A month ago, I wanted a Mac that would do Windows.
Well, Apple decided they’d better make me happy
. They’ve provided the EFI-to-BIOS program needed to boot XP, and the rest of the 83Mb package is basically just Windows XP drivers for the hardware.
Did they make me happy?
Well, not entirely. I’d rather have Conroes inside the mini Mac rather than the current Core Duos, simply because the future of OSs of any sort during its lifespan is 64-bit, and Core Duo is only 32-bit.
Nor would I cry too much if the infrastructure of the mini Mac was updated; I’d rather have a somewhat better integrated graphics solution, and I’d rather have a 7200rpm drive without having to perform major surgery, too. Being able to put more than 2Gb of RAM into a Mini wouldn’t hurt, either.
But those are “nice-to-haves,” 64-bit capability is close to a ought-to-have, though, oddly enough, I’m more concerned about that for the MacOS X than the Windows side.
The niche this computer is supposed to fill is a “nice-to-have” type, too, I just want a computer I can bring with me on housecalls that can double as an office computer, and no, I don’t really want a notebook. If I can get that, and also be able to give OS X a fling for a few dollars more, so much the better.
Erosion, Not Revolution
We talked about the likely evolution of Windows on Mac in an earlier article. No point repeating myself, Apple can play this hand gradually, and initially, the geekier types will be the guinea pigs.
This is not going to make Dell executives jump off Round Rock, if for no other reason than all jumping off Round Rock does is get you wet.
Seriously, Apple gets a few more percentage points worldwide marketshare the remaining quarters in 2006 from this, probably about 2%, maybe up to 4% if they’re fortunate. U.S. marketshare will probably jump up more than that.
No big deal for the PC world, but even a 2% gain in worldwide marketshare translates to about a 50% gain in units sold for Apple.
The real action on this front in 2006 is going to be under the horizon, at least the mainstream media horizon. There’s going to be some fairly hardcore PC people who will buy an Apple as a secondary machine for the hell of it, and I think they’re going to be a leading indicator of how this is going to go.
If the reaction is overwhelmingly, “Ehhh,” this is not going to go far. If the general reaction is more like, “Feces, this is a lot better than Windows” (and it may come out more like, “Outside of gaming, this is a lot better than Windows,” Apple may be on to something big.
Mind you, I’m not saying that geeks are going to make or break this, but their reaction in 2006 will probably be much like the mainstream reaction in 2007.
Of course, for every geek who’ll buy an Apple, there are five to ten who want to run MacOS X on their non-Apple PCs.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how Apple could start selling MacOS X for regular PCs without wrecking their hardware sales.