The Future of OS X

Mac OS X has become OS X. There is speculation about why that is. Perhaps Macs are old-fashioned.

Another possibility, remote though it may be, is that Apple wants to go head-to-head with M$ on x86/amd64 hardware. Look at it this way:

  • Apple is not making much money on MacOS because it’s only licensed to run on Apple hardware.
  • Apple has a new boss not anchored in the mud of the walled garden.
  • Apple could make a ton more money shipping MacOS to OEMs and consumers of x86/amd64 hardware.

Apple clearly has the market/mindshare to do this. They might have driver issues because the world of Wintel is more diverse, but with enough money that can be overcome. How long do you think it would take manufacturers to produce enough drivers for OS X roaming freely on the plains of x86/amd64?

Apple is selling something like 20 million Macs per annum. They could probably sell 100 million copies of OS X per annum and charge $100 per unit with a licence to run on non-Apple hardware. That’s $10 billion, too much to ignore. I would bet Apple could swing its marketing department into high gear and make things happen before Christmas 2012. Would it cut into sales of Macs? Nope. Mac lovers love them and will buy them no matter the price or availability of OS X on other hardware.

The question remains whether or not Apple and M$ have a non-compete agreement over x86/amd64 machines. I doubt that would fly in court these days. Would M$ dare challenge them on it?

I think Apple sees the end days of the Wintel monopoly and wants to clean the bones of the dead dinosaur. They have to open up OS X to do that. While I despise Apple’s treatment of Android/Linux, the enemy of my enemy could be my friend if Apple helps kill the Wintel monopoly sooner rather than later.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to The Future of OS X

  1. oldman says:

    “Kozm is someone who regularly insults the others unprovoked.”

    You are wasting you breath Phenom. Mr. K is on record that he considers it his task to harass and insult us all as much as possible. He does not care whether Pog ejects him or not.

    Then again, I for one have finally decided that I could care less that this twerp exists.

    He will continue to act like a d-ck.

    And I will respond to him if I choose.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    You have to look on the bright side, Mr. Phenom. The Koz’s attention does mean that someone is actually reading your posts and taking the time to respond, however insipid and useless that response may be. Koz does the best he can with his limited abilities and you should respect that.

    I personally count it a victory when I am able to touch a live nerve in such an oaf and obtain a response.

  3. Phenom says:

    @Kozmcrae, the statement “fish breath under water” is a fact; not an opinion. And please, do not extrapolate the sad state of your DNA to others’ words.

    Pogson, I would humbly suggest that you try to keep the tone in your blog respectable. Kozm is someone who regularly insults the others unprovoked.

  4. kozmcrae says:

    @ Phenom, the crow eater said:

    “The fact is that AMD…”

    That is not a fact but is a poorly based opinion.

    “Again, it takes commercial…”

    Again nothing. Starting a sentence with “Again” is presumptuous and arrogant. You made no proof before and you are not making one now. You are just stating an opinion.

    You wrote two paragraphs and said absolutely nothing. Your words are a waste of electrons.

  5. Phenom wrote, “it takes commercial resources to create something decent.”

    It helps but is not necessary. All that is necessary is to provide hardware and specifications. The world can do the rest.

  6. Phenom says:

    Cheating, eh, Pogs? Suddenly the vendor becomes the community, and you happily ignore the fact that their closed source driver is superior to the open source one.

    Nevermind that. The fact is that AMD has to pay developers to write decent Linux drivers, while the rest of the community makes no notable contributions to speed up the process of improving the drivers. Again, it takes commercial resources to create something decent.

  7. Mats Hagglund wrote, “Monopoly even it’s Google Android dominance ain’t good at all. IT world should be independent of any OS.”

    There’s no danger of that. Neither Google nor FLOSS have any mechanism to achieve or require monopoly. It’s the other guys who do the exclusive dealing.

  8. Phenom wrote, “show me a working video driver for Radeon for Linux, written by the community.”.

    Here’s my contribution:
    lspci|grep VGA
    01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon 2100
    pogson@beast:~/p$ lsmod |grep rad
    radeon 648863 2
    ttm 48725 1 radeon
    drm_kms_helper 27227 1 radeon
    drm 167371 4 radeon,ttm,drm_kms_helper
    i2c_algo_bit 12841 1 radeon
    power_supply 13475 1 radeon
    i2c_core 23876 5 radeon,drm_kms_helper,drm,i2c_algo_bit,i2c_piix4

    Of course, AMD/ATI is a member of the community.

    AMD does a lot more than produce drivers for FLOSS.

  9. Phenom says:

    Ohio, ATI publishes openly the development scpecs for their Radeon chips. These documents are freely available.

    Now, show me a working video driver for Radeon for Linux, written by the community.

