Windows on Macs: The Average-Joe magnet


Crotchety UI Nitpicker
From what we've heard so far, it seems like Windows will probably be usable on Apple's Intel-based Macs. However, Phil Schiller said they will not support it. I think they should. Before you start throwing things at me, hear me out:

Say you're an average PC user in the market for a new PC. You see two choices: An Apple and a Dell. They have the same marketable numbers (i.e., clock speed), BUT, if you buy the Apple, you can run Windows AND Mac OS X. If you buy the Dell, you can only run Windows. Which one are you going to buy? Probably the Apple.

This clear advantage — that Apples can do everything other PCs can, and more — will go a long way toward justifying the slightly higher prices of Apples. [Apple's switch to Intel does NOT mean they'll be competing with the likes of Dell on price; Dell's machines are so cheap because A) they suck, and B) they have smaller profit margins. Apple's not going to ship a Mac with no graphics card like Dell does, and they'll most likely keep their margins right where they are.]

So, once you see that the Apple is pretty much undeniably better (again, it can do everything any other PC can and more!), what's going to happen? You buy it, you boot it, you start using OS X, and you quickly realize you won't need Windows — ever.

I think this could do big things for Apple's market share, especially in the months leading up to Longhorn's release, when many PC users will be encouraged to buy new hardware and they'll need to buy Longhorn separately anyway.

I think Apple should jump at this chance. Support Windows. Advertise it. Make it clear that a Mac can do it all, and is more functional than any other brand. I think Apple should launch a two-pronged advertising campaign: one selling hardware, and stressing the Windows compatibility; and one trumpeting the superiority of OS X and Apple's software. Reel 'em in any way you can. Whether someone buys it for the hardware or the software, they're probably going to end up a Mac user.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em — and then beat 'em.
You don't understand. OS X is a Unix system. A damn good one. Windows is only an ongoing try, I think even the final versions that come out are only Beta versions. Windows is not Unix based, and that brings a lot of problems.

Windows is far more open to Virus attacks. Should Apple advertise for a system that can be attacked by viruses while their own, Mac OS X, is virus-free (in the moment) ? I don't see much sense in that.
OOoooooo you bring up an interesting point that I hadn't though about...

How do you know that apple isn't going to start shipping out lower end computers (iBooks, minis) with intel integrated graphics? I hope we don't see that but as far as market share goes, intel has the largest because a majority of the computers that consumers buy are not gaming machines and just have the onboard video.
I think they will do something similar to the graphic card what they've done in the iMac G5 and current PowerBooks. We'll see...
Anyone buying an iBook shouldn't expect Radeon or NVidia FX graphics.

and. Apple would be better off offering a "blue box" or "red box" (whatever they used to have back in OpenStep) base it on Wine, or a simmilar product. don't BOOT windows, create an environment that will run windows apps. this of course, like booting to windows, will give companies like adobe a reason to stop Mac versions of it's apps.
I think they start to sell low end first since PowerMac speed bump last month or so. It tend start from bottom to top.. So, I am sure apple foucs on mini mac, ibook and powerbook at MacWorld expo 2006 and will tell us about new PowerMac along timeline..
What might happen is that we'll see Windows installed (and also supported) from within Mac OS X. But instead of using software emulation for hardware such as video and other devices, images for the HDs, etc., we'll see that actual Mac hardware being used which means that you might expect close to the same performance on a Windows environment running along Mac OS X. The complaint with Virtual PC under Mac OS X was that it was dog slow. If this environment is running in similar fashion as Virtual PC but instead using the actual Mac hardware (since it will be x86) for driving the OS, it could mean the ability to actually use software that requires more performance (translation: games and multimedia).

I'm reading more and more comments here about having Windows running natively on a Mac without fully weighing the implications, not just the short term ones but the medium to long term too.

WANTING to have a Mac which can have Windows installed onto it, is WANTING a PC - not a Mac. You (whoever) are saying that you want Apple to build a *PC called a Mac*. It will no longer be a Mac at all, just another PC with perhaps a chip to TEMPORARILY prevent non-Apple PC users running OSX. (Which BTW, in time will be cracked AND in time will lead to Apple not even bothering to try and prevent it's use on non-Apple PCs. End of game for Apple. Sorry, but OSX competing DIRECTLY with Microsoft IS SUICIDE, you live in Cuckooland if you don't see it.)

