OS X on Intel not so crazy

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc. Rumors' started by robodweeb, Jan 5, 2002.

  1. robodweeb macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Look, I'm as strong a Mac advocate as anyone, but OS X on Intel will not kill Apple. 2-3 years ago, it might've ... but not today.

    Every self-appointed expert (recycling arguments from years past) says that it would eat into Apple's hardware market but Apple has made its intentions, to migrate its hardware efforts to consumer devices, pretty clear. Even its computer product lines are obviously trending towards more consumer device-like mobility, ubiquity, and specificity. Think of how many iPod-style devices could be placed in a single consumer home. Well, they need to connect to something - a consumer appliance like the "Hub" - occasionally ... to sync up, to do something via the Internet, etc.

    But does that Hub have to be a PowerMac? Could Apple be considering the penetration of Intel boxes in the consumer home space and thinking:
    1) We want to migrate consumers to our consumer products
    2) Joe and Jane Consumer would be hard-pressed to justify, given the likely economic market over the next few years, throwing away their existing Intel systems and migrating to Macs
    2a) if they did, they might not be able to copy software from work computers anymore
    3) but they might be persuaded to buy these neat, new, functional devices
    4) since we want them to do #3, and they need to have a Hub, and market share says they have Intel boxes
    5) would it make more sense to
    5a) make our devices Win2K/XP and .Net compatible and make our biggest competitor even richer, OR
    5b) provide (a limited version of?) OS X on Intel to enable them to use their existing hardware, get exposure to the Mac experience, motivate them to buy these digital devices that take advantage of this Digital Hub and, in a few years, convince them to replace their hubs with our computers (eg, OS XII on a 10 GHz PPC with VirtualPC v10, running Windows eXtraProblematic) for their backwards compatibility)?

    Apple has to look to its bottom line and, in the near future, that means selling iPods and the like. It also occurs to me that this August will be the fifth anniversary of the deals that Steve Jobs made with Bill Gates in 1997 to resolve patent issues, infuse Apple with some cash, etc. One of those deals, documented during the Microsoft trial, was that Microsoft would continue to support Office for the Mac for five years. One widely rumored, undocumented deal was that Jobs reciprocally agreed that Apple would not compete directly against Microsoft in the corporate desktop market. If true, then both sides have kept their parts of the deals. Maybe they'll continue to do so (tho they might not ... we'll see what MWNY in July tells us)

    just my two euros,
  2. Interiority macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2001
    OS X Server on Intel?

    Posted this elsewhere, but perhaps it's more relevant here...

    As I sit here, thinking that there is no way Apple will ever port OS X to Wintel hardware (for all the reasons discussed previously), a thought occurs to me...

    What if Apple ports OS X Server to x86, allowing it to run on IBM / Compaq / HP Server kit? This provides a way for them to sell into the IT datacentre, gives a limited range of hardware options on which they have to test OS X, and provides a high end platform for things like Web Objects. Just a thought...

  3. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    OS X on Intel for servers

    I think Apple would have a tough hurdle to sell OS X for corporate servers, given the investment the corporate world has in Windows on the corporate desktop ... unless Apple unveils much, much better support of Windows clients. And I don't see Microsoft being very helpful in this endeavor either <grin> ...

    On the other hand, Microsoft has not headed in the direction of home-based servers (opting, instead, for Redmond-based servers for home-based clients), so Apple and Microsoft might start out on a relatively level playing field.Those who don't want to pay Microsoft annually for their services might be tempted by OS X; those who don't mind 'paying the piper' would likely stick with Microsoft. There's enough to go around and microsoft would gain by being able to point at this as an example of their non-monoploy status ... and by being ready to migrate folks back to .Net when Apple evenually gets around to its typical "shooting itself in the foot" (love the tech, have issues with the company)

    That all said, I'm writing this from a G4/867 running OS X Server 10.1.1 and I'm quite happy with its stability and performance. Of course, I would love to be running OS X on the relatively-unused Dell box I was given at work ... and hooking it up with my server ...
  4. menoinjun macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2001

    Ok, there could be some good points to have OS X for those wintel machines, but what about software? Would the existing mac OS X software run on it, or would software manufacturers have to write programs for OS X (mac) XP, AND OS X (intel/AMD)? No way would that happen. I doubt that current mac software would work, and if it would, then PC software would have to run simultaneously WITHOUT Virtual PC in order to get buyers. I think we should give up on this idea.

