Monday, June 06, 2005

My Apple/Intel prediction

OK, so the news is all abuzz about Apple shifting to Intel. Intel's CEO is reportedly in the Bay Area and will appear at Apple's World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). You can probably find someone on the web pushing just about any point of view about all this. After some thought, I decided, "Why not me, too?" So, with about a half hour before Steve Jobs' keynote address, let me make my prediction. I'll even promise not to edit this after the start of the keynote.

There's a lot of talk about "Mactel" desktop and laptop machines, even the idea that the Mac mini will move first to Intel. And, of course, the return of the clones. However, Apple understands that great design and product integrity are among its core strengths, and I don't see them giving up on that solely to allow anyone to install Mac OS on a vanilla Intel box. I could be wrong about this -- maybe Steve does plan to try to "checkmate" Microsoft by allowing this. However, continuing with my assumption, I would also submit that there isn't a massive need for Intel on the desktop or even 90% of Mac laptops. Not only that, but, more importantly, keep in mind that the Pentium architecture (including the Pentium M, usually touted as the chip for a Mactel laptop) is only 32 bit, and Apple has its sights set on 64 bit machines. Consider all of the problems with backwards compatibility of existing Mac software with the Pentium architecture, and the future need to shift away from 32 bit Pentium software to 64 bit software. Apple is already transitioning from 32 bit PowerPC (G4) to 64 bit PowerPC (G5). It's asking a lot for Apple and developers to have to shift two more times.

That brings me to my prediction: Xeon Xserves.

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