OSX on wintel

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  • Reply 21 of 39
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    I agree with ricain. No one is going to reverse engineer OSX or the motherboard and sell a computer cheap enough to compete with Apple, especially when all of the iApps and digital hub-ness are included.



    Apple could change the processor in their computers tomorrow and you would never notice it. Also both Apple and M$ are having to improve security features that will make un-intended cloning more difficult in the future.



    The real problem is having to redesign all those new OSX apps like Photoshop away from Velocity Engine. Apple would lose some of its speed advantages immediately and be forced to deal with Windows on a level playing field.



    Obviously there are pros and cons to having a level playing field. Processor speed hype would be a pro, but price maybe a con, I thought PPC's were cheaper to produce. Probably no more Photoshop bakeoffs since the Mac and PC's would be more compatible - that might be a pro . No velocity engine - a con. If OSX on intel supported mp's significantly better, that might be a big pro!



    Anyway I think it would be a risk, not because Apple would need to compete against a new race of clones, but because it would loose some true advantages of the PPC. Apple just needs an AMD do to Motorolla what AMD did to Intel...not likely.



    OSX Server on Intel rackmounts though, make good sense to me.
  • Reply 22 of 39
    [quote]Originally posted by ricain:

    <strong>I agree that OS X for Intel would be a last-ditch effort, but I believe that Apple is in a last-ditch situation.</strong><hr></blockquote>Run, Chicken Little, run!!







    Chew on <a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1040-893232.html"; target="_blank">this</a>: [quote] Market researcher IDC, which recently wrapped up its preliminary first-quarter market numbers, said the Mac maker's unit sales were up 5.4 percent on a worldwide basis for the quarter, both sequentially and in year-over-year figures



    ...



    Apple is one of only a handful of companies to eke out growth anywhere in the shrinking market. Dell Computer saw the biggest jump. Shipping 4.8 million units, Dell saw year-over-year growth of 16 percent. Overall, the 31.4 million unit market declined by 2.7 percent.



    Apple's unit sales also grew in its largest market, the United States. Here, its sales increased 6.7 percent from the same quarter last year, and 6.9 percent sequentially to 387,000 units, IDC said. The company's U.S. market position rose to 3.7 from 3.4 percent a year ago.



    ...



    The iMac sales bode well for Apple, Loverde said, because its strongest quarters have traditionally been the second and third.<hr></blockquote>



    [ 04-28-2002: Message edited by: starfleetX ]</p>
  • Reply 23 of 39
    phishyphishy Posts: 34member
    [quote]Originally posted by Amorph:

    <strong>



    Microsoft is the main reason Apple couldn't survive as a software company. Think Dr. DOS. Think Be.



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    At that time was DOS or BE anything like Apple is today?? Now days the computing world is a very different place...



    Imagine...

    ...Buy a new PC (Dell?) and choose your OS. Windows or OS X. Consumers need a choice!



    [quote]Originally posted by Xaqtly:

    <strong>[QUOTE]If OS X ever becomes available on x86, Apple might as well stop making hardware altogether...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    People are buying imacs and powerbooks because they look good and are easy to use. They are competitive in the market place. If apple can't keep up with producing competitive hardware then the only option is moving to OSX to x86 compatibility.



    [ 04-28-2002: Message edited by: phishy ]</p>
  • Reply 24 of 39
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    I think ricain, for lack of a better word, elaborates on a lot of the points that people like myself, who can argue for either side (and often do go back and forth many times while considering the possibilities of this topic) didn't know how to put into words.
  • Reply 25 of 39
    spotbugspotbug Posts: 361member
    Usually these "OS X on wintel" questions are too general and everybody ends up answering their own versions of it.



    What exactly does "on wintel" mean? That Apple would try to sell such a thing? That's a harder question. If it simply means, does such a thing exist, I'd say yes, definitely.



