Apple’s rumored plan to move away from Intel processors in its Macs did not light up the comments section on LinkedIn like I thought it might.
That’s because the Mac has already lost so much relevance.
Sure, they’re still pretty to look at. But, for what you get, they’re what they’ve always been–overpriced and underpowered.
Moving to inhouse manufactured ARM chips doesn’t change any of that.
Perception of Apple’s hardware lineup of Macs will remain what it is whether or not they stay with Intel.
It’s easy to assume control is largely the reason behind any eventual shift in processor for its iconic desktop computers.
But, I still yawn at the prospect.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’d really love for Apple to make the Mac matter again.
I just don’t think they have it in them to get there.
Plus, who knows what the future will hold for desktop computers in general.
Apple can try to shape what that market looks like beginning in 2020 or whenever they’re supposed to get the new Macs featuring ARM chips into the fold.
But, as technology is moving so fast, I doubt the Mac will be able to make a comeback any more than newspapers will by that time.
Back in the day the Mac was known for revolutionizing the desktop publishing world. Creative types flocked to use them. Newspapers across the country turned their composition departments into Mac-outfitted meccas of computing. Aldus PageMaker, Quark Xpress et al were the software packages that ran first and foremost on the Mac.
These programs were always better on Mac until Windows PCs caught and passed Macs while they floundered on underpowered PowerPC chips by IBM and Motorola.
Sure, we Apple fanboys would tout the Mac’s ease of use and also the leap of faith belief that a 500 MHz PowerPC processor was the equivalent of a 1 GHz Pentium 4 by Intel.
We were living a lie that became harder to live with once Adobe made PC versions of its software that blew by their Mac counterparts stuck in the slow lane.
Send in the clones
Before Steve Jobs came back to Apple, there was a brief experiment with cloning undertaken by the Cupertino giant.
Names like Power Computing, Umax and Motorola Starmax all featured Mac clones during the period Apple was licensing its operating system. That was a period of Mac and Mac clone popularity and resurgence desperately needed at a time Apple was mired in a serious fiscal funk.
I never got my hands on a Mac clone during that time. And once Jobs returned, he effectively killed the clone–leading Apple back to a renaissance of sorts featuring fruit-colored, egg-shaped iMacs that remained driven by underpowered PowerPC chips.
Matters weren’t helped by Apple’s propensity to equip its Macs with the bare essential amount of RAM to run its less-than-nimble OS X.
PowerPC take two or Hackintosh death by clone?
All of the rumored talk of Apple abandoning Intel to begin producing its own chips for insertion into future Macs has me thinking they’re missing the mark again.
People love macOS more than they love the Mac itself. Just Google “hackintosh” if you don’t think so.
People don’t want a Mac. They just want the Mac’s operating system to be able to run legally on PC hardware driven by Intel processors.
Sure, occasionally, and in the course of Apple history, a company or two has decided to make its version of a Hackintosh. They initially experienced a run of success. The promise of cheap, facsimile Macs makes people crazed. And, unfortunately they don’t come to their senses until Apple’s legal department makes them.
I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think Apple using its own chips is going to create large buzz around Macs again.
Desktop computers are becoming more and more irrelevant (except to people like me who won’t ever use a tablet other than when they’re on the road). There will always be a place in the heart for desktop Macs and PCs for types like me.
I suppose it has something to do with what I learned on back in the day.
It also has to do with the familiarity of the operating system itself. Windows has remained Windows over the years. And the macOS, while it’s changed more dramatically than Windows ever has, is still familiar.
That is what I want. But Apple never really cared about what I desired.
I never saved the funds for a new Mac other than in 1995, when I plunked down $2,000 (well, $1,995 at Best Buy) for the crippled CPU that was the Mac Performa 5215CD. This was a really bad computer and anything but a “performer.” But, it helped incite my strange love and fascination for optimizing hardware and software to their greatest capacities.
So, Apple now wants me to give it a couple of years while it performs processor transplant surgery on its Mac line. I hope the Mac is venerable enough to survive this change.
While change is never easy, Apple risks losing sight of the forest for the trees.
I don’t want or need overpriced Macs with underpowered Apple processors.
To the contrary, what I and countless others would love to be able to do is not build a hackintosh, but to be able to buy a PC desktop that runs the macOS legally.
I know macOS is pretty bloated these days. But still. It’s the OS, damn it, and not the processor or box.
Let the OS be the crown jewel it once was. License it. People would pay a little more to buy generic, ugly boxes running macOS. It’d work.
And everyone–including Apple itself, would end up realizing value in the process.