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Apple & Intel

I’m a big fan of Robert X. Cringely, he does paint a pretty picture. But in between the wild speculation is a vein of truth.

I’m not agreeing with him that Intel are going to buy Apple because that’s a bit strange for now.

What I will say is, a close partnership between the two is definitely on the cards.

The reason Apple didn’t go with AMD is simple: while they’re faster and leaner than Intel, they’re vastly smaller, and as a result are in danger of being blown away by the slightest of business ill winds.

So imagine Apple going with AMD. Over the next several years, AMD gets themselves into trouble and Apple have to move again. Do you think Intel would want anything to do with Apple at that point?

Let’s not forget that Apple hold a lot of technology from the AIM partnership. The kind of technology that Intel would be keen to get their hands on.

I see Apple getting into a technology exchange partnership with Intel, where Intel ‘add-value’ to their processors that Apple get to make exclusive use of while Microsoft get the common-or-garden variety.

I just don’t know where people are coming from when they say that Apple aren’t going after greater market share, their opinions often based largely on what Steve Jobs says.

What Steve Jobs says often bares little resemblance to what he thinks or even does. Have we all suddenly developed selective amnesia and forgotten the international roll-out of all of the various Apple Stores?

If you’re not after market share, then what the hell are you doing opening up a store in Regent Street, London, England with cost per-square-foot at such a premium?

Selling more iPods?

Get real!

It’s both interesting, amusing and a little disheartening to read commentary by so-called ‘industry analysts’ who predict Apple is headed for rough waters once the iPod sales curve begins to level out.

Where do they get these ideas from?

I’m reminded of when I was a kid and I once worried about what would happen when I grew out of my clothes. I had a vision of me going to school in my underpants.

Do they honestly believe that one of the most innovative companies on Earth would just cease to innovate?

So while we’re on the subject, the iPod is just one of a slew of devices Apple is going to rolling out over the next two years.

But why haven’t we seen any of these devices before now?

Simple! Two reasons, one being conditional: 1) the iPod is a debutant, and Apple is keen to see where things are going, so let’s not rock the boat just yet, rough waters or not 2) the timing has to be perfect for Apple to roll a new device out. Get the timing wrong and the consumer will reject said device out of hand.

With all of those shiny new stores out there, Apple has the retail channel to get all of those new items into the hands of all of those customers who are now very, very much aware of the Apple brand.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Apple are after market share, and this market share will not come at the expense of other Unix / Linux percentiles. These sales will come from disaffected Microsoft customers who are sick & tired of the same problems for the same high price year in, year out.

I’d say Apple is in the process of taking a deep breath, they’ve got a race to run .. and possibly win…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

8 replies on “Apple & Intel”

Nice article.

Personally I’m happy and sad at Apple’s move to Intel. Happy because “a change is as good as a rest” and sad because I was going to buy an iBook in a few months. That said, I’ll still probably buy it anyway.

“If you’re not after market share, then what the hell are you doing opening up a store in Oxford Street, London, England with cost per-square-foot at such a premium?”

I guess you’ve heard we’re getting two new stores in Manchester and Sheffield?

I’ve just been reading an article by Andreas Pfeiffer called: ‘Apple: Looming Problems, Wild Ideas and Conspiracy Theories’ and much of it is just out-dated thinking, much like the other industry observers.

So in his view, the creative market is just going up stakes and move to Microsoft Windows.

And do what, exactly?

So he would have us believe that these people would move from an extremely smooth transitional period that’ll be very gradual and predictable, to Microsoft Windows, when Microsoft are having to fight tooth & nail to get Windows Longhorn anywhere near a 2006 debut.

Plus, all of these people would have to buy new hardware, new software and then increase their support costs for a factor of three.

Where’s the logic in any of that?

The store in Manchester has been on the cards for ages, but as for one in Sheffield? Well, that’s news .. and good news at that since Sheffield is about twenty minutes from where I live.

And as for Paul Thurott .. the man is full of something and it’s not industry insight…

“The Cell processor is almost completely useless as a general purpose computing chip, and would have required Apple and all app makers to completely rewrite everything, which would have been a non-starter.”

This is my favourite bit! What a load of FUD. If they’re porting OSX to Intel chips why couldn’t they do it to Cell?

“In general-purpose computing, Intel-based systems were almost always faster than Power PC systems.”

I’m no expert, but this sounds like bullshit to me.

It’s hard to say where the truth lies in all of this.

There isn’t a terrific amount of information available about the Cell, but what there is does point to this processor having a fair number of the basics of a processor missing.

For example, RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Command [I think] and the Cell is an evolutionary step further down that philosophy.

So some parts of the processor are removed to help quicken other stuff and the bits that are missing are build on the fly with software embedded on the processor.

From an architectural stands point, the PowerPC platform is much simpler and elegant than that of Intel, but Intel have an enormous legacy of hardware to support, while the PowerPC had none…

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