Intel inside Macs help Apple play to its strengths

In response to Troy Wolverton’s piece yesterday for The San Jose Mercury News that tired to say that Apple will have a harder time differentiating itself from other PC makers now that it has Intel chips (we covered it here), Jon Fortt blogs for Business 2.0, “Apple won’t have a harder time differentiating itself from other PC makers now that it has Intel chips. It will have an easier time.”

Fortt writes, “Here’s why: In the past, Apple suffered because its PowerPC chips had a numerical disadvantage against Intel-based machines. Intel’s megahertz and gigahertz numbers just looked better. Even though Apple tried and tried to combat Intel with marketing, it didn’t have much success.”

Fortt writes, “By switching to Intel, Apple has taken the chip issue off the table. When people are comparing a Mac to a Windows PC, the main things they’ll look at now are design and operating system. Design is clearly one of Apple’s strengths, and its current crop of ‘Mac/PC’ commercials seek to cast Mac OS X as a cooler, more creative, more virus-free platform.”

“The switch to Intel is allowing Apple to focus attention on the things it always wanted to be its differentiators: design and software. Those are the things that have allowed the Mac maker to charge a premium for its products, and post margins that are the envy of the PC industry,” Fortt writes.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

Related MacDailyNews article:
Oh, how will Apple ever stay distinctive with Intel inside?– October 27, 2006


  1. yeah, this guy DOES get it. After having worked at an Apple store for years, I can tell you that people got hung up on all the marketed tech specs of Intel PC’s vs the PowerPC ship. I spent a good 25% of my sales time focusing on explaining the differences between the platforms, usually to skeptical blank stares.

    Now, Apple has removed all that and distilled the argument down to which OS is better, people now can start to understand what makes the Mac superior.

    It’s the OS stupid.

  2. This is something PC people never seem to understand.
    Take the iPod for example. Whenever people try to tell me that the iPod is inferior to player X they go off and list a billion features that player x has that the iPod doesn’t to prove their point. Of course in all th eir arguments they totally ignore the fact that player x is a brick, and getting music onto it is a chore– even though that is the primary purpose of the device!

    Elegant hardware matched with elegant software. That is what apple is about.

  3. Unfortunately, though, I find many stiil confuse virus susceptibly with the processor (rather than the OS).

    Which means they may consider NOT switching to Mac, because thay then fall to myth #2:

    “Well, I didn’t want to learn a new OS anyway”.

  4. Just remember that the switch to Intel for Apple was the second time Steve Jobs switched to Intel. The first time was at NeXT, when Jobs switched from Motorola to Intel.

    It will be interesting if Steve Jobs or anyone with inside knowledge ever writes an autobiography stating just when Apple first planned to actually make the switch and why. Regardless of which processor line is/was superior, there is/was little chance to conquer the personal computer market on anything but the X86 architecture.

  5. Anyone who can’t differentiate between a Dell and an Apple deserves Windows.

    And anyone who’s a consumer (which applies to all of us) should be personally insulted by Troy Wolverton’s belittling take. What does he think, that people look at the boxes and say “Duh well they both say Intel.”??

    Consumers aren’t quite as stupid as some journalists would like to think.

  6. LinuxGuy,

    The x86 builds were maintained ever since the Apple/NeXT merger. For one thing, it’s good to make sure that your code remains portable. For the cost of a handful of engineers to maintain it, Apple kept the option of changing processors.

    The decision to make the switch didn’t happen until IBM made Steve look bad by swearing up and down that they’d deliver a 3Ghz G5 within a year of the Mac G5 launch. When that year came and went, the die was cast.


  7. priceless said, “Consumers aren’t quite as stupid as some journalists would like to think.”

    Yes, they are. If they weren’t, the doltish Windows wouldn’t exist and wouldn’t have created a world-wide zillion-dollar after-market anti-virus, anti-spyware anti-malware anti-consumer marketing free-for-all.

  8. JCR is right – I just ran into an old Rhapsody-Blue box CD while looking for another on my stash o’ trash shelf. Apple ran on Intel long before OS X came out and the parallel development wasn’t even all that secret…

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