Back to debates from the past: What if Apple licensed MacOS?

Apple MacOS

The last presentation of the new MacBook Pro allowed finally portable high-end Apple hardware obtain its expected update, but in that event other ads that were expected did not occur.

There was no renewal of any of Apple’s desktop computers, and although it is likely that next year we will see news on the iMac, the great forgotten are the Mac Pro and Mac mini, which literally have years without updating. Apple seems to be interested in these machines, so … why not license macOS and let others offer users new options.

Revisiting the past

Steve Jobs was terribly busy trying to bring out NeXT when Apple executives decided to take a step startling: would offer licenses hardware designs, Mac OS 7, and system ROMs to a select group of manufacturers. The idea was to try to increase the market share of the Macs, which paled again and again before that duopoly formed by Microsoft and Intel that dominated computing of the time.

In December of 1994, the process began: Apple ended the monopoly of its Macintosh and granted licenses to Power Computing and Radius for them to make their own Macs. Windows 95 was about to be presented, and Michael Spindler, Apple ‘s CEO at the time wanted to try to encourage your market.

Apple MacOS
Image Source: Google Image

Licenses cost $ 50 (at the time) by selling machine, and the first clones began to appear in March 1995, with the Radius System 100 was basically a Power Mac 8100 with better graphics performance. Power Computing was probably the company that tried harder to take advantage of the philosophy of the Apple clones, and for it copied the Dell model.

The aim was to conquer the input range with cheaper hardware and move from a model of margins (expensive machines that were sold less but more profit) to a volume model (cheaper machines that sold more but had much less room of final profit).

That project failed for the simple reason that Apple did not have too much market share to expand: the market share of Windows was already very solid, and those clones did not convince those users, but they became a good alternative for the Apple’s own users will save on machines that might be good enough for them. Jobs would end indicating after its return to Apple’s sales had not convinced clonic Windows users: only 1% bought a Macintosh (clone or not) for the first time.

Not only that: the clone makers had succeeded in introducing technological improvements that even Apple itself had introduced into their models, and that even though Apple maintained tight control over what manufacturers could do or not do. The Common Hardware Reference Platfonn (CHRP) that Apple introduced with IBM – which was surprising to many – was intended to set the ground rules for future Macintosh innovations, but their breakthroughs eventually slowed down.

The clone manufacturers could not wait and were making improvements of their own. Umax was the first to offer an integrated cache, while Power Computing was the first to use the PowerPC 750 processor and backside cache (a level 2 cache) while Motorola was the first to use that much-loved CHRP architecture He had spoken. Meanwhile lagged behind Apple PowerPC 604e in the version Mach 5 and teams were surprisingly worse performance than those clone manufacturers.

Sales did not go well, and the Macs moved from selling 4.5 million units per year in 1995 to 1.8 million in 1997, of which 600,000 units came from those clones. Apple had to cut precise in their own machines, and even agreed to a more expensive price for the licenses, which became between 150 and 350 dollars depending on the speed and performance of the equipment.

That, however, still did not work, and the return of Steve Jobs in 1997 meant the end of a program with which he had never agreed. One of the first things Jobs did when he regained control was to stop the bleeding.

“Apple has to invent the future and let this ghost go,” Jobs said, explaining that instead of expanding the market share, the clonic and licensing program had only just cannibalizing their own sales. Apple would end up buying Power Computing for $ 110 million in late 1997, and thereby shut down an experiment that went very wrong to Apple.

You may also like to read another article on DuckysDesktop: A year later, Apple Watch wins, but convinced?

Apple leaves desktop users in oblivion

Apple has not paid much attention to desktop Mac users. The team has received more affection has been the iMac, which two years ago offered the model with Retina 5K display and renewed in October 2015 with new processors and new graphics integrated.

Other models have been left behind. This is the case of the Mac mini, which was last updated in 2014 with Haswell, WiFi 802.11ac processors and Thunderbolt 2. Especially painful is the case of the Mac Pro , whose surprising renewal at the end of 2013 will not have seen then modified New components.

They have spent more than 1,000 days and Apple users who want a team as powerful as possible have no direct alternatives: whether to work faster and better on their computers, the best they can do is go to the most powerful iMac or one of The new MacBook Pro.

Some argue that this lack of affection for desktop PCs coincides suspiciously with the arrival of Tim Cook to power: the update of those teams has been much less frequent than it was before.

What is evident is that Apple’s attention has been focused on their mobile devices and tablets. Strange, considering that the Mac still account for 12% of the revenue of the company according to the latest financial results.

This lack of updates is causing a lot of criticism that no longer reach from outside: Apple fans themselves threw all kinds of comments on the recent renewal of the MacBook Pro and the absence of news on other computers.

It is likely that Apple has preferred to wait to take advantage of new components as appropriate processors processor family Kaby Lake (the new MacBook Pro will not take them because suitable models have not yet appeared on the market) or new graphics AMD (and even NVIDIA), but the lack of clarification and of these developments makes those comments to appear and, of course, that the old debate clonic renewed.

Letting others innovent with MacOS as heart, an attractive (and unlikely)

In recent time we are seeing manufacturers of PCs and Windows – based laptops are doing a great job when it comes to bringing to light new concepts in both design and usability.

There are examples everywhere : Lenovo with its Yoga Book, HP with its Wave (which certainly seem inspired by the Mac Pro), its Sprout or new workstations Z2 Mini, and of course products that Microsoft itself has highlighted in recent times as the surprising Surface Studio.

Apple could leverage the resources of those manufacturers who are betting heavily on the PC market for these market – based lanzasen macOS teams could fill those gaps that Apple itself does not seem to want to fill alone. Apple could impose its habitual control to the companies that offered those products, for example establishing ranges (or hardware configurations) in which those products could appear.

This would pose a possible expansion of the market share if these products were not manufactured by smaller manufacturers but by first brands such as HP that could leave room for innovating in formats but which could be controlled in As for the proposals launched, which in no case should compete with Apple’s own. If the company wants to abandon the Mac Pro and Mac mini seems to point that lack of news range or, why not let others meet those needs?

Obviously it seems very unlikely that Apple take a similar step. The problem that led to that proposal to fail in the past would again threaten the success of this new licensing model: third-party models could end up cannibalizing the brand’s own products: “I do not buy a MacBook because a third Manufacturer offers me that clone of the renewed MacBook Air that Apple has left in oblivion, “or” this desktop in HP Wave format with macOS meets my needs for less price than it costs me an iMac “would be feasible phrases of buyers of equipment Apple in that hypothetical future.

Custom clones exist: Hackintosh is the key

Maybe Apple will never again experience with that option, and the philosophy of the company has not done more to confirm that your model wants control grow, not decrease. Producing their own ARM processors on their mobile devices is a good example.

However users have a great alternative for the absence of news from Apple: the Hackintosh computers remain a resource very well used by advanced computer users, who can build their Mac as and enjoy the benefits of macOS of Form powerful, simple and, of course, much cheaper.

The tutorials and guides that appear on sites like tonymacx86 or InsanelyMac are indicating the steps to take advantage of the latest versions of OS X / macOS in the most appropriate hardware, and projects users show that it is possible to enjoy a Mac much more powerful than any present for much less money … if you have patience and some knowledge to leave everything ready.

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