Could Apple’s decision to move to Intel processors be motivated by something more than IBM’s inability to meet the company’s processor demands? Now that Apple has chosen to go x86, is the rumored Red Box project back on?

“Though the marketing terms later changed, back when Apple took over NeXT… (or the other way around depending on your perspective), the company utilized colored box naming conventions to describe the OS’s various means of compatibility,” Kelly McNeill writes for osOpinion/osViews. “‘Blue Box’ (for example) was the name given for what would become the pre OS X (OS 9 and before) compatibility layer and ‘Yellow Box’ was the name given to describe the native operating environment. At the time, there were rumors suggesting that Apple was also creating another compatibility layer for Apple’s next generation OS.”

“This secretive compatibility layer (often referred to as Red Box) was said to give OS X, (then referred to as Rhapsody), full compatibility with Windows, whether it be the Intel version of Rhapsody or the one specific to PowerPC. (Some of you may remember that Apple originally planned on releasing a version of their operating system for both PowerPC as well as x86.) It wasn’t until later that Apple chose to abandon the x86 strategy and keep their next generation OS exclusive to PowerPC. Part of the reason for that is said to be because making Mac apps run on x86 was a major, (yet very doable) challenge. (This is now being shown with Apple’s Rosetta software.) Emulating Windows for PPC on the other hand, would cause too much of a performance hit. In the end, Apple opted to retain its PPC strategy to avoid complications,” McNeill writes.

“Now that Apple’s OS plans are more mature, with the announcement that Apple plans to adopt Intel processors, one can’t help but consider the likelihood that part of the decision may be motivated by the company’s former (rumored) Red Box strategy,” McNeill writes.

Full article here.

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