We don't WANT a PC called a Mac, can you not see why that is a step down the wrong path? Apple will make attractive boxes.. for a while. But really, beneath the hype, the BRAND, even under the BLIND fanaticism of the Mac elitists who'd follow Jobs off the Intel cliff, Apple would be JUST ANOTHER BLAND PC MAKER, like Dell or HP. The only difference is IT would have it's own OS, which it will desparately TRY to keep control over. I keep hearing these fantasy scenarios about Apple competing with Microsoft over X, Y or Z. Pointless, competition is NOT always a good thing, Apple has something no other computer maker has, a protected, controlled platform and a dedicated niche market.

IF Apple are to survive this change, they will build new computers designed around the Intel CPUs, not create PC boards. This will help them retain the all-important control they need.

But running Windows IS possible and CAN be implemented by Apple in a controlled manner by providing a virtual machine in a similar manner to VMware. Then XP, or indeed Longhorn will run at close-to-native speed and provide a credible alternative to PCs while still retaining the control Jobs will want to keep, in fact it could work a bit like Classic mode. This would NOT be a solution for gaming however, buy a console for that.
fjdouse said:

But running Windows IS possible and CAN be implemented by Apple in a controlled manner by providing a virtual machine in a similar manner to VMware. Then XP, or indeed Longhorn will run at close-to-native speed and provide a credible alternative to PCs while still retaining the control Jobs will want to keep, in fact it could work a bit like Classic mode. This would NOT be a solution for gaming however, buy a console for that.
Apple has already said that you will be able to run Windows on your Mac. Schiller was understood to mean that you will be able to install a shrinkwrap copy of Windows on your Mac just as you install it on any other Intel-based computer with no need for a compatibility environment. You will have several options to run Windows on your Mac. They include Windows (native), WINE, Bochs, QEMU, Virtual PC, etc. It will not be a question of if you should do it or not. It will be a question of which is your best option if you want to do it. The dangers are unquestioned. Apple has decided to make its bed this way. I believe that it has already decided how it want to lie in it.
When was the last time you saw an Apple Mac desktop commercial on television? Not the iPod - I see those all of the time, but the actual Mac desktop?

Apple better get marketing. Now. Otherwise, they're going to lose too many people to confusion. They need a Mac Mini replacement that uses the Pentium M processor. They need a smaller, slightly cheaper desktop - think Dell competition/prices here - and they need to really raise consumer awareness.

If they do that, they'll draw in the users. Otherwise, this transition will see a lull in sales. And they've all but killed their future sales of existing PowerPC products... price slash them. Educate the people. Expand their Best Buy, CompUSA, and Circuit City presence.

And get the ball rolling on the upcoming transition for the average Joe Blow consumer. The processor doesn't make that much of a difference, but you'd better explain it to 'em any way.
MisterMe said:
Schiller was understood to mean that you will be able to install a shrinkwrap copy of Windows on your Mac just as you install it on any other Intel-based computer

Then for me, this is my last Mac. I will not buy an Apple PC. Sorry. If I wanted some PC, I'd build it myself.

Think twice before embracing this move, if you are right, the Mac is finished. I won't pay over the odds for a PC, I won't get excited about one either. I'm not alone in thinking this either.

I just hope Apple are a bit more intelligent than this, there is a year to go, I'll stay with it until we see the first machines or until we KNOW for FACT that Apple are just degrading themselves into a mere PC maker.
Why would an intel based Mac be "just a PC"? :confused: Already now you can run linux on a Mac and run Windows in VirtualPC. When they change processors, not much is going to change, except that linux and windows will run faster. Why would people who were interested in buying a Mac before, not be interested anymore in buying a _better_ Mac after?

Apple are just degrading themselves into a mere PC maker.
I have absolutely no idea what solid reasons there could be of rthis claim. That is just FUD. You don't know, I don't know, nobody knows. Apple has thought about it rather well I suppose and has decided to make the "switch". That means that from the perspective of Apple the alternatives are worse. The best thing they think they can do is change processor supplier. Why that would imply a complete change of everything else baffles me. For developers who have to change their code, of course it is a great deal, but for the end user? The whole point of Fat Binaries and Rosetta is that users are not going to notice anything ideally. Indeed, from both the exterior and the OS you cannot decide what the processor is. So what is the problem?
That's the point! We don't know.

But if Apple are saying you can install a copy of Windows natively on a Mac, then that Mac would have to be a PC. No?

A PC is just a PC, nothing exceptional or really interesting, or not to me anyway, WHICH IS WHY I BOUGHT A MAC!

I think if they do just start making PCs in a nice case bundled with OSX for x86 and calling it a Mac, then that will be a real shame. I for one, and many like me probably won't be to interested in buying one.