    If you're Apple and you've got Darwin for x86 (we know that exists, right?). how could you resist taking a very specific x86 PC and getting OS X (Aqua, et al) up and running on it?
  • Reply 26 of 39
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    [quote]<strong>At that time was DOS or BE anything like Apple is today?? Now days the computing world is a very different place...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    According to Gateway's recent testimony, the only thing that's different is that MS makes all the boxmakers sign exactly the same restrictive license, instead of picking favorites.



    [quote]<strong>Imagine...

    ...Buy a new PC (Dell?) and choose your OS. Windows or OS X. Consumers need a choice!</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Whether consumers need a choice is irrelevant to the question. The question is, will Microsoft allow another OS to exist in their market, and the answer is no.



    Time will tell if the trial has any effect.
  • Reply 27 of 39
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Amorph, if Dell started selling OSX on Intel chips, what would Microsoft do? Jack up the price on their largest customer? Send Balmer to their board meetings until they beg for mercy? What could they do? Microsoft is finally under a microscope.



    The thing about Microsoft is that there is no legitimate competitor in the consumer market. If Apple truly became that competitor, then the courts would look at every move with a fine toothed comb and they'd be in court for the next 200 years. The catch 22 now is that there is no one left to really show how their monopoly is stifling innovation and the freemarket because everyone has given up and Apple sits on its island in isolation.



    I'm not advocating that Apple leave the island. Apple could have its own monopolistic problems at some point. I'm just saying that even in the corporate world, bullies only exist when people let them. Microsoft only exists as long as everyone associated with them is making money and their are no viable alternatives. If Dell could make more money by offering OS choice, then Microsoft could try to torpedo it, but regulatory actions would happen faster than you would realize.



    This isn't 1992 anymore.
  • Reply 28 of 39
    phishyphishy Posts: 34member
    Very well put MacGregor
  • Reply 29 of 39
    xaqtlyxaqtly Posts: 450member
    [quote]Even after switching to x86, Apple could still require that you buy their hardware to use OS X. <hr></blockquote>



    If Apple could make that happen then it's possible they could actually increase their market share... if only because they would be able to sell 2.4 GHz Macs right off the bat. The key, of course, is making sure OS X only runs on Apple hardware, whether it's PPC or x86 based. I suppose I should have clarified that in my last post.



    [quote] This argument kills me. What you are saying is that given the choice, nobody in their right mind would buy an Apple computer. What a ringing endorsement. <hr></blockquote>



    All you have to do is look at what happened with the Mac clones. This isn't about whether Apple's hardware is good or not - it very clearly is some of the best hardware on the market. It's about the bottom line - cost. Being the best has never determined any given thing's status, surely you know that. Remember Betamax?



    Cheap sells. That's pretty much it, as far as the madding crowds are concerned. For those of us able to recognize superior hardware (and software) when we see it, there will always be Apple. But if John Q. Public imagines that OS X is an OS worth having, and he can get it on a $1400 iMac or a $600 x86 box. running at twice the clock speed and twice the bus speed.. do you really think he's going to get the iMac?



    I love Apple and their computers and their software, but I'm not blind to reality. Apple's hardware is better, but that doesn't mean Apple's market share will increase because of it. And the reality is that if Apple makes OS X available on regular Wintel boxes, their hardware sales will drop sharply.



    Again, the key is exclusive hardware, so if Apple gets OS X running on their own brand of x86 hardware that won't run on standard Wintel boxes... then that would probably be a very good thing for them.



    [quote] I agree that OS X for Intel would be a last-ditch effort, but I believe that Apple is in a last-ditch situation. <hr></blockquote>



    I don't agree with that at all. Last-ditch how, exactly? Because they made a $40 million profit? Because they beat Wall st. estimates? Again? Because they made $1.5 Billion in revenue last quarter? Because they have one of the most recognizable brand names on the planet? Because their userbase increases every single year?



    Sorry, I really don't see anything "last-ditch" about Apple's current situation at all. Remember, people have been saying Apple is going to fail every year for the last 18 years now. 'Nuff said.
  • Reply 30 of 39
    ricainricain Posts: 23member
    Thanks to some of the above posters for their positive comments.



