Should Apple switch?

The said fact is that, no matter what’s announced at Macworld today, you can’t buy a Mac (at any price) that’s even half as fast as the fastest PC’s on the market. Dan Gillmor joins the chorus of folks urging Apple to switch to Intel-compatible CPUs before it’s too late, and wisely advocates starting with servers. His main concern is how Apple would bring developers with them.

A much harder job would be to persuade — and assist — independent software developers to come along. Such a move would be extremely complex, and ultimately far more difficult than the one Apple pulled off years ago when it switched from Motorola’s 68000 series processors to the PowerPC.

The problem isn’t going to be developer evangelism. Intel-based Macs will be an easy sell to developers and a relatively straightforward port (NeXTstep ran on Intel, Apple’s Darwin is currently available on Intel, and Apple has always built Mac OS X on Intel internally) for them, and I expect to see sessions like “Making your application CPU-agnostic” and “Creating multi-platform packages” at Apple’s next developers’ conference.

The problem is going to be selling Macs in 2003, as Intel drops CPUs running at less than 2GHz and adds CPUs that break the 4GHz barrier by the end of the year. | Dan Gillmor story