Monday, June 06, 2005

WWDC Keynote: What Was Not Said

Now that I've been proven right about the x86 chip transition of Apple's hardware platform, I'll point out that Steve Jobs only served the entree' at today's event. The pie and ice cream will come later.

The Apple Developer View

Today, Jobs only gave a one-way view into the heart of the hardware transition to Intel's standard chip line... the view that looks at moving existing Mac applications to OS X running on the new Apple/Intel machines. The view not exposed today is the one of that as-yet unspecified new hardware. That view will emerge not from Apple, but from the growing number of Apple Developers who will soon be receiving their $999 development Intel Macs in the mail. Those are the guys who will hop on their favorite messageboard and start spreading the next amazing piece of the puzzle: The new machines will run Windows!

The Windows User View

The next, and final piece of this triumvirate of shattering revelations will come, also online, just a few minutes later, as those same amazed developers load their OS X/Intel DVDs into the nearest "normal" PC, and... BING!... that new compile of OS X happens to also install and run flawlessly.

Even though Apple's first Intel based hardware will not come to market until next spring, Apple will begin marketing OS X for Intel as a retail product in early 2006, probably announced at MacWorld Expo, San Fransciso.

Apple With Its Hands Untied

As I said yesterday, Apple is taking off the two major self-imposed restraints that has held them back into being merely a niche player in the world computer market. First, they are moving to industry standard hardware that will run any popular operating system (thereby letting anyone at all be a viable customer for their hardware). And, they are moving OS X to be compatible with industry standard hardware (thereby letting anyone at all be a viable customer for their operating system).

The next few years will be pretty exciting, as Apple shows just what a customer focused, design-centric brand of PCs can accomplish against the dullards now barely out of the beige box mentality. And, with only $129 standing between virus ridden user Hell, and having OS X on their existing machines, it will be amazing to watch the masses begin ridding their lives of the user-unfriendly Windows experience.

Yep, today sure set the stage for a massive resurgence for Apple. And, I am humbled to have lived long enough to see the guys in Cupertino show the courage to do what needed done.

Bravo, Apple!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that Apple (read: Steve Jobs) would cede the hardware market to anyone with an x86-based PC. I do agree with you about Windows running on an intel-based Mac, but I can't imagine Job giving up the hardware portion of Apple's revenus stream.

4:08 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

My question to you is this: Why are you convinced that Apple is incapable of competing successfully in the performance (not budget) PC industry against Sony, HP, Compaq, Alienware, Voodo, etc.?

I happen to think that the 50% of buyers who shop for mid and high end PCs would love to have a gorgeously crafted machine from Apple... whether they prefer Windows, Linux, Mac OS, or some combination of these as their operating system of choice.

Why do you believe differently?

4:11 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger emcnair said...

I would have agreed with the "anonymous" poster's commments a few years ago, but things are different now. When Steve Jobs regained control of Apple was just a hardware company. They had a nice, easy to use OS and nice, but mediocre hardware. But now Apple is a software company as well as a hardware company. Apple's hardware gets mediocre reviews, but Apple's software gets stellar reviews all around. PC users are not envious of Apple's hardware, its the software that they covet.

Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, Logic and Shake are all best of breed in their class. Not to mention iLife, Tiger client and Tiger server. In a Windows verses Linux world, Apple offer the best balance between and simplicity. As I think about it further, I am wonder if this was the plan all along. Steve Jobs had realized years go while running NeXT Computer that software was the holy grail, not hardware. Giving users a means to run both Mac OS and Windows is quite an option. And I am betting that once users get a chance to work with the Mac OS, there will be no turning back.

4:39 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

Well, C|Net is reporting that Phil Schiller stated that (A)Windows will run on the new Macs, and, (B) the new Mac OS will not run on non-Apple hardware.

See the last paragraph, here.

For what it's worth, I am taking this report with a grain of salt, and, point out that only time will prove the accuracy of anything not said on the keynote stage.

