First things first. For reasons of health and safety, if you find that any Audio Masterclass article angers you, please choose another website that is perhaps a little more anodyne.
Now, to business… this is most definitely not a Mac versus Windows debate. Here is how you should choose a computer…
- Identify the task to be performed.
- Choose software to best fulfill that task.
- Choose a computer that will best run that software.
So you could end up choosing either Mac or Windows. I use both – Mac for audio, Windows for everything else. That's the way it suits me and I would change in a moment if I could see a positive advantage in doing so.
Now, what's going on at Apple?
First, some groundrules. Companies exist for just two purposes…
- To survive
- To make a profit for their shareholders
Anything else, such as boosting Steve Jobs's ego is purely incidental.
For a company to survive and be successful they have to look ahead and, most importantly, consider a wide range of possible pathways into the future.
It has often been thought that Apple should consider allowing its operating system to be licensed to users of non-Macintosh computers. Indeed, had that been done twenty years ago, Mac OS might be the dominant operating system, not Windows.
So can anyone tell me that they don't consider this afresh from time to time? Of course they do. And they think all the other 'unthinkable' options too. Innovative thinking is what got Apple where it is today – a massively successful company. Not as successful as others perhaps, but I'll bet you wouldn't mind having a few shares.
So an 'unthinkable' option such as switching to Windows has certainly been very carefully considered. And the possibilities of this happening are real. It might not happen… but it might.
What does it mean to you?
Apple is currently in the process of major change. If you currently use a Macintosh computer for audio professionally you must without delay buy another one. Keep it in storage so that you have a backup in case your current computer fails and you can't buy a replacement that will run the software you use. The switch to Intel will take some time and it will not be painless.
If there is a further switch to Windows, then this will cause more uncertainty – remember how long it took Digidesign to catch up with OS X?
You might examine the options and conclude that it is safe to stay with Apple and ride out whatever storm may or may not be coming. Or you might conclude that Windows is already established and it might be a safer option for the near-term future. (Of course there is Vista to consider, but let's not get too carried away).
The key though is that you can either think and plan to actively ride out the storm. Or you can bob up and down on the waves.
There are other possibilities too, so let's have a full list of what might possibly happen in the land of Apple…
- Apple sticks with OS X and does not license it for use on non-Apple computers.
- Apple sticks with OS X and licencese it for use on other computers, competing with Windows.
- Apple ditches OS X and changes to Windows.
- Apple licenses OS X for other computers, continues with OS X on its own range, AND allows Macs to run Windows. So virtually any computer can run either OS X or Windows.
That last one would be interesting.
Or here's another possibility… we could just stop thinking, never ponder anything, never 'think outside the box', never discuss, never debate, always shout people down who have different opinions…
Mac OS X running on a Dell PC (genuine pics). Who would once have believed it was possible?