But if the end result is a Mac as unique as other Macs but with just a different CPU, then I won't care at all.

But we don't know. There are doubts and questions and Apple aren't helping.
I'm puzzled fjdouse. You seem to think that people will buy a Mac just to run Windows on it. Now that would be daft. But to have a Mac with the additional functionality of running a separate operating system, beit Windoze or Linux, just gives you options. You don't HAVE to do it, just like you don't HAVE to use Virtual PC just now. But if you do want to run Windoze (and some must for work) then it will be a heck of a lot faster and more stable.
First of all, what makes anyone including high ceos at apple think that people would buy an apple PC that runs windows, the only thing it can possibly have going for it is name brand, and we all know that it would be cheaper to go the PC route with a non apple name brand. As far as OSX I think eventually it would doom it. Your basically allowing people to run windows on apple machines and heceforth become windows not apple.

The better route in my opinion was to force OSX to run on PCs therefore cutting into Microsofts grasp of the operating system market, not helping it expand using apple name brand hardware just like apple does with ipod which has helped in taking such a huge marketshare.

Maybe the way it was presented left the wrong impression. I do believe going the intel route is kinda sad as admitting defeat and joining the rest of the sorry pc vendors that really depend on intel and have nothing really different to offer.

This being said, I know that IBM has let Apple down. They just have not been able to provide the hardware apple needs to stay competative.

In addition, Apple marketing is PATHETIC at best. They have dumped millions into IPOD but very few dollars into the Imac or Apple desktops relying mostly on word of mouth.

But only time will tell.
Myke said:
You seem to think that people will buy a Mac just to run Windows on it. Now that would be daft. But to have a Mac with the additional functionality of running a separate operating system, beit Windoze or Linux, just gives you options.
EXACTLY. And take a look at the real world — people are concerned with compatibility and options. The biggest barrier to becoming a Mac user is the feeling that it will "lock you out" of the rest of the world. Windows compatibility will give tons of potential switchers the peace of mind necessary to switch!

And once they switch, THEY SWITCH! It's about getting your foot in the door, and breaking down barriers.

The sentiment that an Intel-based Mac is "just a PC" is absurd. If you bought a Mac just because it used a different chip, then...well, you have issues, my friend. No, I think all of us bought Macs for one reason: the Mac OS! That's the difference. That's where the "Mac" name comes from. Not the hardware. The OS. (A G5 running Linux is NOT a Mac!) I don't hate PC hardware, and I never have. I hate Windows, and I always will. The two are two very different things. Do you honestly think the reason Windows sucks so much is because it runs on Intel hardware? Think again. Intel's hardware has nothing to with Microsoft's gaping security holes, poor interface design, neglect of standards, or evil business practices. Nothing.

The concern that Apple will lose control of the hardware/software integration is possibly valid, but it's really not relevent to this thread. Apple IS switching to x86. That's settled. The question I'm trying to raise with this thread is whether Apple should support and even advertise Windows compatibility. Besides, it really won't make any difference to Apple if a few hackers manage to get OS X running on non-Apple hardware; who cares? It will still be unsupported, and will not effect Apple's development in any way. Apple will NOT be forced to support it just because someone manages to do it — that would be ridiculous.

As I said in my original post, I do think Apple should support and advertise Windows compatibility. However, I really don't think they should offer Classic-like support for it as some have suggested. The way I see it, this would only make the Mac experience worse, as it makes your entire system vulnerable to Windows exploits, and encourages the use of Windows software (to a degree). I think a virtual machine, like with VPC, would be a better choice, and this is bound to happen — it's not even really Apple's concern. Keep Windows isolated and a very clear second-class citizen.

Again, the point here isn't to make Windows users use Windows on Apple hardware. The point is to make Windows users buy Apple hardware. Once they do that, they won't be Windows users for long. Apple has the better product, and people will see that if they give it a chance. But without Windows compatibility, they won't give Intel-based Macs any more of a chance than they do with current PPC-based Macs. If Apple is going to capitalize on this switch to increase market share (granted, that's a big IF), I still think Windows support is the key.
I agree with some of your points, most, if not all would be addressed by allowing Windows to run in a VM under OSX in a similar manner to VMware.

The sentiment that an Intel-based Mac is "just a PC" is absurd
Well that's the whole point isn't it? Apple can produce one of two things, an Apple Mac with an Intel CPU or a PC with an Intel CPU *called* a Mac. You can build an Intel based computer without it being a PC, Xbox? That's not the problem.

The problem is it if Apple just become another PC maker but one with a proprietary OS included as standard. Like buying an AMD system from Sun with Solaris. It's just a PC.