So, against this C|Net report, I still hold to my position that we'll see OS X running on non-Apple hardware.

4:45 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about us poor slobs who recently purchased a PowerPC-based iMac for $1700? How long do you think real software support will last - a year? I bet it's less. I bet there's just a few minor updates to Tiger and then that's it ... us who recently purchased an iMac will have to purchase another one (Intel based) within the next 12 to 18 months if we want to remain current on software.

4:55 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

Actually, the very act done to make any commercial application work on the new Intel Macs (recompiling in Xcode) will result in a dual binary code base that will run natively on the new Intel Mac hardware AND on PowerPC hardware, as well. Thus, by default, all updates of all Mac applications aimed at the new platform will result in an update of the PowerPC version, as well.

Cool, huh? That's what taking five-years to carefully plan a platform transition results in achieving... no pain at all for your existing users.

5:02 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, getting the binaries written won't be too much (supposedly) of a hassle. let me illustrate what concerns me.

OpenGL already lags far behind on PPC OSX. I strongly doubt that once MacTel comes around that nVidia and ATi will spend any more time writing drivers for their cards for PPC users, and there are several other examples. Software such as Adobe/MS isn't the only issue here. It's little shops that already have strained to get up to speed with PPC OSX. If porting software between machines was REALLY as easy as it's being shown then Apple's software selection would be far greater than it is.

I dunno, I'm afraid I view this in a very pessimistic light.

(I wonder how hard it would be to make a cross-platform trojan binary, OSX/Windows)

5:22 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

I agree. Device driver development for Mac/PowerPC likely ground to a screeching halt about 7 hours ago. The only likely exceptions will be works-in-process that will continue to be completed under a "Why not?... we're in this deep." philosophy.

I know that I just decided to stop a new mouse/trackball driver we had just started, until I can know for certain what platform target I need to be aiming for. I can't believe I am the only Apple peripherals maker with that same thinking.

5:35 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Malus Malum said...

Still Shriller said OSX won't run on Apple hardware.
It may be more correct to say that OSX won't be supported by Apple on any hardware other than their own.

The folks who make XPostFacto make OSX run on all kinds of hardware that Apple says won't run OSX.

Isn't supported != Doesn't work.

While driver support may suffer in the short term, there will be benefit in the longer run, and OSX will eventually leverage all the driver development done in the Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD etc... world for Intel.

Funny how times change. I remember opening a Mac IIci on the service bench and seeing an IBM hard drive and feeling betrayed somehow. IBM was big brother. IBM was the enemy, and there inside this IIci was an IBM hard drive. Then there was IBM RAM in the box.

Motorola 68k gave way to IBM processors.
Oh my god!

There was more IBM stuff in the box than in an IBM computer. Horrors.

I went to work for Apple and found out they were one of the world's biggest users of AS400's.

All of Apple's service parts were shipped around the world by IBM Global Logistics.

When OS9 started getting long in the tooth, I started running my ISP using NetBSD servers on Intel, but clung to OS9 as my desktop.

When OSX came out, my two world's merged.

I could run Unix on my deskop, and it was the same unix I ran on my servers.


Now I can do it on the same chip.


I've lost my religion.
I need a fast, affordable, computer that does what I need it to do, without the lawyers from Redmond sniffing around my crotch for more license fees.

If Apple comes out with a cool new PowerBook, and it has Intel inside; whatever. I'll still buy it. I'll pay a premium for it as well.

The possibility however of running OSX on some real industrial iron is pretty cool. The XServe is nice, but there's a far greater assortment of rack mount gear out there based on Intel & AMD CPU's.

You know if OSX runs on Intel, there's no reason it won't easily run on AMD as well.

It's going to be a fun year.

6:19 PM, June 06, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

malus... That's precisely how I feel about it. I've traveled a similar road the past 30-years of computer use (since coding Fortran on a PDP-11!). And, I'm tickled to death to see Apple reaching across the waters to try and embrace something a little closer to "normal" hardware.

