Let the rumors fly

News.com calls the rumors it is propagating news.

The hot rumor is that Apple is set to announce a switch from IBM to Intel microprocessors. There are some claiming to also know the timing which purportedly would involve the first round of the switch coming in mid-2006.

If the rumors are true it could be big news. When the Mac mini came out I outlined a killer way Apple could proceed to a few people I know. The plan goes something like this. Come out with the mini and get people to switch. Then, prior to the release of the new Microsoft Longhorn operating system, announce x86 compatibility. If the roll-out of Longhorn goes as well as some other versions of Microsoft's operating system there will be plenty of frustrated users looking for an alternative.

A number of Apple technologies already work with Windows on the Intel chip-set so it is hard to imagine that it would be terribly difficult to make a OS X version of them. These include iTunes and Quicktime. The UNIX underpinnings of OS X also run on Intel hardware.

If the rumors are true it is a bit hard to believe that Apple could make this sort of announcement a year in advance of shipping products. The effect on their sales of current machines would take a beating.

There are counter-indicators as well. For one, the current Mac OS X does not include a serialization facility. Knowing that Apple has done serialization on products for several years it would be baffling to consider why they would release an OS six weeks prior to an announcement of this sort and not have included serialization in the product to set the tone. On the other hand possibly the big-picture is to move towards the OS being a supporting technology for the companies forays into digital content consumption and production.

One thing seems pretty certain. Since the release of the ill-appreciated Cube Apple hasn't had any big misses. In past presentations Apple CEO Steve Jobs has given audiences a glimpse at the market research that led to the products. As many a want-to-be-relevant pundit on the net was bashing the iPod Shuffle, they were selling out of the stores faster than any of the better models put forward by the pundits. Contrary to the prognostications many happy iPod Shuffle owners love the little dynamos.