    The argument that OS X on Intel = Apple death, which seems to be taken as a foregoen conclusion by most people, to me is at the heart of the problem. If it is so simple, if lower cost = more market share, then on what grounds is Apple charging their high prices? Everyone knows the answer: they are using their incredibly high margins to pad their financial results and keep the company afloat. That is a defensive measure and Apple is in a defensive posture, which is sad. What that tells me, and Jobs has alluded to this with his "BMW" analogies, is that he and the company have given up on growing marketshare, beyond something stable around 5-10% (actually that would be in a dream world). That's fine if the board and shareholders like that strategy. But as a customer, I have different expectations from Apple. I expect something REALLY special for my money. After all, I'm taking a leap of faith and moving to a slower, more expensive platform with fewer / late software choices. What exactly does Apple offer to balance out that sacrifice? Not much:



    1) funky design

    2) some intangible "hardware-software" integration (what exactly do people mean when they say this? Ejecting a disk with the mouse?)

    3) The iApps (of which iMovie is the only one really head and shoulders above Wintel counterparts. iTunes is OK. iPhoto is a flop.)



    If that is the extent of it, then I'm sorry, but Apple should do as Michael Dell says and throw in the towel. Two years ago I would not have said this.



    To clarify what I see as the different OS X on Intel options:



    1) Shrink-wrap OS X for Wintel clones. Continue making PPC Macs.



    This would be a disaster because given a level OS playing field, almost no-one would buy an Apple.



    2) Move Macs to Intel chips on a closed (non-clonable) motherboard to level the performance playing field once and for all. The hardware+software integration, plus the iApps and the industrial design would still be an Apple-only advantage. Moving to x86 also opens up the door to a Win32 API set allowing Windows apps to run side-by-side with Mac apps (possible OS-2 problems). It also opens up the door to getting Microsoft to tweak WinXP to run on x86 Macs.



    This seems to me a win-win situation. Apple gets the benefit of Intel+AMD+??? research efforts. Wintel customers can switch more easily and bring their apps/OS with them. Apple sells more machines.



    3) Move Macs to an open x86 based motherboard.



    Bad idea, I think because Apple becomes just a cloner. This is essentially the same thing as #1.



    I think, however, that #1 and #2 can be combined with good results. The negative points of #1 are nullified by #2.





    [quote]Originally posted by Xaqtly:

    <strong>

    I don't agree with that at all. Last-ditch how, exactly? Because they made a $40 million profit? Because they beat Wall st. estimates? Again? Because they made $1.5 Billion in revenue last quarter? Because they have one of the most recognizable brand names on the planet? Because their userbase increases every single year?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    No, because myself, and in fact ALL the Mac users I know (all four of them) have more or less decided that using Macs is no longer worth the hassle in cost, sub-standard performance, and software / driver availability.



    And looking at the sales curve for the past 10 years, and knowing that Apple has no real interest in increasing marketshare (see above), I see no reason (besides pie-in-the-sky G5 fantasies) that anything will change substantially. That's sad.



    By the way, I explain Apple's good results by the pent-up demand for the new iMac (which has been rumored since October 1999 when the DV models first came out). I am an origial 1999 iMac DV owner. The new iMac was supposed to be for me. The problem is that, except for the $1900 model (!choke!)

    none of the new models is worth the upgrade!
  • Reply 31 of 39
    pevepeve Posts: 518member
    i think it's good to be critical.

    i am too!

    if you're so unhappy with a mac - why do you use one?



    apple can make loads of improvements - thats true. but who can't?



    i started off with wintel boxes and came to the point when i realized how much time and money i had to invest to get a decent system running.



    a mac gives me all that "straight-out-of-the-box" - ergo: a mac is the better choice for me.



    as is for mac os x: nobody has did this before.

    build a new system - from scratch.



    whats new about win xp? the ui...



    if you like wintel - then switch!
  • Reply 32 of 39
    What if Apple started a *nix distro? -- Just as something on the side not meant to do much more than screw MS?



