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|Tuesday, June 14, 2005|
Not that the world's been all that upset without the insight, but I haven't said anything yet about the Macintosh moving to Intel. Oh well, just to add to the bandwidth-spam, here goes...
I should start by saying that I was wrong. The move did surprise me. With hindsight, though, it's a great one for Apple.
So far, the smartest comments I've seen on the move have come from game programmers. Ryan Gordon has given the swap the most insightful comments, namely that...
1.) He thinks that "Classic is flat out gone".
2.) Rosetta is no panacea.
The first point is the most important. It explains why we had to wait until now to move to Intel. Macrumors and other sites had been saying the move was coming for quite some time. The only reason the move didn't come sooner, imo, is that Apple still had to support Classic apps. I subscribe to a number of the lowendmac.com mailing lists (insert Digest Handler pimp here), and these folk would not have done well trashing all their software in one fell swoop. By now, however, I, and many others, only boot into Classic to, say, play a few games. Everything I need has been Carbonized (when Classic code is tweaked especially for OS X), rewritten, or replaced. On my newest Mac, I don't even have Classic installed.
Getting to the point that Classic isn't necessary did take about five years for OS X to mature. We're there now, and OS X (including iLife, Safari, the Java VM, etc) has run on Intel the whole time.
Sure, perhaps there were "tweleth hour talks" with IBM, and why shouldn't there have been? Still, I'm relatively certain Jobs and Co. had made up their mind that the move was likely coming quite a while ago, not coincidentally shortly before the time OS X was released and the Intel rumors began to fly. Again, only Classic was holding them back.
The second point about Rosetta is just to say regardless of how well iLife, etc, runs, we're probably a ways from having all the old apps run seamlessly on Intel X.
The other insightful comment comes from our old favorite, John Carmack, and the insight comes from how he said what he said rather than what he said by itself.
The bottom line is that the compiler / cpu / system / graphics card combinations available for macs has just never been as fast as the equivalent x86/windows systems.
Finally, to use Carmack Capitalization, A Big Name has Finally Said that Macs Are Slower. This is not something he would have said on stage with Quake 3 Test at the MacExpo. This isn't even something he could say pre-Intel annoucement. Now that there isn't anyone to offend -- and no support and money to lose -- we're all free to admit it: Macs are slower. Now look, AltiVec specific tasks still fly on the Mac, and I hate that we're going to lose that. I would expect iMovie work, iDVD coding, and iTunes CD ripping to slow down a *touch*. Overall, however, the things are just plain old slow. My 1.2 GHz G4 with 1.25 Gigs of RAM still runs Eclipse about as quickly as my 533 Celeron with 384 megs of RAM. It just ain't no good.
There you have it. I think the move's a great one. The platform isn't fast enough. Though the iBook's a great deal, it could be a better one. This will unshackle the Mac and let it shoot for the moon -- and all that crud. And we'll finally hear the end of endian issues. I really don't care if game companies stop porting for PowerPC. I would as quickly as I could. Take the easy, efficient money, and port to Intel. It's a smart move; take advantage of it.
Heck, Apple'll gain money from people like me who have been slowly nuturing hardware for both platforms. Now I can pour the Windows hardware money into my Mac purchase. Yahoo! For me, however, the issue might not be if I put off the purchase (I've got a 533 Celeron now that my 2 GHz P4 died) but that my last split-hardware purchases might postpone my first IMac puchase.
posted by ruffin at 6/14/2005 04:31:00 PM
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