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Saturday, January 5, 2:00 PM EST

A thin line between glory and destruction


Maybe that is what Apple's Sunday homepage should read. If Apple is thinking about announcing a port of OSX to intel/AMD based machines on Monday they may be betting the whole farm. There may be a huge markup on software but there is also a much larger profit on hardware if you take into account piracy. It is hard to get a pirated imac. Would a larger audience make up for the pirating. Could Apple sell that much more software if it was ported to x86 machines? We dont think so. The majority of PC users (Both mac and Windows) do not know enough about their machines to care what OS it is running. People will opt for the PC running windows before they will buy the one that has the OS they do not know. Apple's hardware sales would also not suffer as the people who buy their hardware now would never switch to an intel or AMD based machine. They use Macs because of the Mac. There is a certain sence of home when you are in front of a Mac. Ask anyone who is forced to use a Windows based machine at work. It is the look and the feel of the machine that keeps Mac users comming back for more. No one in our office has ever owned a Windows PC and unless Apple goes out of business, we never will. Lets break down some of the hype on this story.

1.) If Apple does announce that OSX is to be ported to Pentium based machines, the speculation is that it will not be released for months (and maybe years). There is so much work that has to be done it is likely that it would be next christmas or beyond before we see a commercial release of OSX (intel). It would be foolish to announce it too soon before the final product is ready. Apple learned that already with their initial release of OSX for Mac. Also they are having a hard enough time bringing the futuristic OS to the Mac platfor to take on the enormous task of porting it to x86. 2.)There is also another flaw in this rumor. Porting your biggest piece of sotfware, an operating system, to another hardware platform is a big decision. There are thousands of companys that rely almost entirely on Apple to drive their software and thus, their revenues. If there was to be a major change in that software, these companies would have to have been told (earlier than Monday we hope) about the new decision that the Apple brass has come up with with plenty of time to prepare. Of the thousands (and thousands) of people who would have been let in on the secret, there is no way in hell they all would have kept it a secret this long. It would have been leaked by now and we would not be writing this article.

3.) Hardware is the main argument against an intel OSX release. BSD based OS's are rich in drivers for many PC hardware components, but the list grows exponentially and we can't see Apple providing that kind of support. We also can't see the open source crowd doing it for free either. Granted the excisting drivers could easily be adapted for the Apple version of the UNIX but writing drivers for both Apple and x86 hardware seems like a montrous task even for Apple. However, this brings us back to Steve Jobs. Why? Because he started NEXT and NEXT had a great idea in their fat apps. These were software and drivers that would run on both platforms. Granted they were larger but still they solved the problem. Jobs brings that mind set to Apple and this type of software design may be what gets this job done. 4.)The next problem is the classic environment. It took alot of work to get the Mac hardware to support classic layers. Is that technology easily transferable to x86? We don't think so. There is however a company that we all know called Connectix. A partnership between Apple and Connectix to ship Virtual PC with all x86 OSX releases would allow some sort of bridge for those who want to switch but can't due to ties to certain software bundles that will not run on a Mac OS. Connectix would have to port VPC to x86 but that shouldn't be a problem.

To sum it all up, this rumor seems very unlikey. All we need now are some cheesy videos of OSX booting up on a windows machine to make it go international. Can't you just see it now, a black screen followed by a BIOS screen flash and a ram check, then poof up comes the rainbow spinning wheel. The hardest part of all of this is the person who has to figure out how to get the F-Chord to chime when the PC is turned on. We can't keep up with all of this. More to come later, keep posted all weekend we will try to publish as much of this as we can. Again please keep the emails coming with what you think. We love to hear your crazy ideas. NEXT time we will give the dirt on this dual processor imac that seems to be the next big rumor. Drop us some notes on that one please.

What do you think?
AG




If you have any comments on this story or have any more insights into Apple’s future, please email us.comments@AppleGossip.com
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