook G4 on my lap, I can definitely feel the heat.) This is critically important in an era when more and more PC buyers want laptops."
post #31 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by Eric_Z

Then there will most likely be a vast, vast upswing of Mac On Linux users. All you'd need to run OSX, at full speed, would be a cheap and nasty x86 Linux box running MOL and a pirated copy of OSX.

But doom and gloom aside, does anybody know how much endian/ISA dependent code Apple has got in OSX. Disregarding the kernel stuff of course?

OS X on generic x86 hardware would need assloads of drivers. You're not going to get the hardware companies to write them, and it would require a lot of developers to be hired at apple. when a new user came across something that didn't work, he'd just say, "this apple stuff sucks. no hardware compatibility. i'm going back to windows".

I think OS X is completely endian-neutral by now (aside from OS 9/Classic code obviously). I think the Carbon API is platform netural; Cocoa obviously is. The entire OS, minus Classic, can probably run on x86 right now. I'm sure Apple has development builds in their labs. One of the ancient builds of OS X, Rhapsody DP2, ran on x86 just fine.
post #32 of 319
How is PIXAR going to subject you to their "MIND CONTROL MOVIE" and keep YOU under its spell if Apple has not already shipped Mac OS X for Intel Weenies !?!?!?!

post #33 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by hobBIT
My main concern would be software availability.

Any Intel box where Mac OS X runs on would surely run Windows too. So that box could be booted in either Mac OS X or Windows.

Faced with that fact, why would a company like Microsoft (Office) or Alias (Maya) continue to develop their software for Mac OS X? Sure, it would be a much better user experience, and even a nicer development environment. But heck, it's extra effort too? Just tell the user to dual boot into Windows and use the Windows version instead.

The end of Mac OS X software...

And no matter what kind of tricks Apple will try, the moment OS X runs on Intel CPUs that can also run Windows, people will find a way to run OS X on any PC hardware.


Hmmm, bad news.

Apple can easily use an x86 processor with custom chips to support it - and nothing will make Windows run on that without special drivers. If Apple updates these custom chips periodically, even people who figure out the drivers for these custom chips would only be able to provide Windows running on old hardware. Hardly a benefit to run Windows like that.
post #34 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by unixguru
OS X on generic x86 hardware would need assloads of drivers. You're not going to get the hardware companies to write them, and it would require a lot of developers to be hired at apple. when a new user came across something that didn't work, he'd just say, "this apple stuff sucks. no hardware compatibility. i'm going back to windows".

I think OS X is completely endian-neutral by now (aside from OS 9/Classic code obviously). I think the Carbon API is platform netural; Cocoa obviously is. The entire OS, minus Classic, can probably run on x86 right now. I'm sure Apple has development builds in their labs. One of the ancient builds of OS X, Rhapsody DP2, ran on x86 just fine.

You do bring up a very good point about needing a ton of drivers out of the gate to keep a userbase. however whats the chances of being able to use FreeBSD driver base ? and or port over linux and other drivers out there?
post #35 of 319
Quote:

Interesting article. We may see some light at the WWDC. Apple should stay with IBM, they developed dual core first why not stick with em? PPC chips have proven to better with graphic intense software.
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"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
"Those who would give up essential liberties to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither." -Ben Franklin
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post #36 of 319
If on Monday Apple announces that it is "scrapping" its partnership with IBM and switching to Intel, then Apple must be prepared to swallow a large short-term decline in hardware sales. Why stick with the old horse when a new one is in the offing? Clued-in consumers may question the general stability of the platform itself, particularly if stories leak later on about Steve's (real or imaged) ire towards IBM as the "irrational" impetus for such a switch. From a PR standpoint, going with Intel seems to have many more cons than pros. I hope the folks at Cupertino have hashed this one out from every angle.
post #37 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by oh_the_humanity
You do bring up a very good point about needing a ton of drivers out of the gate to keep a userbase. however whats the chances of being able to use FreeBSD driver base ? and or port over linux and other drivers out there?

The FreeBSD stuff in OS X is only user-level and API level. The kernel is called XNU and is based on the Mach kernel, developed at Carnegie Mellon, Avie Tevanian's alma matter. However, OS X uses a unique driver system called the I/O Kit. I/O Kit drivers are object-oriented and written in a subset of C++. Very different from anything out there. Porting Linux drivers is a possibility, but what about the GPL issues? Maybe FreeBSD drivers would work since they're under the BSD license. It would certainly involve some work...
post #38 of 319
A relevant question would be-- could Apple survive two years without selling a single powermac?

Do what you will, but harm none.

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Do what you will, but harm none.

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post #39 of 319
Well it worked out well for SGI, why not Apple?







Oh wait....
post #40 of 319
Quote:
Originally posted by Sybaritic
Iswallow a large short-term decline in hardware sales. Why stick with the old horse when a new one is in the offing? Clued-in consumers may question the general stability of the platform itself, particularly if stories leak later on about Steve's (real or imaged) ire towards IBM as the "irrational" impetus for such a switch. From a PR standpoint, going with Intel seems to have many more cons than pros.

That kind of thing has happened in the past. It has almost killed SGI (they're basically dead anyway); it's killing HP's Unix server market. You know how the press likes to go after Apple. Apple would get hammered and hardware sales would plummet, if history is any indication. I agree, the cons of an Intel switch likely outweigh the pros. You know the old adage, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Of course we are dealing with Jobs' ego here.
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