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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 2, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

    Apple update to block Atom processors?

    Ciara O'Brien

    Bad news for people who installed Mac’s Leopard operating system on a netbook – according to Wired, the latest update for Leopard will block the OS from being used on Intel Atom devices.

    At present Apple doesn’t offer a low cost netbook, which means that anyone who wants to install the operating system on a portable device has had to resort to some tinkering and trickery.

     

    Certain things may not work, like wifi, ethernet or sound cards – a pretty big deal to some people.There are plenty of websites offering instructions on how to install OS X on an existing netbook; however, it seems to violate the EULA, regardless of whether it’s a legally bought copy or not, and Apple probably doesn’t like that too much.

    So it seems Apple has taken matters in hand by preventing machines with Atom processors from running 10.6.2. The news comes via Wired’s Gadget Lab, which credits a hacker for the report.

    The question is, why is Apple so determined to keep a tight grip on its devices? If the software was pirated, it would be understandable. But if someone buys a legitimate copy of OS X, shouldn’t they be allowed to run it on whatever machine they deem necessary?

    • paul m says:

      “why is Apple so determined to keep a tight grip on its devices?”

      well the primary reason would be competition. So far it only competes with pc hardware vendors by providing a complete system that is an all or nothing choice. apple dictates what you get with minimal customisation on your part. You pay that extra euro and get the full polished package. The osx stability and built in extras (ilife software) is the carrot on the stick to lure folk away from windows.

      If low end pc vendors could get a bite of this carrot they could offer something apple do not – greater customisation of hardware and more variety of affordable hardware to run the os on. plus an increased market share. apples cheapest mac is about 900euro. an average pc that could run osx would be 300euro. there are those who would want to buy the immitation. these low cost pc manufacturers would be leeching off apples research and if the os installs didnt work properly it would also tarnish apples image too.

      so apple seem to be trying to stamp out the computer equivalent of the fake louis vuitton bags becoming more fashionable than the more expensive originals. although they should have known this would happen when they encouraged bootcamp.

    • Ciara says:

      But it’s not just the Mac – it’s the iPhone and the fact that everything has to be approved by Apple. It’s the fact that you can’t buy an iPhone and unlock it at the end of your contract. Restrictions don’t work; eventually consumers get irritated by them and they ruin what essentially is a great concept.

    • Mark Kelly says:

      I would think that you have to embrace new movements and not resist them. History has shown that companies & countries that are to slow to change and go with new movements are soon gobbled up or left for dead. I guess Apple see themselves in the ultra high end spiritual segment of the market and do not want to be forced into another segment.

    • getoffmycloud says:

      Ciara wrote: “Restrictions don’t work; eventually consumers get irritated by them and they ruin what essentially is a great concept.”

      I think this comment is more of a reflection of what a consumer advocate would hope to be the case rather than what actually is the case. By what yardstick did restrictions not work in the case of the iphone? By a commercial yardstick the iphone has been a resounding success.

      The reality is that Apple have such a strong brand identity and loyal consumer base that they can offer products which are just as restrictive as MS (and considerably more expensive) and consumers will still buy them. Meanwhile open source operating systems are still on the fringe, with few users who are not IT specialists, and with few hardware manufacturers who are willing to provide proper drivers for peripherals.

    • Ciara says:

      Specifically, I suppose, DRM. As the music industry has found out, it doesn’t work. People will always find a way around it.

      With regards to the iPhone, Apple’s attempts to lock the phone to specific networks have been circumvented by hackers who have come up with a way around them.

      Whether or not Apple will be able to continue to be as locked down will remain to be seen, and is probably a matter for the regulatory authorities in each region. The FCC has already asked questions about the App Store, specifically in relation to Google Voice.

    • getoffmycloud says:

      As you have alluded to, I think if change comes from anywhere it is more likely to come from the regulatory authorities than consumers (who are caught up with the Apple hype).

      Ideally, all phones would be fitted with universal sim-cards from which you could choose an operator on a one-off basis before making a call and see a clear comparative cost list of costs on screen beforehand.

      Technologically, this is possible, but unless regulatory bodies play a much more proactive role, it will remain a pipe-dream.

    • Simon says:

      This rumour has now been discounted:

      http://www.macrumors.com/2009/11/04/rumors-of-disabled-intel-atom-support-in-mac-os-x-10-6-2-unfounded/

      The probable reason – had they gone ahead with it – would have been to stifle any competition with their imminent tablet computing device:

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/169476/apple_tablet_prototype_is_real_nov_launch_expected_says_report.html

    • Bob says:

      Not a Mac user but what a refreshingly intelligent thread of comments.

    • David says:

      Apple are within their rights not to port their proprietary OS to the Atom processor.
      Linux is the future on Netbooks.

    • Keith says:

      It’s because Apple don’t make their money on the operating system (it’s horribly expensive to create) – they make their money on the hardware.
      While it may look nice, an Apple laptop doesn’t cost that much more to make than a similar wintel laptop. The extra margin they pull in on the hardware is what gives them profit.

    • Keith says:

      Oh, when I say the operating system is horribly expensive to make, I mean the cost of the first copy against the installed user base. Far higher than Microsoft’s costs.
      Obviously each new copy of the software has a marginal cost of only a few cent.

    • Aileen says:

      Regarding the iPhone comments above, it is interesting to note that under German and French law it is illegal to force someone to buy one product (in this case a mobile phone contract) in order to buy another (the iPhone). They are legally required to unlock the phone after 6 months of service, for a fee, of course (http://www.infoworld.com/t/networking/orange-offer-unlocked-iphone-in-france-532). So much for Apple’s claim that it “cannot” be unlocked.
      I’m a loyal Mac user and am willing to pay for a superior machine – that doesn’t bother me at all. I love my iPhone, but I hate the Apple/AT&T/O2 monopoly, and wonder if/when we can expect to see other carriers attempt to open up the market. Where are the consumer groups on this one?