I never really expected to see the news that Apple is switching to x86 processors. Even with the “credible” rumor mill shit happening around here lately, I just tagged along with the assumption plastered all over the developer lists that Apple had coerced Intel to produce PowerPC chips. Wishful thinking on the dev crowd’s behalf, since they’re positively steaming over their hand-tweaked AltiVec hoozits and various dependencies on big-endianness, but something else occurred to me since the news broke:
Non-geeks don’t give a fuck about what processor architecture is inside their box.
CISC, RISC, IBM, AMD, Motorola, Intel, whatever… Ma and Pa Burkett don’t know and don’t care, and chances are they were never really filled in on all that Megahertz Myth business either. Well, I guess now they don’t have to be. And if Apple can squeeze better performance and more reliable production from a chip company, so be it.
For the longest time, the biggest argument against x86 has been the simple fact that Apple makes its money on hardware, and making OS X available to all those folks lolling about with their $300 Dells would be suicide. That theory still stands, but since Apple will be employing some nasty lockout tech, OS X still won’t be running on anything but Apple hardware… at least until it’s hacked. Even so, without considerable driver support for all that back-alley generic hardware bullshit that goes into beige boxes these days, OS X won’t play too nicely on anything that isn’t a Mac.
I guess now we wait for the Osborne Effect to kick in. (Hint: don’t tell the normal humans)