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Intel iBook Rumor


November 16, 2005 10:28 PM PST

powerbook.jpgThere have been two rumors lately that Apple will announce the Intel Mac this January at MacWorld. Forbes thinks it will be a Mac Mini. ThinkSecret thinks it will be an iBook.

Interesting that they both feel it will be a consumer based mac. This is probably a good bet. Also, January seems feasible. Apple often announces things that are not available for a couple months, and we know that OS X on Intel is at least far enough along to demo. ThinkSecret quotes someone as saying Apple will reduce the iBook prices to around $699 to "be competitive at the entry level." Ridiculous. iPod competes with much cheaper players and still does fine. I'd expect the new laptop to be around $999. In fact, I've commented before that Apple's current laptop prices are much more on par with the market than their desktop prices, which makes mac/windows laptops a great market for them to enter into.

ThinkSecret also mentions the possibility of dual-core mobile Yonah processors. Initially I thought that dual core would be nice, but suck too much power. But why couldn't you turn one core off? How cool would that be to run one core when mobile, and kick the other core on when plugged in. Regardless of what Apple does, I'm looking forward to seeing if this is the direction of laptops in general.

Running an OS per core is also be pretty interesting. You could feasibly run windows/mac in a window a'la VirtualPC, at almost full speed. Would be great for mobile development. I wonder how the virtualization goes about arbitrating the shared peripherals like ethernet.

All I can say is these apple laptops better OFFICIALLY run Windows as well, or they won't grow the market much. Microsoft is beatable now purely on tech (as we've seen with Google) If Windows people can buy a cool computer to match their iPod - they'll definitely boot into Mac to see what it's like. And since Apple bundles a lot more software than MS is allowed to now - they just might end up staying in OS X.

Comments (6)

Paul, November 17, 2005 12:19 AM:

I don't think that the laptops will need to dual boot in order to grow market share. It's convenient for nerds who want to use both, but most people just want their intarweb and iTunes and chat clients... Mac's got all that covered.

I want to get a desktop Intel Mac, mostly for doing music processing. I'm moving gaming completely to the console, especially after that 100 MB Black & White 2 patch that came out the same week as release. If I need to do something with Windows, I'll use VirtualPC or get a TabletPC from work.

John, November 17, 2005 11:48 AM:

Both AMD and Intel are working on putting virtualization support in hardware. This will help you run multiple OS's at the same time even if you have a single core.

Run multiple OS's

I'm also not sure that laptops need to be dual core anytime soon, but I like your idea of powering down one core to save battery.

I disagree with Paul on the need to be able to dual boot the laptop however. I think it WILL grow market share. Apple makes some sweet hardware. But I'm a Windows guy (and if you follow the market so are a LOT of other people). The only way I'd even consider buying Apple hardware is if it runs Windows. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone.

Also I'm wary of any comment that starts out "All most people want is....". History has proven that this kind of boxed thinking is usually generated by the marketing departments of desperate companies to cover up product deficiencies. I could give a list of examples, but my fingers would get tired of typing.

Paul, November 17, 2005 02:23 PM:

People, including me, want simplicity. For an example in the mobile space, it's why people are buying hardware applications that "just work" like cell phones, digital cameras and ipods, and not software platforms like PocketPC that doesn't do anything especially well.

Now, if Apple were to ship some really simple technology that allows people to run their favourite Windows applications while running Mac OS X, that's one thing (this is how OS 9 apps run). But telling people that they can dual boot doesn't add simplicity. Setting up dual boot is a pain, and Windows doesn't play nice with the MBR. Do you need to add a new disk and how to format it, or create a new partition? If you want to run a Windows app, you'll have to shutdown, lose all your state and restart, etc.

Anyway, I don't think that any of us on this blog can reasonably use ourselves as a realistic proxy for the market in general. Dual booting will be cool for us, but average Joe, IMHO, will find it too much effort. "Why buy a Mac so I can boot into Windows?"

Apple will need some way to run Windows apps at near full speed at the same time as Mac OS X is running (and I guess this is where the virtualization technology comes in). It's about holding people's hands. They like their iPods and iTunes which they can have on a Mac. And now their favourite apps will run too, just a little slower.

J, December 10, 2005 05:24 PM:

Amazon is heavily discounting the current iBooks, with the 12" book at just $800. This is a sure indication that they are clearing out the channel for new models early next year.

As for the dual OS concept - I agree that running across 2 cores or whatever is pretty technical for the everyday user. But if even if it's difficult, I think it's important for people to know that they COULD run Windows on it if they wanted to. It makes the risk to buy an Apple that much less. Even if it comes with OS X installed, etc. If they know they can "always fall back to Windows" running on a nice laptop, it won't feel like there's this huge platform choice that you have to make and be locked into.

John, December 11, 2005 05:30 PM:

I think you hit their strategy on the head. Remove the risk. They get to buy some cool hardware and 'try' and alternate OS. It's very smart really.

J, December 11, 2005 11:24 PM:

Right - and are people really going to have that much fun re-installing Windows on their laptop? I can just see it now - Apple store offering free "OS X restorations" for your laptop. If they start with Mac and still have the option to go to Windows, I doubt many will bother switching back. For most people, it's simply lack of familiarity with the Mac the prevent switching it. And cost. If people can switch with only a minor cost premium and the assurance that their hardware investment wasn't at risk, it would be powerful bait.

For people familiar with both platforms, the biggest reason not to switch is probably the "apps that only run on Windows". But I think switching to the Mac would provide enough new, interesting applications that for a time at least, it would feel like there's actually more to explore on the Mac. In that period of time, hopefully the Mac base would have grown fast enough to produce any apps that are missing on the platform. (I think of primarily Google Earth, Picasa and various games).

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