View Full Version : Stand Alone OS X?
06-16-2005, 02:07 PM
Why doesn't Apple launch OS X as a stand alone OS? Then people could still get thier cheap Dells and Gateways, and still run OS X on it. It would really let apple compete with microsoft and get more converts from the PC world. If there is already a conversation about it, please refer me to it. Otherwise, please enlighten me.
06-16-2005, 02:16 PM
Under Apple's current business model, they must protect their hardware sales. Right now, if you want the stable virus-free experience of OS X, you must buy a Mac. If OS X is sold alone, sales of Mac hardware will likely drop sharply. They probably believe that right now, their gross margins will be larger if they sell OS X with Macs than OS X alone. Today, they would have to sell many more copies of standalone OS X to make up for the loss of the same profit selling a single Mac.
OS sales is not that lucrative a business. I may be wrong but I believe Microsoft's applications division makes more money than the OS division.
06-16-2005, 02:20 PM
I think they may be leading to that, possibly in 6 or 8 years. Once they have successfully switched to X86 based architecture and OSX has gained 15-25% market share, their is probiably little else stopping them.
06-16-2005, 02:49 PM
As noted, Apple is a hardware company first and foremost. This is where the bulk of their quarterly revenue comes from.
It is doubtful that they could survive the move to being a software company currently. Maybe, as noted also, once they gain some market share they could make the jump, but for the moment, I believe they are quite content to have their hardware sales drive their OS/software market simultaneously as their OS/software sales drive their hardware market. It makes for some nice profit.
06-16-2005, 03:17 PM
I'll amend my earlier post because the subsequent posts are right. Apple can't be a software company now, but it could make a transition there in the future. Heck, just today Michael Dell said he would be happy to sell Mac OS (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fastforward/0,15704,1072719,00.html) if Apple was up for it. But for now, hardware sales are 60% (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,1025093-3,00.html) of Apple annual sales - they can't give that up right away.
06-16-2005, 07:24 PM
This makes an interesting math question. Company A has a product that they sell to 5 people. They make 10 dollars per person per year on this product. They want to replace this product with one they believe will be more popular, but will only make two dollars per person/year. How many new customers do they need to be successful? Extra credit: it will cost the company 12 dollars to switch to the new product and they must make this money back in two years.
Somebody at Apple will be running the numbers, I'll bet. But I agree with other posters that Apple is not ready to do this now. Imagine Steve Jobs getting up at WWDC and saying, "I have great news, we are going to stop making computers and we want you to change the way you write software for our OS." I think the room would have emptied out before he finished his speech!
Once the developers are comfortable in the Intel environment and they no longer have to care about PPC Macs then this next transition (or is that NeXT transition) to stand alone OS X may happen. I am sure it will be seriously considered once the PPC Macs are long gone. If the numbers look good, it could happen.
06-16-2005, 07:35 PM
Also remember that there's an enourmous difference between a Mac running an Intel processor and a "normal" Intel box, which is still basically an IBM PC.
For the former, the programs need to be recompiled and the byte-ordering dealt with - a relatively straightforward process. For the latter, they will need a major rewrite.
06-16-2005, 07:56 PM
There is also the testing and support budget, in other words how much more will Apple have to spend to make sure OS X works on a reasonable number of non-Apple hardware out there. To maintain the software's reputation, they could limit support authorized specific non-Apple configurations that have been tested and are supported. Almost like...clones.
06-17-2005, 01:20 PM
So it may not be standalone...it'll soon be completely Intel compatible and Apple has released information on how to make drivers for their OS ;)...so what's to stop some people from starting a project to make a modified version of OS X that has PC drivers instead of drivers just for mac hardware? ;) It could be done in a legal fashon too since all that would be done is modifying the drivers (completely legal I believe), the team could create a mac or pc app where it would burn a MacOS X cd (so that the person would have to legally buy a copy of OS X first) to a temp dump on a HD, then the app would go into the dump and modify the dump so that it included PC drivers (generic perhaps? that way it'd be less work and there could be focus on specific devices later on), then it would be turned into a ISO which could be burned onto a cd and walla, the person could boot off the cd and install OS X onto their comp without breaking any laws ;)
06-17-2005, 03:24 PM
Also remember that there's an enourmous difference between a Mac running an Intel processor and a "normal" Intel box, which is still basically an IBM PC. I have seen very early versions of OS X running on an ordinary IBM PC. The NeXT OS that preceded OS X ran on ordinary IBM PCs. So in the past there was no difference. I don't know what the secret OS X on Intel group was using for hardware. I find it hard to believe that Apple designed a lot of custom hardware for that group. I think everybody will be very curious just how different Intel Macs are from standart Intel boxes.
so what's to stop some people from starting a project to make a modified version of OS X that has PC drivers instead of drivers just for mac hardware? On all current Macs and on all previous Macs there is a hardware "key" on the motherboard called the Mac ROM. This is one reason why you can't go out an buy an IBM Power PC box today and run OS X on it. If Apple puts the equivalent of the Mac ROM on their Intel Macs then it may be difficult to simulate it on a standard PC.
06-17-2005, 03:30 PM
On all current Macs and on all previous Macs there is a hardware "key" on the motherboard called the Mac ROM. This is one reason why you can't go out an buy an IBM Power PC box today and run OS X on it. If Apple puts the equivalent of the Mac ROM on their Intel Macs then it may be difficult to simulate it on a standard PC.
there have been PC emulators that have been able to run MacOS X on PC without issue (e.g. PearPC), so it must not be that hard to at least emulate the ROM...so in essence the hack could add to the cd bootloader a ROM emulator for the PC...and a additonal download could be a special OS X bootloader for the PC which would take the job of the ROM and start OS X once installed on the PC (that special bootloader would be used to make the installer cd bootable on the PC and startup the installation process...it could be based in C/C++ since PCs seem to support that language upon initial startup and ROM emulation has almost always been done in C/C++ I believe)
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