Dvorak: ‘Apple should be stronger, but Mac mystique will wane’ in wake of Intel switch

Apple Computer’s move from PowerPC to Intel processors was a necessity, according to John Dvorak. Dvorak writes or PC Magazine, “This is the future of Apple if it’s going to survive as a computer maker.”

“In the short term, the problem for Apple is not to kill its sales during the transitional market. In other words, what happens to the left-over PowerPC machines? The company got through this once before when it switched from the 68000 to the PowerPC. It did it with add-on cards, specifically the Power Macintosh Upgrade card. So I expect a similar product this time. Still, this process is going to be bumpy, but with iPod and iTunes mania propping up the company, this is the exact right time to do this. The company can weather any storms in the process,” Dvorak writes. “When it comes out the other end Apple should be stronger, although some of the Mac mystique will wane. Personally I think that will be the biggest benefit. And so much for the supposed superiority of the PowerPC.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Mac’s mystique has very little to do with the processor, as the switch from the 68000 to the PowerPC proved. The Mac’s mystique is the Mac operating system, which, if anything, grew stronger after transitioning from the Classic Mac OS to Mac OS X. That’s what these people will never be able to grasp, it seems; it’s not pretty cases or exotic processors, it’s the OS, stupid. But, you have to really use one to understand.

“More than even the processor, more than even the hardware innovations that we bring to the market, the soul of a Mac is its operating system and we’re not standing still.” – Steve Jobs, WWDC 2005 Keynote, June 6, 2005

Related MacDailyNews articles:
AP: Apple ‘more trouble than it was worth’ for IBM; Intel move to have ‘indiscernible impact’ on IBM – June 06, 2005
Apple to use Intel microprocessors beginning in 2006, all Macs to be Intel-based by end of 2007 – June 06, 2005
Forbes: Apple’s move to Intel could ‘drive loyal customers away from Mac platform’ – June 06, 2005
Analyst firm: ‘Apple not a critical customer for IBM’ – June 06, 2005


  1. I agree it’s the OS that’s the main appeal of Mac computers, but I, for one, find Apple’s cases and other gadgets inseparable from the appeal. For example, I would be bored stiff with OSX running on an ugly HP machine. I’m a very visual person, and I want my Porsche to the just the right color even if what’s under the hood makes it all happen.

  2. Those people who are still using Classic apps or feel reluctant to buy new versions of their apps will likely want to buy a PPC based Mac now, so they know they can still continue to use that software for a while. With the universal binaries, future software should continue to work too. Perhaps it’s not even such a bad idea to buy a new Mac now!

  3. Classic is not supported at all with the new systems so if you have that one Classic app you need on occassion and don’t want to upgrade it (Quark), buy a new machine this year.

  4. I am tired of people dissing the PowerPC. It did its job and would likely still be viable if Motorola and IBM had done their jobs properly. At several points in the PowerPC development cycle the PowerPC outclassed available products from AMD and Intel, particularly in power/performance metrics. That’s why Apple’s Powerbooks have been competitive despite using the older G4 processor. The G3 has proven to have staying power and the Xbox 360 and PS3 are both using PowerPC variants. To reiterate, the switch to Intel does not mean that the Apple ‘lied’ about the superiority of the PowerPC architecture. It just means that IBM did not provide the resources to adequately evolve the PowerPC. You might also note that Intel switched over to a PowerPC-like approach favoring power efficiency and dual cores over high clock rates.

    MDN, you have to call people on their technical inaccuracies. Statements like this are just another way of backhanding Apple and Apple users with another derogatory label.

  5. The only issue I have with this whole move is the way that Apple has played on the strengths of RISC over CISC architecture: we were sold the benefits of the IBM PowerPC chips, now we have to accept that Intel chips are the future. I’m struggling big time with this. And hasn’t IBM produced 3GHz+ chips for the 3 big console? Why haven’t they made it to the Mac? Maybe Apple really is too small for IBM to care about.

    In the long run, I’m sure that the switch to Intel will be a good thing for Apple. Steve Jobs does not move anytime an ‘analyst’ says he should: he seems to take ages with the big decisions, and they usually turn out to be the right ones. I believe he’s made a right decision this time too.

    But at the moment, all I can see is that damn Intel Jingle turning up everytime the Mac is mentioned, and I can’t stand that thing!