    Darwin on Intel already exists. What if Apple decided to bloster this up a little bit to get it on par with Linux? Or what if Apple made their own distro of Linux? ...hehe. One can dream.
  • Reply 33 of 39
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    [quote]Originally posted by MacGregor:

    <strong>Amorph, if Dell started selling OSX on Intel chips, what would Microsoft do? Jack up the price on their largest customer? Send Balmer to their board meetings until they beg for mercy? What could they do? Microsoft is finally under a microscope.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Probably threaten to pull the license altogether, Does that harm MS? Sure. Enough to cripple them? No. There are lots of other OEMs, MS themselves are offering boxes now (not in the US, unless you count the XBox), and, worst case, they have $45 billion or so in the bank. Would it cripple Dell? No, it would kill them outright. Quickly.



    They've done this before. Remember, this is the company that strongarmed Intel before they had any serious competition, and the company that asked Apple how they should announce the death of Office for Mac. Profit matters to them, but control matters more.



    As for MS being under a microscope... uh, maybe. It doesn't seemed to have changed their behavior. They know the Justice Department doesn't care, and the current judge seems to be leaning heavily in their favor. I'm not counting on the courts anymore. And if they do go soft on MS, you can bet that they'll proceed full speed ahead, knowing that nothing will stop them from doing whatever they please.



    [quote]<strong>The thing about Microsoft is that there is no legitimate competitor in the consumer market.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Not by accident.



    Although MS has tried to argue that the mere existence of Apple is proof that they have legitimate competition.



    [quote]<strong>Apple could have its own monopolistic problems at some point.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Sure. Not for a while, simply because it'll take them years to get big enough - if they ever get big enough. But they did their share of scary things when they had a 40% market share...



    [quote]<strong>I'm just saying that even in the corporate world, bullies only exist when people let them.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Bullies can exist whenever and wherever there is an imbalance of power, and they exist for as long as there's an imbalance of power.



    [quote]<strong>If Dell could make more money by offering OS choice, then Microsoft could try to torpedo it, but regulatory actions would happen faster than you would realize.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Where? From whom? Ashcroft? George "I support the freedom to innovate" Bush? How long has the current trial dragged on?



    [quote]<strong>This isn't 1992 anymore.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    True. Apple had a much better market share in '92.



    [ 04-30-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 34 of 39
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    [quote]Originally posted by Arakageeta:

    <strong>What if Apple started a *nix distro?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    You mean a cross-platform distro?



    [quote]<strong> -- Just as something on the side not meant to do much more than screw MS?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    How would that screw MS? There are already UNIX and UNIX-like competitors at every imaginable price point. Apple is offering a UNIX platform, which allows them to go after MS much more efficiently: You get a full-blown desktop OS, as well as a traditional UNIX. That means the academics with a PC and a UNIX workstation can replace them both with a Mac.



    [quote]<strong>Or what if Apple made their own distro of Linux? ...hehe. One can dream.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    It's existed for some years now. It's called MkLinux. It's what allowed the other Linux variants to be ported to Apple hardware in the first place, and although Apple orphaned it after settling on NeXTStep, they first made sure that a lot of their code got rolled into the main source tree.



    [ 04-30-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 35 of 39
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Doesn't Apple make "AppleWorks" for windose?

    And does it have the Aqua .. sorry ..Luna interface on XP? <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> If so it'll not be long till they port the whole damn lot.
  • Reply 36 of 39
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    [quote]Originally posted by ricain:

    <strong>If it is so simple, if lower cost = more market share, then on what grounds is Apple charging their high prices? Everyone knows the answer: they are using their incredibly high margins to pad their financial results and keep the company afloat.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    They're barely breaking even, operationally speaking (meaning that their profits from sales cover their costs almost exactly). Their profits have generally come from the "cash machine" Fred Anderson has referred to: That $4 billion bank account that earns a fair amount of money under his careful guidance. Think about it: $40 million profit on $1.5 billion in earnings? That's a net profit of about 2.7%. So Apple doesn't have a lot of room to move.