Yep... the next year or two will be a blast.

7:06 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Harry Studebaker said...

This whole thing (apple + intel) has left me in an odd position: last month BOTH of my Macintosh computers blew up. Fried motherboards, both of them out of warranty, facing MAJOR $$$ repair, plus the fact that one of them was my "back up"machine, so I *permanently* lost a pile of work as the malfunctioning mobo wrote nonsense to my drives...

So, I was all about >< far from plunking down $1100 for some kind of used / refurbed iMac G5 when this news hit like a tsunami. Now: I'm going to buy a windows box.


Here's my logic:

1. I need a box NOW
2. I don't have much money
3. Whatever I buy NOW is going to be a doorstop in 2 years. If I buy a PPC iMac, it's a dud in a year, and a doorstop in 2. If I buy a Wintel box, it'll blow the doors off the iMac for less money, and it'll be a dud in a year, and a doorstop in 2 years. In the meantime, I save like $500.
4. In 2 years I procure one of those new fangled Aptel boxen that will be running a P(x) processor at 5 or 6 gHz for $1100, and I would give the old PC doorstop to my daughter's school.

In the short term, Apple loses my business.

In the long term, they gain it.

I've been using apple computers since 1989, and I think they're the best, period. But I'm not made of money ,and I can't go throwing $1100 at a used 1.6 gHz doorstop, when I can spend $600 on a used 3.2gHz doorstop.

I am quite certain that there are many many other people doing the identical calculation right now. I predict Apple sales drop like a stone for the next year or two, and then pick up. Once they have it working, all will be good, and they can go head to head with anyone.

Also, I am *quite* certain that Apple will do whatever it can to prevent OSX from running on anything other than an Apple Computer. I would expect some kind of encrypted ROM chip on the mobo, or *something like that*.

Here's an idea: since HP's computer division seems to be in a death spiral, Apple should buy it. FIRE all the managers (HP employees in the ranks and mid level are good workers, but their upper management and board of dirs. has sucked donkeys [I have proof!] for many years) and then use their capacity to build out the Apple Intel business...

Apple's bigest challenges right now are:

1. keeping the faithful faithful (If I had a working Mac of my own, I'd hang in there...but I don't, so I won't.)
2. Face a VERY NEW REALITY: Apple is now a software company. An intel box is an intel box. The only difference between an Apple of 2007 and an HP/Compaq (assuming they're still in business), Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, Sony, etc. is the operating system.
3. Because of point #2, apple can't hide behind the PPC. They will have to market their machines in a completely different manner: by basis of software superiority. OSX > windows, Final Cut Pro > Avid, Safari > IE, > Outlook/Entourage, etc. and so on. this means:
4. Their biggest opponent is no longer Dell. It is Microsoft. They will have to compete with Dell, certainly, and I would expect Apple computer prices to drop dramatically over the next 2 years, but even if they held their own against Dell et al, the REAL oppoent is Microsoft. Why?
5. They are all on an equal playing field (point #2) so Photoshop / Dreamweaver / InDesign / bla bla bla shouldn't really run that much differently. If it does, then whoever (apple / MS) is slowest will suffer. Badly. No more Reality Distortion Field. Apple will have to sell the OS as well as the software around it as superior to that found in Windows. And *it will have to be superior*. Period. End of story.

So, I will procure my cheesy wintel box and suffer for a while, so I can save up for my Aptel box in 2007. It's nice to have something to look forward to.


7:31 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a mac user going back to 1986 and used a PDP 11 befor then.

My immediate reaction to this issue was shock and I guess I'll buy any Macs I need from EBAY for a while.

I have been using OS9 because of proprietary software that was due for upgrading this year. I may not upgrade this summer depending upon what I see coming from apple. I was around when my last 040 chip machine was rendered obsolete by PPC.

