The Big Mistake

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
First let me preface by saying that His Steveness is an awesome salesman. No doubts, no questions - simply awesome.



However, IMHO he did make a mistake with the Intel announcement on Monday.



What faux pas did he commit? He made a blunder that usually an engineer would make, not a sales/marketing person. He told the truth



By telling the community outright that the PPC was going to be replaced by Intel over this transition period, he turned the PPC platform into a Lame Duck. Some will call it The Osborne Effect as well but the end result is the same: FUD within the community as a whole, and a potential unwillingness by the buying public to continue purchasing PPC-based machines in the interim.



If he had been thinking clearly, again IMHO, he would have "spun" it totally differently. How? Allow me to paint the picture I feel he should have shown ...



"Today I would like to announce that what some of you may have read in the WSJ and on CNET is true - sorta. Today I would like to announce that the Macintosh is going to begin reaching out to more consumers, more businesses, and more markets. How will we do this?



By being FLEXIBLE.



If you were to come to me and say 'Steve, I'm out of shape and inflexible - what would you recommend?', I would tell you to take a yoga class - that would help your flexibility don't you think? <waits for laughs>



Well today I'll be asking you, our developers, to help Apple be flexible and go with us to that yoga class.



Today I would like to announce that we are adding some flexibility to our products by introducing Intel microprocessors to our hardware platform. <pause for dramatic effect>



After looking at both the PPC and the Intel roadmaps for CPU development, it became clear that we needed to tap the strengths of both. PPC is an awesome processor for our PowerMac and XServe platforms. In creative enviromnents and in advanced computational situations, the PPC is an incredible price-per-computational unit value.



But in the portable and consumer space, the long term vision of the PPC just didn't seem to get where we wanted to go. We can envision a number of products we would like to make for you in the future but we just can't see how to do it on the PPC roadmap alone.



Enter Intel. With a processor roadmap that includes low-power, low-heat products that perform at dizzying levels in the portable and consumer products, they make a great fit for our PowerBook users, eMac, and even iMac users.



<gives the transition speech about how they've done this before>



Now keep in mind, we are not leaving the PPC. It will still be in place in our PowerMac and Xserve products and we will continue to bring some amazing PPC based products for you in the future. But for our needs, for our customers needs, the Intel processors are a better value in the portable and consumer space.



It sounds difficult I know. Many of you are sitting there shocked and stunned - and not a little amazed I'm sure. 'How will we do this Steve? Have you lost your mind? We just did a transition from OS9 to OSX, now you want us to do Intel as well?'



A daunting task at first, until you know what I know. And what I will now share with you..



<gives speech about OSX on Intel for 5 years, etc>



<tells them about Xcode 2.1 and how you just click the button for Intel compile, etc>



So now that I've dropped this on you, let me drop One More Thing - all the demo's you've seen so far? All the slides you've seen so far?



All have been running on an Intel based Mac.



<shows About screen, etc> <waits for gasps, then applause>



<talks about Universal Binaries, etc>



And now to further ease your mind, allow me to introduce you to one of our developers who has already done this ... <introduces Theo Grey of Wolfram>



<keynote goes on from here>"



So, IMHO, he should have spun it as Apple branching out by adding Intel in an attempt to broaden the appeal and hardware flexibility of the platform. Increase marketshare, lower Mac prices, etc. ANYTHING but tell them that PPC was going away. Then, after 2 years or so, quietly phase PPC out of the product line entirely. KEEP developers making Universal Binaries as a matter of course. Don't let them compile/develop for just just one, that way, IF you ever wanted to use a future PPC chip, it would already be a done deal.



Just my $0.02



BnB

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Yup, and if he'd done that, you would have had legions of developers respond with "Y'know, I see no reason to put the effort into making sure my app is cross-platform, if they only *might* make a jump one way or another. I'm holding tight to what I know, what I'm familiar with, and what I've invested in."



    Ie, it'd be Carbon all over again. We've been down the route. Apple put tremendous amounts of energy into bending over backwards for the Carbon folks, and Monday the bill was handed to them. Time to move forward, get with the program, and move ahead.