    However, they are moving. Fred Anderson has said that Apple is adjusting their average gross margins down about 2%, mostly due to the very thin margins on the new iMac. He has told analysts for (at least) the past two quarters that Apple is trading margin for market share. See also the retail effort, and the "5 down, 95 to go" campaign. Now this might seem modest, and cautious, but remember: Apple doesn't have a lot of room to move. Their first attempts to grow market share can't be too ambitious, or they'll start bleeding red ink, and that $4 billion will start vanishing faster than you can believe.



    The point is, though, that they're trying to grow market share. And at first blush they're succeeding: Apple's market share ticked up .3% (in a huge market, that's a significant number of people!) in a historically weak quarter, with their best-selling line hopelessly backordered. Not bad for a start. Every snowball starts small.



    [quote]<strong>What that tells me, and Jobs has alluded to this with his "BMW" analogies, is that he and the company have given up on growing marketshare, beyond something stable around 5-10% (actually that would be in a dream world).</strong><hr></blockquote>



    It'll be a few years, for sure. Even if everything goes as Apple plans (and how often has that happened?).



    [quote]<strong>I have different expectations from Apple. I expect something REALLY special for my money. After all, I'm taking a leap of faith and moving to a slower, more expensive platform with fewer / late software choices.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    The choices are frequently better, though. And as for slower, it depends on what you're doing. Productivity does not always (or often, really) correlate to CPU speed. Or, put another way, you get a lot more done in a user-friendly, intuitive environment, all else being equal.



    [quote]<strong>2) some intangible "hardware-software" integration (what exactly do people mean when they say this? Ejecting a disk with the mouse?)</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Uh, no. Try actually using one of those SuperDrive iMacs that you say isn't worth the upgrade, and it'll become obvious.



    The shorthand version is: Software exists to make hardware useful. If you know exactly what kind of hardware you're writing for, it's much easier to write software that makes it useful. More significantly, it's also much easier to decide that a computer should be able to handle a task - say, making home movies - and design both the hardware and the software to work toward that goal as a unit. If you don't control the hardware, or the software, it's much harder to design computers that way.



    CPU speed does not correlate to usefulness.



    [quote]<strong>The iApps (of which iMovie is the only one really head and shoulders above Wintel counterparts. iTunes is OK. iPhoto is a flop.)</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Give 'em time. iPhoto already makes a lot of things much easier, it's just lacking any retouching features and some all-around optimization. Apple engineers have admitted that they didn't make deadline with those, but they're coming.



    [quote]<strong>If that is the extent of it, then I'm sorry, but Apple should do as Michael Dell says and throw in the towel. Two years ago I would not have said this.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Why not? Apple was offering exactly the same thing two years ago, for exactly the same reasons, except that their hardware wasn't as cool and their software wasn't as cool.



    [quote]<strong>2) Move Macs to Intel chips on a closed (non-clonable) motherboard to level the performance playing field once and for all. The hardware+software integration, plus the iApps and the industrial design would still be an Apple-only advantage. Moving to x86 also opens up the door to a Win32 API set allowing Windows apps to run side-by-side with Mac apps (possible OS-2 problems). It also opens up the door to getting Microsoft to tweak WinXP to run on x86 Macs.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    1) This means redesigning the motherboards. You can't just stick a P4 daughtercard in there and expect it to work. For one thing, it reads and writes data the wrong way. OS X goes all the way back to square one re: optimization, because all of a sudden the CPU architecture is utterly different.



    2) Moving to x86 means no more elegant, small, cool PPC chips, and makes Apple hardware a less desirable entry in some of the markets that people are clamoring for them to enter (rackmountable servers, for instance).



    3) Say goodbye to the TiBook, and, for that matter, the current iBook. Except maybe for the 14" model.



    4) Immediate furor from developers as Apple a) changes direction again, b) requires a lot of work from them (just a recompile? ha!), and c) abruptly abandons AltiVec.



    5) Whoops! No more AltiVec. Uh, where'd that Photoshop/iMovie/FCP/Logic Audio/BLAST performance get off to, again? SSE, in any of its forms, doesn't cut it as a replacement.