They had best have some type of trade in.

Then I remembered that apple did try exactly this same tactic once before. When the PPC first was relaeased there were plans for PPC based computers that could boot in Windows, OS2, and Mac. I guess we don't have to worry about Virtual PC in the future.

This is unfortunately not a bad long term plan for apple as long as they do not alienate their base. This will definitely decrease the cip envy issues. I do believe that their main competitor is likely to be Alienware or another upscale PC - not the bargains.

This is also the best time to consider this move as they are flush with alot of cash from the iPod - though sales are slowing.

I am not sure what my long term plans are, especially regarding my need for computers at the present time.

8:26 PM, June 06, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think Marketing.

What is Apple's cost to profit ratio on mac hardware?

What is Apple's cost to profit ratio on OSX for intel?

Would Dell, HP, Sony, etc. be willing to sell PC's with OSX installed?

Is Apple going to create a totally new never before conceived of on this earth piece of intel based hardware that is so much more than a PC and so cool that "everyone" will have to have one?

Fill in all the blanks, add up all the numbers, and apple will go the route with the highest profit ratio.

5:18 AM, June 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the long run, this should be a good thing for Apple and for Mac users -- IF Apple survives the short run.

Between now and the launch of the first Intel-based Mac, they're going to see a huge sales slump. Who wants to buy dead-end hardware? Argue all you want about continuing support; the perception of the masses will be that PPC Macs are dead.

If I had Apple stock, I would sell it off today and be ready to buy back in, in a big way, when it bottoms out in about a year to 18 months. I'd also be safe in case the bottom falls out altogether.

I don't have any Apple stock, but I'm thinking seriously about put options.

7:04 AM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

Funny, while you are considering buying puts, I'm moving funds and liquidating portfolio items, preparing to buy Apple stock in a big way. I think 2-years from now, AAPL will be hovering around $80 - $90, as a direct result of the Intel architecture adoption.

9:28 AM, June 07, 2005  
Anonymous Drunk New Orleans Guy said...

I'm in a wee bit of a predicament myself, given the MacIntel announcement.

I'm one of those poor souls who have to use Windows at work because of one web-based application that uses ActiveX. For a while now, I have been seriously considering buying a Mac Mini with my own money, using that for 85+% of what I do all day, keeping the Dull PC on my desk turned on running headless, and logging into it via Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection (or whatever it's called) to run IE for this one crappy app.

But I haven't done it. Because, other than the obvious benefits of using a Mac at work, I have no other use for the Mini. I keep telling myself that a better idea would be to buy an iBook, and that would also give me the benefit of being able to get online from any number of my local bars when I'm not at work. But I haven't done that, either. Because I've been waiting forever for Apple to update/refresh the iBook before making a purchase (and, well, it's twice as much money as the Mini).

With the MacIntel announcement, it seems to me that it might be worth my while to hold off on buying a laptop until they get that new-fangled low-power/high speed Intel stuff into an iBook. A large increase in processor speed and more battery life? Sounds great! But that means suffering with Windows all day, every day at work for another year at least. Ick!

One thing that the "my PowerPC is obsolete legacy equipment now!!!!" contingent fails to realize is the following:

1) The PowerPC Macs will actually be more compatible with various Mac software packages for the forseeable future. If you have a MacIntel, your options will be: Upgrade my software to a MacIntel version that may or may not exist (and may or may not cost money!), or run my PPC software via the Rosetta emulator - which we all know will suffer from a much larger performance hit than what Uncle Steve made it out to be with whatever pimped-out P4 system he was using at the keynote.

2) When developers complete the necessary work to make their software run on MacIntel, Xcode will automagically create a "Universal Binary" that will run on both Macintosh and MacIntel. a PPC Macintosh user, you obviously are guaranteed to have all current software keep working fine, and all new software for MacIntel will "automagically" have a "Universal Binary" that will run natively on your system as well. The people who will be risking compatibility uncertainties and a possible performance hit will be those who purchase the MacIntels.

