Do I even need a Mac any more? I can run OS X on my old PC now, right?
I know this is obvious but I think it’s important to stress the difference. Just because the chips inside the boxes are going to be made by Intel, it doesn’t mean that Apple is going to release a version of their OS that will run on any box with an Intel chip. I’ve no doubt it will be possible to wrestle OS X on to a standard PC, if you have the time and inclination, but it’ll be a labour of love.
What good reason is there for buying a PPC Mac now?
Well, if you want an up-to-date machine running OS X, it’s your only option. Some time around 2008, Apple will stop supporting it officially, so you might only get three years of ‘official’ life out of it. Three years is considered a reasonable life for many computers, especially laptops. It will probably continue to work for a lot longer than that, just without Apple support. No doubt macosxppchints.org, or something similar, is being registered as we speak. There will be a lively community of PPC Mac owners willing to share help and tips with one another.
But this will have to affect sales, won’t it?
Common sense suggests that, doesn’t it? It would seem only logical that sales of high-end machines, particularly, will slowly decline between now and the release of the new Intel-powered machines next year. Unless someone has an urgent need for dual G5 oomph right now, many are going to just sit it out. Personally, I’ve been planning to buy a G4 or G5 Mac for a couple of months now. I think I shall just go with a Mac mini, which should be sufficient to do what I need until next year.
I’ve been telling everyone I know how much Wintel sucks. Now I look like an idiot.
You and me both, sunshine. But relax. Grin, shrug, and admit what Steve Jobs has admitted: PPC architecture was great, but if people wanted newer, faster Macs in 2006 there was no other way of ensuring they could be manufactured. Those mythical 3GHz processors were taking too long, and Apple couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
So my G4 laptop has to last until 2006? Maybe even mid-2006? It’s going to feel like an antique by then!
Yup. Above all other Apple customers, you’re the kind that they really have to pay attention to now. Apple will have to work very hard to stop you from buying a Wintel laptop and running Windows or Ubuntu or something. But that hadn’t even occurred to you. Had it?
Intel will have a monopoly on the desktop.
Yeah, almost. Don’t forget AMD. As several folks have commented, the switch away from PPC gives Apple more freedom in the longer term, to use whatever chipset comes along. But I think it’s fair to say that, to the average (non-technically minded) consumer, it will seem as though every single computer for sale in the local mall will be using the same chip. Maybe people will start to wonder if there’s any difference at all. At that point they will (hopefully) compare OS X and Longhorn and make their choice based on the software.
What do developers think of this? I mean, really?
I’m trying to find out. I’ve been contacting lots of developers large and small to get an idea what they think about it all. I’ll report back when I have some responses. So far, they are broadly positive.
Note about the title of this post: here in the UK, we say ‘chips’ when we’re talking about fries. There’s a certain kind of cheap cafe, also called a ‘greasy spoon’, that serves chips with every item on the menu; hence the phrase, “Chips with everything.” My journalism teacher once told me a pun was no good if you had to explain it to the readers, but anyway…)
You’ve had a few hours to think. Feeling happy, or sad, or something else?