    6) No more Classic or OS 9 - a big blow to the educational market, which tends to run a lot of older software, and small-market, MacOS-only educational software. Not to mention old HyperCard stacks.



    7) There is no such thing as "not cloneable." Patents don't help (just ask IBM), and security through obscurity doesn't work when you're pumping out machines by the millions. There is only a disincentive to cloning when the cost of reverse engineering clearly outweights any benefits (i.e., anticipated sales). The more popular Apple's platform gets, the more significant the benefits become, while the cost remains essentially constant. Apple being Apple, there will always be room for someone to compete on price, so cloning would be all but inevitable once the Macintosh reached a certain level of popularity.



    [ 04-30-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 37 of 39
    ricainricain Posts: 23member
    [quote]Originally posted by Amorph:





    1) This means redesigning the motherboards. You can't just stick a P4 daughtercard in there and expect it to work. For one thing, it reads and writes data the wrong way. OS X goes all the way back to square one re: optimization, because all of a sudden the CPU architecture is utterly different.<hr></blockquote>



    They wouldn't go back to square one because the kernel and the Cocoa frameworks are actually more optimized for x86 because they have been around longer. Judging by the reputation and design philosophy of NeXT's team, they will probably stick to high-level optimization in the OS code, plus compiler optimisations, in order to maintain processor independance.



    [quote]

    2) Moving to x86 means no more elegant, small, cool PPC chips, and makes Apple hardware a less desirable entry in some of the markets that people are clamoring for them to enter (rackmountable servers, for instance).



    3) Say goodbye to the TiBook, and, for that matter, the current iBook. Except maybe for the 14" model.<hr></blockquote>



    This is one of the few real sticking points, in my opinion. I don't know who exactly is clamoring for rackmountable servers, though.



    [quote]

    4) Immediate furor from developers as Apple a) changes direction again, b) requires a lot of work from them (just a recompile? ha!)

    [...]

    5) Whoops! No more AltiVec. Uh, where'd that Photoshop/iMovie/FCP/Logic Audio/BLAST performance get off to, again? SSE, in any of its forms, doesn't cut it as a replacement.<hr></blockquote>



    The Alti-vec advantage is largely compensated for by higher over chip speed. Where have all the Photoshop bake-offs gone? Jobs can't do them any more because even with Alti-Vec, the G4 doesn't win convincingly.



    Classic programs will continue to run fine on existing PPC hardware. For new systems, PPC emulators exist and would perform fine for low-demand ancient software.



    [quote]

    7) There is no such thing as "not cloneable." Patents don't help (just ask IBM), and security through obscurity doesn't work when you're pumping out machines by the millions.

    <hr></blockquote>



    I disagree. Where are the Playstation 2 clones? Will there be X-Box clones? I doubt it. The X-Box is exactly the type of closed x86 based system that Apple could safely make.



    In any case, we're not going to change each others' minds. Either they do and it succeeds( or it doesn't), or they continue down the current path and it succeeds (or it doesn't).



    Either way, Apple will probably not get any more of my money until they produce something that is Shockingly and quantifiably better than Wintel alternatives. 10% better for 100% more money is not the way to win or keep customers.



    x86-based Macs are the only dependable way I can see for Apple to break out of their cycle of disappointing machines. All the rest is pie-in-the-sky fantasy, as far as I can tell.



    There's nothing wrong with Apple being happy as a small agile, risk-taking company with a niche market. I applaud it. But we have to forget about them ever being a real market force.



    I know speed isn't everything. But OS X and its native apps on current hardware is frankly an embarassment, and frustrating to use.
  • Reply 38 of 39
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    quote :o riginally posted by Amorph:



    [quote]<strong>They wouldn't go back to square one because the kernel and the Cocoa frameworks are actually more optimized for x86 because they have been around longer.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually, they were on a more PPC-like architecture first.



    Also, a lot of NeXTStep's performance came from its being first black-and-white, and then grayscale.