  5. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    I couldn't agree more ... there's no way that anyone would support dual development paths. However, Apple has maintained all along that Cocoa was the "end-game" development platform and I would expect that an OS X on Intel would have to support Cocoa apps and not support Carbon/Classic apps.

    You have a valid point about backwards compatibility with the consumer's Windows apps. Of course, who would've believed that Connectix would develop and release and sell a Virtual PC for Windows? Plausibly, they could develop a Cocoa version of VPC that includes VPC for Windows (that passes through to the underlying Intel hardware with a slight performance hit). After all, how much do you need to play solitaire <wink>? And maybe the consuming public has been weaned from Microsoft a bit by the trial and Apple thinks that now's the time?

    I don't know, but I don't think this would kill Apple, it's not contraindicated my published facts, and is consistent with existing technological and cultural trends. Worth considering, IMO ...
  6. macfreek57 macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2002
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    in the 3 huge paragraphs that you wrote "explaining" why OS X on wintel would not kill apple you said absolutely nothing.
    you made no real, valid points.
    you entire argument has no basis.
    if apple made an intel and/or amd compatable, their marketshare on PC hardwae would quickly jump down.
    even those who call themselves apple loyal would not all continue to buy apple hardware if they could pay less. Unless apple totally changed to a perhipheral device making company and i can not see that happening.
    they would also, instead of only having just OS X for mac (and kind of OS 9) to optimize and make sure works with all the perhipherals, they would have to worry about another OS to spend time and money on.
    OS X for mac would almost stop being updated.
    joe and jane consumer would not go out and buy any os to install in their computer. most of the PC using world doesn't know the difference between mac and win. this is evident in the fact that even in the latter days of win95 and pretty good mac versions which were constantly updated, microsoft still owned the market.
    so then, if apple got pc makers to sell OS X on their computers as an option, few joe and jane consumers would actually buy it because the situation would be similar to that of the AMD and Intel situation. people don'y know much about AMD's processors and intel's are much more widespread, so they feel uneasy about getting amd's processor and end up buying the intel.
    people would feel just as uneasy about buying a seconday OS ( only in sales i'm sure).
  7. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Macfreek57, you're not reading my posting correctly.

    No one here is considering the production of a *hardware* device ("intel and/or amd compatable"), but the Mac OS X *operating system* running on the Intel hardware. There are numerous versions of Linux for these platforms ... is another version of *nix for Intel so implausible?

    And, before you say it's impossible, the NeXTSTEP operating system - developed by Jobs, Tevanian et al at NeXT before Apple bought NeXT - was ported to Intel architecture of the mid-90s and marketed as OPENSTEP. Apple owns it now and it's long been speculated that Apple was developing the Intel version alongside the PowerPC version of OS X in a "skunkworks" project.

    No one's written anything about doing away with Apple hardware either, but Apple has clearly expanded its hardware plans beyond personal computers. Of course it would be great if everyone went out and bought an iMac or G4 on which to run Apple's "digital hub" but the fact is that few will do so. OS X on Intel is a plausible transition that can get people hooked on the Apple experience without having to pay big bucks, at the outset, for a new computer.

    How many people bought iMacs just so that they could plug their new iPods into it? Probably zero (but you never know). People who bought iPods plugged them into their existing computers. Any reason to think that PC-owning people would act differently?

    And no, i don't claim that Apple would try to offer a full OS X experience on Intel; however, I think it's plausible that they can offer a limited experience ... a Darwin/Unix microkernel running Aqua (owned by Apple) on Intel sufficient to provide a digital hub for the Apple consumer devices (eg iPod and whatever shows up in the future ... iPhoto, iPad, whatever) and for Internet connectivity (provided by Darwin).

