After a little further pondering I can only applaud Steve Job's brilliance. By making this announcement and supporting Mac OS X on Intel and PowerPC Steve keeps his options open on what chips to use in the future. If IBM have a 'breakthrough' he can ride that wave. If Intel keep winning the MIPS race then we wins again.
Instinctively I said, "Wow, Virtual PC will sure run fast." On further thought why run Windows? Mac OS X is a great OS, who needs to run mutiple OS on a single machine? What is needed, for some, is the ability to run Windows apps on top of Mac OS X.
If Apple emulate the Windows API on Mac OS X then WinTel apps will just run. Ok they won't be provide the complete Mac experience but the basics will be provided for - file access, network access and printing. There is no real reason why Apple couldn't pull this off.
If you like it's converting/cloning Wine for Mac OS X. What's Wine? See below.
From Wine HQ:
Wine is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix.
Think of Wine as a compatibility layer for running Windows programs. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100% non-Microsoft code, however Wine can optionally use native Windows DLLs if they are available.
Now of course you're not going to run Windows apps on Mac OS X while there are good Mac OS X alternatives. Why run MS Office for Windows while there is a Mac OS X native version? Apple will need to manage this well so as to not discourage developers from developing for the Mac natively.
Graphics heavy apps are most likely to be native so as to exploit the edge that Apple has on graphics. Games? A challenge - they might run but the best place to run games is on a console such as PS/2 or XBox.
The full experience will only come from native apps - great graphics, slick integration et al. It would address some of the weaknesses of some current cross platform native apps. Open Office uses some non-platform specific code to put up 'Save' dialog boxes. It's horrible. Under AppTel with Windows API emulation the Windows version of Open Office with Mac dialog boxes inserted by the speculative 'MacWine' code would be a better experience. Native provides the best experience.
This sounds like an exciting alternative to the present day WinTel lockdown. Cool.
The Darwine project sounds just like what I am talking about. It will be a lot easier when Apple are on Intel. If Connectix could years ago emulate a whole Intel PC in code it should be 'relatively' easy to emulate software (Windows API) with software (Apple have emulated Mac OS 9 under Mac OS X for example).
Now this approach will be no surprise to Microsoft so they'll be flat out pushing developers to Longhorn and .Net et al. Of course the more Apple wins in some ways it is better for Microsoft. They'll still be selling WinTel apps - some of them will just be running on AppTel.
What a whacky world we live in.
- Intel pushes LinTel (they are getting behind Linux in Asia in a big way - Sep 2004 onwards)
- IBM gets out of PC Business (sells to Lenovo - Dec 204)
- Microsoft adopts IBM PowerPC chips (May 2005 - XBox 30)
- Apple switches to Intel (June 2005)