Apple Moves to Intel: So What? Big Deal.

I know that I have the minority position here, but while it’s interesting to learn that Apple is planning on moving to the Intel platform (as reported in a million news outlets today, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, MacFixIt, Macintouch, Mac Network News and, of course, Robert Scoble’s Scobelizer blog, where the story first broke), I can’t really say that it’s that exciting to me.
Yes, I know that it’s a major event for the tech industry, yes I’m glad to know that – hopefully – the price of Macs will go down, the performance will go up, and I’ll be able to run something like Virtual PC natively on my hardware, rather than through some painful emulation system, but …

In the immortal words of one of the characters in the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension:
    So what? Big deal.
Here’s why I don’t really care: what I like about Apple is their attention to detail, their seamless user experience, and, of course, the merging of the Unix operating system base with the attractive Aqua graphical interface. There are lots of elegant shareware applications and the entire environment is fun and deserves the cult following it’s gained.
But what I don’t care about is the chip inside my computer.
Motorola, IBM, Intel, AMD, Acme Taiwanese Chip Manufacturing Consortium Ltd., whatever. As long as I can continue to have a Mac experience using my computer, I really can’t see why anyone other than industry geeks and hardware propeller-heads really care about this announcement. Frankly, everywhere I have an Apple desktop system, I also have a PC next to it, and both are stashed under my desk, so if the entire hardware form factor changed, I’d be disappointed, but not much.
Laptop design, well, that’s different, but we’re still talking about a company that can push out beautiful, trend-setting, industry leading industrial designs like the iPod. And if you don’t think that the iPod has been changing the landscape of personal electronics and computing, you’ve got your head in the sand. It’s not like Apple is going to walk away from its hardware business, anyway.
Like I said, there are clear advantages to this hardware migration process, and gaining a bit more marketshare will be good for the company, the OS and, by extension, for me as a long-time invested user, but come on, everyone, it’s not the Second Coming. It’s just one chip on a board in a complex piece of hardware that enables you to have the computing experience you like.

8 comments on “Apple Moves to Intel: So What? Big Deal.

  1. I think you nailed it.
    It has more to do with the OS, and that corresponding attention to detail.
    I’m interested in the story mainly because of the reasons you cite. The peripheral impact of cheaper machines and easier ability to run VPC or even to dual-boot.
    On the whole though, I agree, interesting, but let’s keep our collective eyes on the prize and not get to whipped into a frenzy.
    Good post.

  2. Why is it a big deal? Because – despite Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller, there is potential to run OS X on a non-Apple Intel box. This could be a very big thing – if Apple really wants it to be…

  3. Dave – like you I’ve been around this stuff longer than I should have. I built my first Altair in 78 and have been in most sides of the computer and software industry.
    This is a very, very big deal. Although like you I don’t really care what drives my computer Apple’s switch has the potential to significantly change the rules that drive the WinTel world. A couple of why nots…
    Why Not..
    1 – have dell (or other pc makers) license MacOSX. Much better than waiting the 2 plus years for Longhorn that may or may not offer significant up sell and functionality
    2 – Have cheaper Macs with more hooks to existing applications
    3 – gather some marketing steam from Intel in partnership with Apple
    4 – carry the message to the masses on why MacOSX
    I for one am not a fan or virtual PC’s when it’s really cheaper to run a separate PC. I have three PC’s and they have been gathering dust and not even turned on in the last year and half since I switched from Windoze ot Mac.
    And the list goes on. I think the key point more for less which you made. Good posting. 🙂

  4. Great post, Dave. I was actually thinking this afternoon about my PowerBook and trying to figure out whether it has a Motorola or IBM processor in it. The fact is that it doesn’t matter.
    Give me a beautiful operating system that works the way I expect it to and I’m happy.
    On a side/personal note, are you heading to Gnomedex? I’ll be there.

  5. I couldn’t agree more – except for the comment that this now means that MacOS might be able to run on boxen other than Apple’s. It can now, kind of, but this move puts no one closer to cloning the MacOS or the Macintosh experience. There are enough side chips and special architecture to the Mac hardware that this remains elusive.
    For a live report from WWDC, check out the special edition of my podcast (which Dave has been on!) at:
    David Lawrence
    Online Tonight/The David Lawrence Show

  6. I think it’s a good move, from both a business and technical perspective, but at the end of the day we have to ask what new and exciting user-oriented capabilities will be available as a result of this move?
    From a user-experience perspective, how is this really that much different than if Jobs had announced that Apple had changed suppliers for paper towels in their lavatories?
    Even if cost were to drop 20% and performance were to rise 20%, how many people will really notice, other than a little initial excitement that will evaporate very quickly?
    — Jack Krupansky

  7. From a dramatic perspective, this whole announcement reeks of .. um .. drama.
    The MS harlot Intel enters the sanctimonious temple of Jobs.
    Better than Desparate Housewives.

  8. True enough, but let’s be honest: ANYthing is better than Desperate Housewives, in my opinion at least. Even if they might use Macs in their houses (I don’t know, having never seen the show) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *