Apple will be moving from IBM’s PowerPC processors to Intel for its lower end models like Mac Mini in mid-2006 & higher end models like Power Mac in mid-2007, reports c|net.
Apple has been using PowerPC processors since 1994 when they switched from Motorola’s 680×0 line of processors!! The shift in processors then demanded the changes to be made in the OS as well required software companies to re-write their softwares for new processors, though emulation software allowed older softwares to run on new processors. The same situation faces the software developers now, they’ll need to re-write their softwares for the x86 processors!! Some analysts think whether Apple’s market share survive a change in the architecture? Will they keep their customers or loose some of them?
This will be a 2 edged sword, for both Apple & Microsoft!! Yes, I wonder why this wasn’t mentioned in the c|net news story!! Apple is coming into the PC category now with Intel’s x86 processors, a turf dominated by Microsoft & its Windows!! And all who’ve been in the industry for sometime now, know that that Microsoft doesn’t like competition on its turf, after all, its corporate empire is based on Windows, if Microsoft looses Windows market share, it’ll have nothing left!! And we also know that Microsoft plays hardball & spares none!! 😉
So you’ll be asking how does Microsoft factores into this, right? Well, Microsoft Windows runs on Intels x86 processors & now that Apple is coming to the party, its doing one thing that Microsoft really hates, its bringing the war to Microsoft’s turf. If Apple decides that their OS-X will not remain a thing exclusive to their own hardware, then that’ll mean that Windows users can just buy a copy of OS-X & install it on their Windows based PCs. So that means there’s direct competition now between OS-X & Windows. And making an x86 version of OS-X won’t be a tough call for Apple as FreeBSD, on which OS-X is built, is already there for x86 processors!!
So as I said, its a 2 edged sword for both Apple & Microsoft!! Till now as both OSes ran on entirely different hardware, users can’t inter-switch. But now, as the processor & hardware will be same, they can inter-switch. So Apple users who are tired of OS-X will now move on to Windows easily & Windows users can migrate to OS-X quite easily!! But one thing is that whatever happens, OS-X users will loose out definitely, as they’ll have to upgrade not only software if they want the next version of OS-X, they will need new hardware as well. Not will this be the case for Windows users, probably!!
So what will we see next? Compact sleek Apple machines running Windows Longhorn? 😉