June 6, 2005

I've always said I'd shake his hand and kick his ass...

...so this had better mean one (or more) of the following:
  • Apple contracts with Intel for WiMax chips, or the XScale/ARM chips for a new portable/handheld device. The ARM/StrongARM was the heart of my much-beloved Apple Newton, after all.
  • Apple hires Intel to produce and perhaps design new PowerPC G4/G5/G?? chips, transferring its intellectual property and licenses from IBM to Intel in order to better leverage Intel's focus on chipbuilding and integration with other chip technologies. IBM isn't first and foremost a chip company, and Intel is. So in this hypothetical, Intel takes the PPC970-whatever designs, or whatever of them Apple owns or can extract from IBM, and runs with them, integrating WiMax or other chipset goodies like the Centrino chipset to make better laptop processors.
  • Apple introduces a new line of devices, either home or portable, running a new or non-Mac OS X operating system, embedded or non, which runs on Intel chips. A 'sealed' Mac Mini 'home media appliance' running an embedded version of OS X, compiled on the Marklar build of OS X, for example. Perhaps a tablet-ized video player, on same. Whatever. This they keep tight to their chests, using Intel's chips but using the fact that the build is on Intel to keep the software to themselves more so than the OS X world - keeping the 'embedded appliance' track of Mac OS even 'cleaner' than OS X, leaving the full OS X on PPC for 'the rest of us' to play with.
  • Apple announces a line of enterprise server devices, a la XServe and XSAN, running on Intel/AMD hardware and running an Intel compiled version of Mac OS X Server. Mac OS X workstation remains PPC-only.

I know, I know. JB, why are you so negative about this Intel thing? Why are you such a conservative stick-in-the-mud? Are you just a hater? Can't you see the lure of cheaper clock cycles?

I can see that. I can also see the groundquakes of the last architecture change from 0x0 to PPC, and that didn't involve switching endian-ness. While Steve Jobs and co. may think that yes, the consumer won't give a shit what their brand new Macintoy is running on, what they risk losing is the groundswell of enterprise and hacker mindshare that arises from the fact that their hardware and their software has been adopted by a legion of coder and op geeks. Sure, most of them couldn't care, and maybe some of them would probably even applaud the move - but, honestly, given that moving to Intel won't make 'em cheaper (get real, people) then what's the point? I mean, really? Do you honestly think that Jobs and company would go through the hell, damnation and risk of a platform change just to lower their marginal price point? I sure don't. They've been making decent money on Macintoshes, and have been proving to the world that they're going to take Apple in new and cool directions selling things other than Macintoshes. iPods are only the start of it. I don't give a damn what chips those new cool things run - but damn it, I play in this patch in order to use the Mac OS, yes, even the fuckwit-braindamaged Finder they condescend to give me these days, and I don't want to live through the shitstorm that will arise if they try to shift it to x86. For fuck's sake, they haven't even finished porting OS X to PPC properly, which is why OS X keeps getting faster with each release - more and more bits of it become native code rather than emulated 680x0 code.

Like I've always said, if I ever meet Steve Jobs, it'll be hard. Two impulses will do battle - the Mac user in me will want to shake his hand warmly, and the Newton user in me will want to kick his ass. I hope that the Intel Chip Hoopla is because he's applying his particular brand of genius to move Apple into a new and exciting space that they gave up when he killed the Newton way back when - this time to stay, kick ass, and take names. If that's the case, then perhaps I'll be able to to simply say 'There goes Mr. Jobs, whose hand I would be privileged to shake if I ever could.' But if he and the NeXTies are out to shake the foundations of the Macintosh again when things are finally calm enough for the devel community to have gotten their cold shakes mostly conquered and to be turning out Cool Stuff again, well...


I guess we'll see later today.

Posted by jbz at June 6, 2005 1:18 AM | TrackBack

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