Friday, June 10, 2005

Ric Ford (Macintouch) on MacTel

Macs on Intel (Special Report)

I agree with Ric, except for the wild card of Intel's universal platform. It reminds me of OS/2. OS/2's Win32 emulation was so good that no-one could make money selling OS/2 applications. Then Microsoft broke the Win32 emulation. For Microsoft, it was like mugging a baby.

Why won't that happen again? Forget Adam Osborne. Remember OS/2.
In the days immediately following Apple's big announcement this week, we've seen typical waves of speculation and reaction throughout the Mac community, representing the full range of viewpoints. It's an interesting and necessary part of the process, but there is much about this change that's simply out of our hands and outside our purview, including Steve Jobs's specific plans for future Apple products and strategy. We can guess about them, and we can offer our suggestions and requests, but we can't discuss any specifics that we don't have because they're still secret.

... * Don't hesitate to invest in good Mac computers today, but things may get a little tricky as Apple gets closer to abandoning the PowerPC platform in 2006. We might see some big discounts, but Apple might also run out of stock, as it typically does before new product introductions, before it lets prices drop.

Decide whether you want to invest in long-term or short-term PowerPC Macs, considering that the first Intel Macs are likely to have teething problems and that the first Intel Power Macs aren't even due for another two years.

We love the Mac Mini for its low cost and good performance, and the iBook G4 offers the same thing on the laptop side. With Intel versions of Minis and laptops due first, these low-cost options are an ideal bridge between aging Macs and the future.

The Power Mac G5 is our recommendation for long-term power running your existing applications. It's reasonably priced (well under $1500) at the low-end, and even that model has plenty of power, plus the major advantages of dual-disk RAID capability and upgradable graphics. Obviously, the high-end models give you more power, and that's what we'd choose if we were compressing media all day long.

The iMac G5 - second revision - is probably the best bet in the middle. It does everything pretty well; the price is attractive; and it's wonderfully serviceable....

... What about the reverse, running Windows applications on Intel Macs? That seems far more likely, but not yet in a clear, well-defined way (considering that Intel Macs aren't even designed yet). This possibility represents an enormous disincentive to the creation of Macintosh applications, to the point where we have to question the whole strategy Jobs pitched to us this week. With Mac OS X running on Intel hardware hosting Windows applications, what's left of the Macintosh? Tiger's Finder and Spotlight? This makes no sense. A Mac-only digital video distribution system? An all-encompassing Apple application suite? We just don't get it.

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