Apple is a very image-conscious company. It controls the output of information better than any other in its sector, indeed better than almost any other company of any kind. There are lots of secrets within Apple, and mostly they are kept pretty well.
All of which makes it interesting when the senior management allow the tiniest snippet of information to come out.
In this week’s “Meet the press” event in Paris, Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller talked about a range of subjects. I suspect they had a list of points they wanted to make, whether or not they were asked the right questions by the assembled journalists.
One comment by Steve Jobs caught my attention more than the others.
Jobs promised new technology on Intel Macs that will prevent the installation of OS X on non-Apple hardware. He’s very confident about this. Jobs wanted to remind us of this summer’s widespread reports of OS X installations on x86 machines, because he’s sure he has an answer to prevent that happening on a massive scale once the switch has begun.
Consider: because Apple is so secretive, it never tells us about new technologies in advance. Everything gets unveiled for the first time when Steve is on stage - that “Oh, one more thing” moment that gets the Mac conference goers so excited. But here’s Steve, in front of a bunch of journalists, telling us about something before it’s even available. This is unusual for him. That’s why I think it’s something he’s got a lot of confidence in.
Now we can spend hours discussing precisely what sort of piracy-protection Apple might want to employ (and the folks at Slashdot have been doing exactly that), but my favorite summing-up of the whole thing comes from a Metafilter thread from February this year, in which poster kindall said:
Apple copy-protects their operating system with a hardware dongle. This dongle is called a Macintosh.
Wise words. And yet … even hardware dongles have been cracked and sidestepped in the past. Precisely what Steve Jobs has placed his confidence in will be something for us to ponder and discuss interminably between now and next June, when the first Mactel machines are (still) on schedule to be unveiled.
I bought a “Copy Controlled” audio CD the other day, but it ripped fine on my Mac