I would buy the iBook now, if I wasn't so sure that a lot of the reasoning behind MacIntel revolves around the portable/laptop segment of Apple's lineup. So what I'm going to do is buy the Mini now, use it at work until a new consumer-level MacIntel laptop is on the market, buy the intelBook, and then have a Mac for at home, at work, and on the road.

This will allow me to get rid of Windows at work now, and then when the intelBook is released, I can try out/sample/beta test the new MacIntel system while also gaining the benefits of a laptop. And, since I have recently begun to study Objective-C and Cocoa programming, the intelBook will make a nice test-bed for the software projects I have in mind.

6:03 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

Well, you actually reasoned your way through all of that, and landed precisely where I was going to recommend that you land: Spare yourself a year of Windows hell, buy the mini for work. And, next year, either eBay it and buy an Intel based iBook, or, take it home, and buy the iBook.

I've thought through the transition plan Apple has offfered many times, and, I cannot see a downside or unnecessary bit pain being inflicted on anyone in the mix. this is a truly elegantly planned and executed hardware architecture migration.

6:38 PM, June 07, 2005  
Anonymous Amateur Filmmaker said...

Jack wrote "I've thought through the transition plan Apple has offfered many times, and, I cannot see a downside or unnecessary bit pain being inflicted on anyone in the mix. this is a truly elegantly planned and executed hardware architecture migration."

Except for me - sort of - but then my situation is atypical.

I'm an amateur filmaker (hence the ever-so-witty-alias) who is currently on a Windows box and looking to switch.

What I'm looking for is 1) a computer I can do easily edit on, and 2) a laptop so I can write when I'm out-and-about (everybody knows the best writing occurs over cappuccino).

Final Cut Pro Studio is clearly ahead of the competition as best app for editing. An iMac would be brilliant, but they aren't particularly portable.

I'd love a PowerBook, but my reading says the current crop of PPC chips are struggling with high-end video work, and are rather pricey for being perhaps half a generation behind.

Here are my options:

1) Stick on a PC and cope with an editing package I don't really like.
2) Buy an iMac now and buy a PB in a year - but this means I end up with two computers when I only want one, and in the short term have zero portability.
3) Buy a PB now and upgrade in a year (or whatever), which is a very expensive stop-gap measure.

Now in fairness to Apple the current crop of PPC PB's are going stuck in underperformance land whether they switched or not. The move to move will finally amp up performance again, and long term I think it's the right decision.

But the impact on me is that I will probably hold off buying a Mac until an Intel PB ships.

Ironically I've been planning to buy for about six weeks but decided to wait for the WWDC to see if new PBs would be announced. Little did I know that what was announced might push me off the Mac buying list for now.

However: if Apple speed-bump the PBs and/or change the pricing/value equation I will probably take the plunge. I really want to shift, but need a rational justification for making the jump.

11:03 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Jack Campbell said...

Well... I have a 1.67Ghz 17-inch Powerbook that just rocks on FCP HD. And, I have friends in teh video community here in Nashville who make their livings quite handily on the latest crop of 1.5GHz and 1.67GHz 15 and 17 inch Powerbooks, and FCP.

The pure benchamark processor comparisons do not indicate the degree of elegance with which Apple has optimized the present generation of FCP and the present generation of Powerbooks. The two work like, well... like they were made for each other.

I say buy the Powerbook, and enjoy a wonderful year of hassle free productivity and creativity on your new Mac. Worry about next year, next year.

11:14 PM, June 07, 2005  
Anonymous i heart mac said...

to the filmmaker $2200 for a 15 inch pb is practically nothing compared to the agony of using any windows machine. plus if you had any brains within 2 years you could depreciate the machine as a biz expense. i suggest that you go for the laptop now and stop making excuses for not moving to the superior platform, even in its current state.

8:31 PM, July 17, 2005  

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