I had an interesting thought late yesterday while testing a PowerLogix G3 upgrade that I had lying around.
What if the move to Intel processors was partially motivated by the dislike for the Apple Processor upgrade market?
I have heard heard random whispers from those in the know at Apple - that one barrier to the Mac's success (as perceived by Apple) is the processor upgrade market.
The main players are (or have been):
Sonnet (recently diversified into other products than just CPU upgrades)
Newer Technology (now part of Other World Computing)
Daystar (which has been through multiple reorganizations)
Quotes from Low End Mac:
"Apple had deliberately chosen to thwart third-party (effectively any) processor upgrades by mounting the boot ROMs on the processor daughtercards.
Apple has consistently refused to license Apple ROMs to third parties -- and without a supply of ROMs, upgrades were impossible."
I know for a fact that one reason Steve Jobs loves the All In One design (such as the original Macs, eMac, and iMac) - it can't be easily upgraded or upgraded; at all.
I have also been made aware that there was possibly about to be a breakthrough with the G5 by at least one upgrade manufacturer that would have allowed most G4 towers to have G5 upgrades.
So, was this a motivating factor in Apple's decision to switch from the PowerPC to Intel processors? Is Apple possibly planning on selling upgrades in the near future? Is this a way to eliminate your competition before you come to market?
Apple is often very evil in it's subtlety.
So, you see, Motorola and IBM sold processors to third party manufacturers for the processor upgrade market. Intel's newest processors have a Digital Rights Management feature on them. This DRM would effectively limit the sale of processors to whomever Apple wished them to be sold to.
Third party processor upgrade manufacturers would often get processors on the black market - buying them from Cisco surplus - buying in bulk on eBay - etc etc. Now, Apple can tie processors directly to it's own machines - and completely eliminate the majority of the black market.
[UPDATE] The comments section has a number of insightful posts - some that disagree with my theory here. Take into account that I don't think this is a main reason, or even a top ten reason for the switch. It is, however a possible motivating factor and, at the very least, a consideration.
Many who said that Apple didn't choose INTEL because of the DRM issue - may have been wrong afterall ... this further propogates my theory on control of the processor by Apple and as a means of possibly selling Apple branded Upgrade processors:
Apple: Mac OS X Intel Kernel Uses DRM
Monday August 01, @01:07AM
from the folks-are-surprised-about-this-why-exactly? dept.
An anonymous reader submits "Several people have discovered that the new Intel kernel Apple has included with the Developer Kit DVD uses TCPA/TPM DRM. More specifically, it includes "a TCPA/Palladium implementation that uses a Infineon 1.1 chip which will prevent certain parts of the OS from working unless authorized."