June 06, 2005

Think Different. . . Okay, Don't

So, Apple computers has decided to dump PowerPC processors in favor of Intel chips. Obviously, this concerns me because PowerPC processors are built by IBM, and IBM pays me money to write good things about the Power Architecture (and, yes, I'm aware of the duplicate lead paragraph).

But, beyond that, Apple has managed to cling to a 2.6 percent computer market share largely because of a PC architecture that thumbs its nose at Windows-based PCs. Now, suddenly, they switch gears and adopt the same underlying chip that powers most of the Windows PCs in the market. Strikes me as an odd, and risky, move.

Adding to the bizarro world of today's IT market, the next generation Microsoft X-Box 360 is supposedly going to leverage IBM PowerPC processors. What's next? Proprietary Linux?

Posted by Ryan at June 6, 2005 04:52 PM

Eh. As long as their future operating systems are backward-compatible, I don't really care. Most people (including me) under-utilize their computing power so dramatically, it could be running on fucking vacuum tubes I wouldn't know the difference.

Posted by: Joshua at June 6, 2005 05:26 PM

I heard this story on npr today and thought of you. Don't sweat it about Mac...think about this:

Posted by: Lee at June 6, 2005 08:30 PM

So, Apple is going to use Intel CPUs instead of FreeScale/IBM ones. Big. Fucking. Deal.

Does anyone you know, and whose opinion about such things you value, care about what exactly powers an iPod? No? Then what's all the bruhaha about the CPU? I mean, it's not like Apple hasn't adopted every other bit of recent Wintel PC technology: USB in addition to FireWire, PCI instead of what they used before, (S)ATA instead of SCSI, etc.

Despite what the PowerPC/Mac fanboys on sites like Slashdot or Heise are whining about in their endless comment threads, this is not going to be the end of the world, it's not even going to be the end of Apple provided they manage to pull off a smooth transition with the help of a working emulation layer for legacy software. If anyone can do this, Apple seems to be a likelier candidate than most, seeing as they already pulled this off once when transitioning from 680x0 to PowerPC.

As far as personal computers go, the money right now is in laptops not desktops, and seeing as there is no viable G4 or G5 chip for a higher end Apple laptop (the G4 doesn't have the computing power, the G5 uses too much energy) their move doesn't strike me as particularly odd so much as economically necessary. Sure, they might lose a few of their more incoherent fanboys, but is this really such a big loss?

I doubt that Apple adopting Intel CPUs means that they're getting into the business of building IBM (Lenovo?) PC clones. Instead, I expect Macs to remain a carefully designed and tightly controlled platform. Likewise, I don't expect to be legally able to load MacOS X.something (codename "Pussycat") onto my Wintel box. Apple's value is in their ability to make things that look great and work smoothly for the average customer, giving them a nice user inteface to work with, and I don't see that changing just because they're switching CPU's.

So what's changing for the average Joe MacCustomer? Nothing he will notice, really.

Posted by: Gudy at June 7, 2005 08:03 AM

That's all well and good, Gudy, but when you're working on an update article about how great the Power Architecture is, this kind of news kind of makes for a big old pain in the ass. ;-)

Posted by: Ryan at June 7, 2005 09:21 AM

There is that. Yes. ;-)

Posted by: Gudy at June 9, 2005 07:11 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!