    I forgot another advantage lost: Currently, Apple has a lot of input into Mot's designs, because they're one of Mot's biggest PPC customers (if not still the biggest one). This means that they can ask for optimizations that are important to them (fast, efficient caches - Mot's much, much better at that than Intel is) and accept tradeoffs that aren't. Apple, not Mot, dreamed up AltiVec, and the principle architect of the AltiVec's functions was an Apple employee. Once they move to Intel, they lose that advantage, and they lose the modular Book E architecture. They take what Intel gives them, design around it, and hope for the best.



    They could probably route around that particular problem by going with AMD (which I'd prefer anyway), but there's another problem: Microsoft. Just recently, AMD's CEO testified in the MS trial that the state's proposed sanctions against MS were unworkable and would be disastrous. Turned out that he hadn't read the document in question - he'd agreed to testify against it as part of a conversation with Bill Gates that just happened to center on making sure the next version of Windows ran on AMD's chips. Whoops.



    Intel's already been brought to heel more than once (again, just look back over the trial), so the immediate effect of moving OS X to x86 is that the heart of Apple's hardware is at the mercy of Microsoft.



    [quote]<strong>Judging by the reputation and design philosophy of NeXT's team, they will probably stick to high-level optimization in the OS code, plus compiler optimisations, in order to maintain processor independance.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Except that, going by Darwin, they've done a lot of very low-level tweaking and optimization: Marrying the NuKernel and the Mach microkernel together, and then integrating them into a monolithic kernel, for instance, to improve messaging speed (which is critical to Cocoa's performance), and also to gain a significant overall speed boost.





    [quote]

    [Apple loses the advantages of using an embedded platform]



    <strong>This is one of the few real sticking points, in my opinion. I don't know who exactly is clamoring for rackmountable servers, though.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well, considering that 3/4s of Apple's current lineup (exluding only their least convincing one - the towers) depends on this point, it's not a small one: Their whole design advantage goes out the window.



    As for who's asking for rack servers: Musicians, scientists (especially), whom Apple are wooing with their "OS X is UNIX" pitch, higher education customers (see scientists), Apple's nascent 3d market, and pretty much anyone who wants to run more than one Apple server, really. The current offerings are bulky, cumbersome and lacking in scalability.



    Remember, OS 9 was a lot of the reason that Apple didn't make real servers. The few they did make (the ANS, for example) ran something else. OS 9 constrained Apple hardware-wise. OS X really doesn't. They can address lots of memory, run on lots of CPUs efficiently, they have worthwhile stability, threading and networking performance, clustering capabilities, etc. And a UNIX-like OS.



    [quote]quote:

    4) Immediate furor from developers as Apple a) changes direction again, b) requires a lot of work from them (just a recompile? ha!)

    [...]

    5) Whoops! No more AltiVec. Uh, where'd that Photoshop/iMovie/FCP/Logic Audio/BLAST performance get off to, again? SSE, in any of its forms, doesn't cut it as a replacement.



    <strong>The Alti-vec advantage is largely compensated for by higher over chip speed. Where have all the Photoshop bake-offs gone? Jobs can't do them any more because even with Alti-Vec, the G4 doesn't win convincingly.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    It's still there. It's just been a while since Jobs introduced PowerMacs at an Expo. There are tasks at which a PowerMac will still handily outrun a Pentium, and all of these are due to AltiVec. The comparisons are still around on Apple's site.



    Also, we have no idea how fast the current chips really are, because they're starved for bandwidth - and especially, their AltiVec units are. The consensus among the chip-savvy here is that if you could put one (or two, or four) of Mot's latest and greatest on a faster (or DDR) bus, there would be a significant leap forward in performance just from that.



    Also, I note that you dodged the issue of developer wrath. Don't underestimate that: It killed Rhapsody single-handed. Apple has never had very good relations with its general developer base. As far as I can tell they're at an all-time high, mostly because Apple hasn't changed direction every six months like they used to. But all Apple has to do is (appear to) become directionless again, or force its developer base to do a lot of essentially gratuitous work, and they're gone. No developers, no apps, no platform. Apple would have to start recruiting among Windows developers, and then we'd get glorified Windows apps.