    The incentive for Joe & Jane to buy OS X for Intel are the support for Apple services and consumer devices. I'm not a marketing firm, so I can't claim how many might buy OS X. But I've supported the IT for a major federal agency for the past 8 years - specifically Macs and interoperabilty issues - and I know many who have tried to set up a dual-boot Windows-Linux combo at home and the OS X experience is much easier, and potentially more useful, than that.

    I doubt that Apple will unveil any such plans on Monday, but I don't believe that such a plan would "kill" Apple as so many claim...

    You may disagree with my argument but I would suggest actually reading, researching, and thinking before claiming anyone has "no basis" ...
  8. menoinjun macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2001

    I know someone who loved the iPod so much that they bought an iMac to run it on! I only wish I had that much money.


    almost 100!!
  9. chicagdan macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    If Apple were to port OS X to Intel/AMD machines they would want to carefully limit the hardware. Therefore, I find this scenario far more plausible -- a limited OS X license to consumer electronics companies like Sony or Toshiba to develop OS X computers on the AMD and Intel platforms. This way Apple could limit the OS bloat caused by a flood of different motherboards and devices while extending the OS to non-PowerPC dependent hardware. Apple would probably insist that these machines be priced like similarly-equipped Apple boxes so they can maintain their margins.

    As for being able to buy a copy of OS X at CompUSA to install on your Dell, dream on.
  10. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Chicagdan, you make a good point. I was thinking that Apple might market OS X on Intel as a "digital hub" - a consumer appliance that consumers could create by installing a limited feature OS X on their existing Intel hardware- instead of as a "computer" (perhaps with similar marketing for low-end iMacs), but compatibility with existing Intel hardware is an issue. I'm not suggesting compatibility with all flavors of hardware on which Windows currently runs, but Apple could choose one or two to maximize potential market size and only add others later if the market warrants. There's nothing to say that Apple has to support all x86 h-based hardware (just like it doesn't support all PowerPC-based hardware). But, if I already had such hardware, and I wanted one or more of Apple's consumer devices (a couple of iPods for the kids, an iPhoto to e-mail pix of the new baby to the grandparents, an iBook for the spouse to work on, etc., an extra $1-150 or so to turn it into an easy-to-manage digital hub (with Internet connectivity) would appeal to some people and could lead them later to migrate to Apple's computers to get increased functionality/options.

    Like I wrote, I don' expect it to appear Monday, but I don't think it would kill Apple if it did appear ...
  11. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Dec 14, 2001
    There ya go. That's what TechLive said, X ported to Intel for the server market.
  12. #12
    Not yet...

    I believe Apple is sitting on Mac OS X for Intel. They currently have Darwin 1.4.1 for x86. But I have to think it's not there yet, and it's not a high-priortity.

    I think Apple is keeping the project out there, with only a few folks working it, to hedge their bets. At this point, there is no benefit to opening Mac OS X to Intel. It's doubtful they'd ever get decent Classic compatibility anyway.

    It can only happen once Classic compatibility is no longer a factor. It'd also be a declaration of war against M$. I don't think Apple is ready to fight that battle yet.
  13. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    I don't think they'd offer Classic compatibility at all ... as you correctly point out, there's no benefit to it . But, again, I never suggested anthing of the sort. If the target market are consumers with Intel hardware at home, it would make no sense to offer compatibility with the platform they've already rejected.

    I do think it's plausible for Apple to consider the potential of this market segment in developing its digital hub and penumbra of planned consumer devices ... and the easiest transition to that spells Darwin + subset of Aqua, with Internet support and USB 2.0 and Fire/Giga-wire and Airport 802.11a/b/g support, running only Cocoa apps for managing, coordinating, browsing, searching, sync'ing, updating, etc.. Don't read more into it just to lay grounds for obvious objections, please ...
  14. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    why? why do we even care? it would not effect my world at all if osx ran on a pc... in fact i think it would just complicate it because pc's are crap to begin with even without the os.

    what we need is the mac to be the universal format where we can do what ever we want... be it run a windows app, or any other platform out there.

    and its not the os that makes all the difference. to an artist its more.. its color depth, pixel scale, and quality. the pc world is so far behind in all of these areas.
  15. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    ooops! didn't intend that last comment to be solely aimed at Charlie Bucket ... my apologies to him|her...

