Mac OS X86

Old news, I know. I started writing this a couple weeks ago and forgot to post it. I guess the hazard of writing LJ posts in a text file before posting is that you might not remember to actually post it.

After reading through the rumor mill the other day I was all set to call bullshit on Apple switching to Intel processors. Then I went out of town for a couple days, only to find out that they did make the announcement at WWDC on Monday. I admit, I’m pretty shocked.

There is a bright side, however. According to a followup CNET article:

… Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers’ hardware. “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac,” he said.

This is good, because allowing OS X to run on any old beige box would surely be the beginning of the end for OS X.

Someone (or many someones) will hack it to run on a basic x86 machine, but that’s a tiny number of people and they probably wouldn’t have bought a Mac anyway. The vast majority of the computer buying population will never hear about it, much less do it themselves.

I’m normally very much against this sort of vendor lock-in, but the PC market is not a level playing field. Microsoft owns it and won’t hesitate to remind any PC vendor selling computers running OS X instead of Windows of that fact. Apple could never compete directly with Microsoft in their own market. They’d last longer than Be did, but the end result, at least where their operating system is concerned, would be the same. (Never heard of BeOS? Blame Microsoft)

To update, I’m used to the idea now, but I really don’t think it’s going to change anything. It certainly isn’t a sign of the impending apocalypse, the way some people might have you believe. I don’t think this announcement renders the current PowerPC-based machines obsolete. I haven’t changed my plans to buy a new Powerbook Real Soon Now. I’d actually prefer one of the current G4 machines over the yet-to-be-announced x86-based models. I’ve learned to never buy the first revision of something, but to let other people work all the kinks out and they buy once all the bug fixes are in place. You get fewer headaches that way.