    [quote]<strong>Classic programs will continue to run fine on existing PPC hardware. For new systems, PPC emulators exist and would perform fine for low-demand ancient software.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    PPC emulators exist? Where? All the emulators I'm aware of are 68K only. Also, the PPC emulator would have to run the now-legacy OS X apps until the developers got around to porting them to the new platform, and some of those are neither low-demand nor ancient. Any Photoshop users out there up for another months-long wait for a native app? Or take Quark. Please. It would be two years before they moved.



    [quote]

    quote:

    7) There is no such thing as "not cloneable." Patents don't help (just ask IBM), and security through obscurity doesn't work when you're pumping out machines by the millions.



    <strong>I disagree. Where are the Playstation 2 clones? Will there be X-Box clones? I doubt it.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Where's the benefit in cloning them? Game consoles are sold at a loss (I think it's $100 a box for the XBox - or is $200?). The companies make money off the software licenses and sales. So some dim entrepreneur decides to compete with the PS2. He sells his box at an even bigger loss (because who's going to compete with Sony's economies of scale?) and... Sony makes even more money, because they're the company licensing the right to develop for the platform. Meanwhile, our entrepreneur finds himself drowning in red ink really fast.



    On the other hand, consider Connectix's Virtual Game Station. It couldn't happen until personal computer hardware had gotten quick enough to emulate a console, but once it did, blam. Connectix made a profit on each sale, because margins on software are much, much better than on hardware, and costs are generally lower. And people were eager to exploit the software's ability to play PlayStation games without leaving their computers.



    Now, consider Apple. They don't exactly sell at a loss, do they? Nor do they make money every time someone buys a Mac application. The economics are totally different from the console market. What will happen when Macs are cloned is what happened the last time they were cloned, only worse, because this time it's via reverse engineering, not licensing: Companies who are willing to use cheaper materials and cheaper cases, and let Apple pay for all of their R&D and OS development, will be able to sell more for less, and this will cannibalize Apple's sales - especially in their most profitable lines. Since the lines whose sales get cannibalized are the ones that pay for all that R&D, the platform enters a negative feedback loop and pretty soon there's no Apple.



    [quote]<strong>Either way, Apple will probably not get any more of my money until they produce something that is Shockingly and quantifiably better than Wintel alternatives. 10% better for 100% more money is not the way to win or keep customers.



    [...]



    There's nothing wrong with Apple being happy as a small agile, risk-taking company with a niche market. I applaud it. But we have to forget about them ever being a real market force.



    I know speed isn't everything. But OS X and its native apps on current hardware is frankly an embarassment, and frustrating to use.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I've tried to ask this question implicitly, but you haven't answered, so I'll ask explicitly: What are you trying to do on your machine? Apple hardware is shockingly and quantifiably better in a lot of areas right now - especially those that are important to consumers. It's not 100% more expensive, either: The iMac and the PowerBook (to pick two) can compete on price, with no apologies made for "design premiums" or whatever.



    The only area where Apple is suffering is in brute-force, unoptimized integer and FP performance (unoptimized because optimization brings AltiVec and MP capabilities into the picture, and then Macs suddenly become contenders again). Especially if all you're looking for is brute performance for the lowest up-front cost, Apple is not a contender. But it will never be a contender here, because Apple has always competed on out-of-the-box experience and integration. You'll always be able to hand-build a stripped down PC with a screaming processor for much less than any Mac. So if that's what you need (e.g. for 3D rendering) there's no reason not to just build a bunch of stripped down, Athlon-powered PCs and go for it.



    As for the performance of OS X and its native apps, I'm running them on a 450MHz G4 - not exactly the top of the line - and although nothing is mind-blowingly fast, it's pleasant and smooth and it doesn't slow me down when I'm trying to get things done. If one task is taking a while (an image filter, or a compile, or a huge file copy), I just background it and work on something else.
  • Reply 39 of 39
    pevepeve Posts: 518member
    thanx Amorph!
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