Mac on Intel

It turns out the rumor from last week is true. Apple will be switching to Intel CPUs. A lot of people were saying that this is a bad move for Apple because they figured it would break all of the existing software. Of course, Apple was thinking ahead and will be shipping software (and maybe hardware?) to make the move as easy as possible. The operating system itself (OS X) is already ready for Intel. They’ve also released a development kit to help people transition their existing code, and for the applications that wont be ported, they’ve created a “translator” so the old programs will keep working on the new hardware. So, I don’t see how this can hurt Apple.

I still have a lot of questions that’ll probably be answered in the next year. Will you be able to buy OS X without buying Mac hardware? Will it run on my existing PC? Technically, you can buy OS X separately now, but you can only run the OS X on PowerPC chips, so you’re pretty much stuck with Apple hardware. I think that’s going to change. I think that in the next year or so, you’ll be able to buy Mac OS X and install it on your PC. I don’t think you’ll be limited to Intel either; it should also run on AMD chips.

Of course, Apple’s big weakness is not that software for the Mac doesn’t run on Intel (most of it does), it’s that software for Windows doesn’t run on Macs. Unless Apple has another trick up its sleeve, I don’t see how this move will fix it. Apple will be able to take advantage of a lot of cheap hardware on the market, and make it easier for people to make the switch without taking a huge hit to their wallet. This could help grow Mac market share which would give developers more of an incentive to make software for Mac.

I wish Apple the best in the transition. Microsoft seriously needs some competition in the desktop market (they’re already feeling the heat from Linux in the server market). Now, all I need is a non-Microsoft platform for gaming. (Sony? Nintendo? Are you listening?)

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