    Regarding the "declaration of war" on Microsoft, I don't think it would be that at all. Microsoft could definitely use an example of its benign use of its monopoly power and I would mind if Apple were the exemplar. The appearance of competitiveness would boost Microsoft's public image and I'm not naive enough to believe Microsoft would really consider Apple a threat. It would be consistent with past agreements - real and rumored - with Microsoft which, by the way, might end on their fifth anniversary in August 2002 ... Microsoft's efforts towards the home market have long been secondary to its corporate efforts. Right now, Apple doesn't stand a chance of making much headway in that market ... unless there's more major security flaws, waiting to be discovered, in this era of heightened security awareness. But the home market is wide open, as Steve Jobs is obviously aware, and the future of Apple appears to be in this direction ...

    Of course, a war on MS would "blow us away" after having been "lusted" after for so long, by so many <grin> ... on that happy thought, I'm going to bed ... feel free to argue against my suggestions, but please argue against them, and not some ideas from the past ...
  16. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    oops again ... "change "would mind" to "wouldn't mind" ...
  17. dantec macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2001

    For this idea to be successfull... Apple needs one PC maker do be 100% devoted to OS X. They would need a maker like Sony to make ALL their machines use OS X. That would make a dent!

    Comeone Apple make a partner ship with Sony, they already use Firewire... ;)
  18. dantec macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2001
    And by partnershiping with Sony...

    All the iPods, iWalks etc... would all work..!

    Do any of you guys remember when Steve Jobs said he would like Apple become more like Sony..!
  19. graydecember macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    AMD PowerMac

    would anything prevent Apple from making its own x86 boxes with OSX.x? Didn't SGI have MIPS and x86 machine architectures running IRIX... This would be one way apple could put OSX on Microsoft turf, WITHOUT putting it on MS turf.... (if that makes any sense).
    It seems it could be a shrewd and subtle way of breaching the mainstream.
  20. macfreek57 macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2002
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    alright, i see what your argument was (or was supposed to be), but it was no better than the idea of apple releasing windows drivers for their iPod and future devices. and i didn't either say anything about the production of new intel/amd devices, i only offered that apple would have to become an electronic device-making company if they wanted to stay alive because if they released os X for wintel machines (full functionality i thought you meant) they would lose their pc (like the ones they make now-100% apple compatable) market or at least lose so much of it that they would have to give it up.
    i didn't say it's impossible to port os x to intel compatable, but it would be pretty damn difficult and would take up a whole hell of a lot of apple's time (judging from what they have come out with lately in the time between expos).
    i think the idea of making essentially a VPC-like environment for apple devices to run inside of windows is dumb and it's been a long since apple's released a project that big for windows.
    and i see no purpose for the environment to connect to the internet as windows easily (and efficiently) does that by itself.
    and why are you comparing this magical environment to a windows/linux dual boot?

    i think that's it

    P.S. at least not a steady basis
  21. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Zim, I agree with you, for the most part. I would love it if the Mac were the universal system but the fact is that it's not, no matter how cool it is. The world won't get there just by wishing for it ... I, at least, am suggesting a plausible route to achieve that goal rather than just ranting mindlessly. You're a Mac user, fine. Nothing I wrote applies to you (but thank you for sharing your opinions anyway). And the whole world does not consist of artists with your concern for the pixel.

    The facts are:
    1) Apple needs to be profitable to continue to provide us with the cool tech we want
    2) Consumers don't always act rationally (in their own best interests), no matter what economists wish
    3) There are millions of consumers out there who, whether we like it or not, have PCs at home
    4) Apple has tried for years, without success, to attract these consumers away from their PC investment
    5) OS X on Intel is one plausible route by which Apple can get their corporate "foot in the doors" of these consumers, exposing them to Apple's cool tech, and lessenign the cost of migration away from their PCs
    6) People are the issue, people with money. It's not selling out to give them a glimpse of the Promised Land. Believing otherwise might be a comforting self-delusion, but it doesn't keep Apple profitable.