I switched to Mac because I am a UNIX guy, I've been using such systems all my professional life and I don't like Windows or PCs very much. I wanted a NON-PC (i.e. something designed better) with a great UNIX desktop and environment. Read into that any 'issues' you like. Sun is going the PC route, and other big UNIX players who produced custom hardware have all embraced PCs and faded.

I don't share your view that an Apple PC (called Mac) will pull people into OSX, many who can't be bothered with learning a new thing, especially if they're Windows die hards (and I've met a few) who think "Hell, just stick Windows on it, it's greatest hardware though, and worth the money!"

I think if Apple become a PC maker, that will be tragic. I'm hoping for the
same kind of approach to building computers as before, just with a CPU change, not another PC. Can you understand?

I WANT Windows to run on it, under OSX, and I hope this will be a feature highly touted by Apple, to run your favorite PC apps under the OSX desktop, smoothly, beautifully as we'd expect from Apple. I think regardless of how the hardware develops, this will happen, someone will make it happen if Apple don't, perhaps Microsoft will work with Apple to get Virtual PC to take advantage of the Intel chip. However, to be able to install XP or Longhorn directly onto the Mac in a partition and boot it natively, will prove the Mac is nothing special anymore, just a nice, really nice, common PC. I'd be saddened to see it too go down this path, I think it will lead to an inevitable decline for reasons I've explain ad infinitum elsewhere.
I can tell you right now that there's a good number of people who will buy Macs *expressly* to use XP or Longhorn or whatever else on them. My boss is one of them. As a hardware designer, Apple (cut to the chase - Jonathan Ive) is above *everyone* else. That's almost universally considered fact (just like a BMW is a better designed car than a Fiat). There are people, however, who actually prefer Windows to Mac OS. And they have that right.

Now, there'll be able to be people who are buying Apple products (hardware), and still using Windows on it. There's a chunk of the "other side"'s market share, using Apple products.

The great thing will be the crossover effect. When I bought my PowerBook, I had a number of programs which did things in XP that I used EVERY DAY, for which there remains no OS X equivalent. So I installed VirtualPC, seeing it as necessary. And for the first few weeks I used it. All the time. Now I don't. Ever.

And the same thing will happen now. People will get Intel-based VPC, which will almost certainly load at close to 100% speed, and run their programs and games and whatnot. And then they'll realise soon that they don't WANT to boot Windows. They'll be running in OS X and have given up on what's on their Windows image. If this happens in a large enough scale, this stands a good chance to result in more OS X software, since suddenly, there'll be a market there.

I know, it's going to be strange. But it's going to work.

Another interesting thing to think about is that with Microsoft cosying up with the PPC platform for the Xbox 360, having therefore developed Direct X for it, and, likely, Visual Studio, it's not a far cry (well yes, it is, but not an extremely far cry) from a recode that puts Windows on PPC.

And then we'd have Microsoft on PPC and Apple on x86. Heh.

Then wouldn't Jobs look STOOPID if it didn't work out. What with all the burning the bridges etc.

I'm also interested to see about production delays from IBM (biting the hand that feeds you and what not).

Clearly I love my idioms.
I see no flaw in what you say, unless Apple just make PCs, then people WILL put Windows on it, and don't bother with OSX, i.e. dual boot, or maybe even wiping the Mac OS off and just using Windows. I know some have voiced the opinion that it would be pointless and who would do that? Well, in the last 24 hours I've been speaking/chatting online with a broader group of people and I get the impression there are a lot of people who WANT Apple to join the ranks of HP, Dell, Packard Bell et al and produce PC hardware, there are people who actually like to spend thousands on mere PCs (which is insane to me but there you go) and WANT to spend thousands on an Apple brand PC to run Windows on. Fact.

BUT, I have a little more hope today than yesterday after communicating with some PearPC users who have no expectation that Apple will make anything like a PC, an Intel chip sure, but a PC, no. Software will need to fill the gap to emulate an idealised set PC hardware but using the real CPU, like VMware. But be warned, that does NOT produce native speed thinking about it, I used VMware under Linux for about 4 years or maybe more, it's slower than pure native, but faster than VPC.

My view: Apple MUST provide Windows compatibility via a VM and must produce hardware different enough to deter "Average Joe" from installing Windows directly or the OSX directly on PCs. Providing a cop-out would be damaging for Apple, best to provide a Windows option, but controlled.

PearPC users are already clicking their heels with joy at the prospect of a new project to allow OSX/x86 to run in a VM, bypassing any lockouts Apple may design.