  6. The Macs sporting Intel chips won’t physically look any different than Macs look now. Why are people thinking that Macs from now on will look like the Wintel boxes? The processor does not drive the exterior box design. Macs will still be Macs. Universal binaries and Rosetta are going to make this transition a lot smoother than the doomsday naysayers are letting on. Apple has been working on this transition for 5 years- it was not an overnight decision. The knee-jerk responses around here are actually starting to be amusing because it points out how little people understand about Apple and the culture of Mac.

  7. To the “It’s the OS crowd”

    That’s fine, but when all is said & done next year, where is their any evidence that the Intel Macs will be substantially faster than the dual G5 2.7’s today?

    Why didn’t Stevie do a side by side on how much FASTER the 32bit Intel P4 3.6 running his demo is compared to, say a dual 64bit G5 2.7?

    The answer is because it’s NOT. All of this hassle, expense, & bloat to run on a new platform that was not shown to be ANY faster. What happens to all the music apps (Apple Logic Pro included) that are heavily tied to Altivec optimizations? They’ll just magically get faster without it? Pfft.

    I watched a keynote today in which there was no evidence presented of any Mac hardware or software speed increases for the next few years.

    Skip the MS-like promises, SHOW me how much faster/better OSX runs on the Intel architecture relative to the G5’s, THEN I’ll believe.

  8. Ricardo remember in Steve’s Keynote where he emphasized power consumption? It’s all about laptops – which is where the computer industry is going.

  9. I don’t put any stock into what this windbag says. He takes every opportunity he can to bash the platform, about which he really knows nothing. He has utter contempt for Mac users, because he doesn’t get it why people love it so much, therefore we must all be cultist idiots. Truth is, he’s been ridiculed so many times by Mac users for his short sightedness and innacuracies that bashing the plafrom and trying to help it’s demise is his revenge.

    And yes, it’s the OS stupid.

    “I watched a keynote today in which there was no evidence presented of any Mac hardware or software speed increases for the next few years.”

    Don’t beleive it. Apple wouldn’t be doing this if there wasnt a good reason froma hardware sandpoint. There is. It’s about laptops. The G5 was never going to make it into a laptop plain and simple. Intel must have shown Steve something that was compelling enough to make this huge gamble.

    For all the naysayers I say wait and see.

  10. i think this is going to make a lot of people realize that the mystique is not in the processor, it is in the operating system and the industrial design of the container. people are going to start asking microsoft why they can’t build operating systems as well as apple, after all, they are running on the same machines. and people are going to start wondering why dell, et al. can’t build better looking and more reliable computers, after all, apple can do it with the same processor, drives, etc.

  11. At least the move to Intel will kill one ‘complaint’ about Apple computers. The damned megahertz myth. We’ll soon all be on Intel chips so they can’t say that its not as fast as an Intel Pentium 4 whatever chip!!

    Christopher Powers

    p.s. I also hope this makes porting games a lot easier…

  12. Well, won’t the megahertz myth be working for apple this time?

    Joe Blow: “Whoa, those macs are on a 3.6 Ghz Pentium 4! That’s like, a lot faster than those 2.7 GHz G5s!”

  13. Don’t forget that what Steve was showing on the keynote is just a developer kit. This is basically the same as the Power Mac G5 developer kits that Microsoft used for the Xbox360. When compared to the Xbox360, the Mac G5 posssses only a fraction of the (graphics processing) power that the final product (Xbox360) will contain. I suspect that the same holds true for Intel. The Pentium 4 is almost at the end of its lifecycle. I don’t think Steve was interested in that when he visited Intel. Much more likely, Intel is developing something that caught Apple’s eye. Remember, they are going to introduce Macs based on intel chips in 2006-2007. If the wanted to use the Pentium 4, they could have released them tomorrow. Also Steve said that the roadmap of Intel would be a better fit to Apple than the roadmaps of other chipmanufacturers. IBM is apparently more interesed in developing a single design for mass market applications (gaming consoles) that does not change in design or clock speed in the chip’s lifespan, whereas Freescale is mostly interested in embedded products. Both of these do not fit Apple. What Intel is building however, is as of yet unknown. I wonder if Intel is going to be as secretive about its products as previous Apple suppliers.

  14. It is the OS… plus, of course, the quality of the hardware that runs it. This is the best thing Apple could have done, we are going to see some great PowerBooks/iBooks next year! Not to mention desktops, etc.

    Hmmm… wonder if if I could get an add-on card for my Pismo based on Intel? Who knows, maybe…

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