    So, keep recycling those old, worthless arguments and rant all you want about your feelings of superiority ... I'll keep doing what I've done for more than a decade ... helping Apple to sell its products by showing people what an effective computer experience can be ...
  22. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    Dantec, you would be right, about a PC maker needing to commit to OS X, *IF* I were suggesting OS X on Intel as a general-purpose computer solution. What I was trying to suggest was that OS X on Intel is a plausible route for specific-function consumer devices, consistent with the trend that Apple is pursuing. Yeah, all the iPods, iWalks, iPads,iPhotos, iBooks, iWhatevers could just work ...

    Macfreek, my suggestion would be "no better than the idea of apple releasing windows drivers for their iPod and future devices, *EXCEPT* that Windows drivers for these devices can't generate much profit ... OS X on Intel can. I'm a PhD grad student in computer science, so I *know* how much work it would entail. And I'm sorry, but your point about "if apple made an intel and/or amd compatable" doesn't jibe with your " i didn't either say anything about the production of new intel/amd devices" devices. "The idea of making essentially a VPC-like environment for apple devices to run inside of windows" may be dumb (technically) but, by your own arguments, so is running Windows and a lot of people have made Microsoft a monopoly by doing just that. It could be cost-effective and it could sell. And while you "see no purpose for the environment to connect to the internet as windows easily (and efficiently) does that by itself", this is a red herring because OS X on Intel would not necessarily have a VPC/Windows component - that was in response to a very different posting and was offered only as a possibility. Darwin/OS X already includes Internet connectivity, easily and efficiently, so who wrote anything about routing Internet connectivity through this environment? You know, adding your own unwarranted assumptions, then debating my suggestion on the merits of your assumptions, doesn't really reflect well on your arguments.

    Graydecember, you make a valid point that I hadn't considered fully. I think that is a viable path to take that, like my suggestion, wouldn't kill Apple (which is the point that started this thread). Thanks for the alternative .. .that's the essence of good thinking!
  23. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    i do understand the benefits of selling apple's os to the pc world but, the pc users that i personally know would never buy an apple product. it would not matter to them how powerful or stable the os would be, they would just never do it because of prejudice they have developed towards the mac community.
  24. robodweeb thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    You have a valid point, Zim. I do know many people like that (just as I have a bias against buying wintel <grin> which, at least, is based on actually having to use such systems) ... but I also know others who buy wintel because they don't know any different. The people who are dead-set on wintel boxes are going to justify it to themselves on the basis of cost and/or tech. However, there are a lot of people who just want a system that works and can manage an incremental cost (of trying a new OS on their existing hardware). And I know quite a few tech folk who'd buy a copy just to try it out (and, possibly, to bash the product) ... after all, I had to buy a copy of Windows with my Virtual PC. Their money still counts towards the bottom line...
  25. latalian macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2002
    I am freightened at how many people in this thread are willing to give nearly ten years of apple's work to the PC market. Realize first, that apples main mission at this time is to make the "best computers in the world". Apple's devices are their most important market. Realize also, that an operating system is only information, which can be duplicated almost infinately and stored infinately. You can't hold an operating system in your hand and examine it at every angle. Apple has spent a very long time trying to make their computers the best thing, not their OS. And also, why would Apple work with sony? Apple hates sony. That's why apple made the powerbook titanium model, just to compete with sony. I don't like Sony anyway. Somehow the idea of sending millions of American dollars to Japan everyday is unsettling to me. If Apple does port their long worked for Os to the PC, it wouldn't work very well. Again the object that makes apple special is their machines. The Pc architecture uses such old technologies, and is so slow even with those technologies that it would be no use putting a 48-Bit open source operating system on a 24-32-bit system. And the PC is dying. At least one PC company goes out of business every day now. Apple has worked all it's life to destroy the PC ever since IBM. Now that they're finaly winning why in the hell would they attempt to revive it. I'm also freightened at how many Anti-Mac people are here on a supposably Mac loyal website.

Share This Page