  10. oiaohm says:

    Mats Hagglund Android is our friend to a more open hardware market.

    The merge of Android Kernel and Linux Mainline kernel will see to that. Less reasons for companies to keep secrets.

    But its a on going battle to get hardware makers to release development specs as matter of normal operations.

  11. Mats Hagglund says:

    I’ve always been pro diversity of OS of smartphone, tablet, notebook, netbook, tv. I think it’s generally best for consumers, society, science, competition, economics. Monopoly even it’s Google Android dominance ain’t good at all. IT world should be independent of any OS.

  12. Lord Eron says:

    @Jon

    Well, those iThingies are hardware products, too

    They are also smaller than Macs. Consider that size is a factor in price.

    An eventual merger of OS X and iOS, under the OS X rubric, seems far more likely to me than Apple tossing OS X out into the Big Box stores.

    Apple prints money. iDevices will always appeal to consumers that purchase them for their design. I don’t think Apple is going the route you stated.

    @Robert Pogson

    Nope. Apple’s fans are rabidly loyal. There are tons of people who like OS X but don’t like the high price of hardware. Apple can easily multiply its customer-base. There are lots of people who hate M$ and know about Apple.

    It’s called supply-and-demand. Less customers == higher cost ;(

    I think Apple is pretty happy with the fact that they make money from Mac anyway, and that most consumers are content with buying a Mac if they could afford one. Ever since Jobs passed away he’s been revered as a genius who shaped the way we think of technology.

    But Apple wants to be unique. That means no shippin’ OS X to OEMs. Oh yeah, and I think Steve’s rules still lay on the current board of directors at Apple.

    YOu Is mAD. I has caKes NOw?
    Why you so mad kitty?
    i sAy beCause You LIkE mad bro.

    – Lord Eron, the master troll

  13. jon says:

    Well, those iThingies are hardware products, too, not software. I think they are moving away from the cute “i” naming scheme. Hence, the names used for the iOS-style apps in Mountain Lion. An eventual merger of OS X and iOS, under the OS X rubric, seems far more likely to me than Apple tossing OS X out into the Big Box stores.

  14. Jon wrote, “Apple is a hardware company, not a software company.”

    That may have been true but margins are pretty small for hardware and Apple likes to make money. IBM and HP used to be hardware companies, too. They change. The Mac brand had revenue of $6billion while iThingiestm were $35billion in a recent quarter. They may well see value in pumping up the OS X brand.

  15. Ray wrote, “Shipping OS X to other OEM will most likely cannibalize the hardware sales.”

    Nope. Apple’s fans are rabidly loyal. There are tons of people who like OS X but don’t like the high price of hardware. Apple can easily multiply its customer-base. There are lots of people who hate M$ and know about Apple. Also, Mac sales are pretty small compared to iThingiestm.

  16. Jon says:

    Ray is right. Apple is a hardware company, not a software company. (Lots of people have that backwards.) The software exists to give us reasons to buy the hardware. Apple has no more reason to sell OS X for use on other platforms than it has to sell any of its other software on other platforms.

    Apple wants to control how its customers experience its products. It can’t do that if it loses control of the hardware that software is running on.

    OS X can, in fact, run rather nicely on carefully chosen Intel hardware. There’s no reason why some savvy box manufacturer wouldn’t be able to release an “OS X ready” Intel box at a very attractive price.

    I think the word “Mac” was dropped because Apple is targeting running OS X on new devices that blur the distinction between a Mac and an iOS device. The already blurry edge between a MacBook Air and an iPad is indicative of where they are going.

    When asked today if Apple would move Mac’s and OS X to ARM chips that they manufacture, Tim Cook was evasive and noncommital. So, part of the plan may be to walk away from Intel.

  17. Ray says:

    IMO, I believe that iOS and OS X are trying to merge with each other to create a single OS for all of Apple’s devices. No, I don’t think that Apple will become a software company and ship OS X to other OEM since most of their profits comes from app sales commission, and the hardware. Shipping OS X to other OEM will most likely cannibalize the hardware sales.

  18. Clarence Moon says:

    It’s not going to happen, Mr. Pogson. Not soon, not never. Apple’s brand depends on having substantial product differentiation from the common herd. For their products, they could not afford to make the OS a commodity.

    When you get down to bits and bytes and functions, there really isn’t anything different about a Windows computer from an Apple computer from a Linux computer. They all work and they all work about the same way. There are quirks that are different and that is what distinguishes them and allows people to get on bandwagons and cheer for their favorite. But they are all pretty much the same.

    You can use the home-made Linux with junk hardware and send the same comments to the same forums as I do with my refurb Dell laptop or that someone else may do with their Macbook Air or Ultrabook using commercial OS products. But we all look different to ourselves and others based on how stylishly we go along our way.

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