So I just read this open letter to apple from some dude….did you notice he is an embedded programmer? that would explain why he is so focused on stuff like assembly… who codes in assembly? Wait, hold on, let me check here, …. nope, it isn’t 1982 and the mac is not embedded technology… so word. ok cool. I’ll send this guy a memo about how compilers are pretty cool. But I digress…
I predict it went down like this… steve jobs is chilling in his office having just got off the phone with freescale/IBM and is pissed because deep down, he knows that they can’t give him the technology he needs. He is pissed, cause he likes that technology. He has built lots on it, and being apple and steve he is happy that until recently, it has been a successful chip with great engineering behind it not to mention it is different and arguably better than the x86 based architecture. But freescale/IBM is not delivering the chips or the new technology that steve wants. The laptops that he so loves touting and selling are not getting the speed increases people crave. He has a killer OS, he has new people coming into the mac fold each day, and yet he is looking at a supply line that he knows is both lacking the scalability he needs, both in terms of future growth of technology and pure supply. Not to mention he can see the the supplier has other clients of late that are also using both engineering and production resources (perhaps at the expense of apple.) So a decision needs to be made. Do we stick with this supplier whom we love, but has not been pulling through, or move to another supplier? What other supplier can meet the current needs? Who else is out there?
Thus we end up at intel. The only supplier that can guarantee both the supply and future technology improvements. Sure it will be a huge switch. Sure it will confuse people. Sure it is a potentially horrible transition from a marketing point of view. But what are the options? Who else? The magic (Mac OS) will work fine with a couple tweaks, it always has. The OS has been running on x86 since the alpha days.
So the big problem is the users. Those are the people steve needs to worry about. Honestly, most of them will stick with OS X. Most of them actually have little to no concern about the chipset, the CPU, etc. My mother doesn’t know RISC vs. CISC, nor why the Cell chip makes for horrible personal computing due to its inability to handle out of order operations well. Most people don’t. You will still go to the store and buy a new Mac. It will look the same, feel the same, run the same software. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple cover up the numbering convention over time to mask it all. That is all stuff I am sure Steve and the marketing team will figure out. That part is easy for Apple.
I am sure Steve lost some sleep over this one, but I don’t see what options he had. Sure it will be tough, but not really for the end user. More so for Apple. The average person will be none the wiser. Sure some developers have some work cut out for them, but that won’t be too bad either. There will be some long nights, but it won’t last long. And sure I will likely replace my mom’s iMac with an intel one, but she won’t care. It will still run her iTunes and iPhoto.
I understand the media needs something to focus on today, and I do think this is a worthy topic. But it isn’t the end of the world. I am sure it will all work out. And it if the spin is done right, Steve may even be able to bring more people into the mix.