    Once the apps are Universal Binary ready, then *any* platform that Apple wishes to target is a possibility. Long-term flexibility is a must, as you point out, but most people are too short-sighted to see why they should have to put any effort into it. This forces them to. I think it was the right move.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Banana Nut Bread

    Then, after 2 years or so, quietly phase PPC out of the product line entirely.







    Quote:

    Just my $0.02



    You're being generous.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Banana Nut Bread

    What faux pas did he commit? He made a blunder that usually an engineer would make, not a sales/marketing person. He told the truth



  • Reply 4 of 14
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    I think Steve has a better grasp of the situation...given he's likely to have seen and secured a deal on delivery of Intel's forthcoming offerings.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Kickaha is right, Developers wouldn't have taken Steve, or the necessity for making Universal Binaries, as seriously if he hadn't laid down the "everything Intel by the end of 2007" law. Developers who cater only to Powermac users, those who develop high-end applications demanding the maximum performance, wouldn't see a need to do anything. And those are the applications that will take the most time and effort to rework. As it is, developers have two years to rework their applications around universal binaries, and I feel that's enough time to make the transition smooth and seamless for Joe consumer. Of course I'm no developer, but two years seems like a long, long time to me, especially after reading today that Maxon already has a recompiled version of Cinema 4D in their labs, created in the last three days.



    I do however feel that Steve didn't talk up the PowerPC enough to comfort today's buyers. I feel he should have said something along the lines of "Our PowerPC products of today and the next 24 months are great; it's the years after that we're looking out for". He eluded to that with Roadmap talk, but didn't quite say it that bluntly.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    The plan is to move all of Apple's eggs from one basket to the other, not to split them up amongst two baskets. Sure, we'll all know in the back of our minds that we could go PowerPC if necessary, but it would be great to see Apple maintaining a positive relationship with IBM & Freescale. Honestly, what could it possibly hurt?



    Honestly, PPC support is going to quickly fall by the wayside. This announcement was essentially a sword through Altivec's heart. Installed base or not, the future is out there.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    The plan is to move all of Apple's eggs from one basket to the other, not to split them up amongst two baskets. Sure, we'll all know in the back of our minds that we could go PowerPC if necessary, but it would be great to see Apple maintaining a positive relationship with IBM & Freescale. Honestly, what could it possibly hurt?



    Honestly, PPC support is going to quickly fall by the wayside. This announcement was essentially a sword through Altivec's heart. Installed base or not, the future is out there.




    Yes it could resume in :

    universal binaries, and stop developping for Altivec
  • Reply 8 of 14
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    AltiVec was being abstracted out anyway. Go take a peek at Accelerate.framework, introduced in 10.3. Apple was telling devs then, 'use this if at all possible', and now we know why.



    The framework offers an API for the most common vector calculations in mathematics, graphics, sound, DSP use, etc. When compiled for PPC, it produces AltiVec instructions optimized for that particular chip. What, you thought all PowerPCs had the same AltiVec implementation? Au contrare. Just as with the standard PPC instructions and instruction ordering details, different models vary slightly, resulting in different optimal optimizations. Accelerator took care of that for the dev.



    Developers that used Accelerator are now pretty much set - Apple converts the framework to emit SSE/2/3 depending on the final chip being targeted, and the dev does damned little.



    Those that didn't, might want to look at it again.



    Those who simply *couldn't* due to the needs of their app, or the lack of support in the framework for what they do, are going to have some serious work to do... but I have to believe that's the minority of cases.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    majormattmajormatt Posts: 1,077member
    Support for the PPC wont be going anywhere anytime soon, xcode 2.1 makes sure of it.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Yeah...what they ^ said.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    spyderspyder Posts: 170member
    I'll go ahead and roll my eyes too, because the author of this thread doesn't know what he's talking about.



  • Reply 12 of 14
    jlljll Posts: 2,709member
    What Kickaha said.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Au contrare.







    Au contraire
  • Reply 14 of 14
    spyderspyder Posts: 170member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by snoopy

    Au contraire



    Does it really matter?
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