Tuesday, 01 April 2008 07:34

Apple to release PC version of Leopard in Q3

Microsoft beware, Apple is set to launch an assault on the world's biggest computer marketplace with plans to release a version of its new Leopard operating system for PCs. According to Apple insiders, the launch is set for sometime in Q3 of this year and a select group of Apple beta testers are reporting stunning results running Leopard across a range of OEM PC hardware.

Since the move of Macintosh computers to the Intel platform was announced in June 2005, followed by the release of Intel Macs, it has been possible to run Windows XP and later Vista natively on Macs using the Bootcamp dual boot facility. What has been left unsaid, however, is that theoretically this is now a two-way street - it is possible with a bit of tweaking by a knowledgeable computer techie to run Mac OS X on a PC, needless to say a practice definitely not sanctioned by Apple.

Since its release on October 26 2007, in stark contrast to Windows Vista released 10 months earlier, Mac OS X version 10.5 (Leopard) has received rave reviews as the best operating system on the planet and Mac sales have boomed. However, questions have been raised by media watchers since the move to Intel as to why Apple should limit its obviously superior operating system to the Mac platform, while ignoring more than 90% of the market which is literally crying out for a viable option to Windows.

Until now, Apple has been characteristically coy in its response. At one session, where Apple was demonstrating a pre-release version of Leopard on newly-released Intel Mac Pro computers, a local technology director responded to a question as to why Leopard will not be available on computers other than Macs with a wry grin saying: "We want our software to work with the hardware."

However, according to a source close to the project, Apple is readying itself for an all out assault on the PC operating system space with a program underway to unseat Microsoft's increasingly tenuous hold on the market.

"Vista has been such a dismal failure that nobody wants to move off Windows XP, Vista SP1 has been a disaster and now Microsoft is talking about some new pie-in-the-sky operating system that will supposedly be released who knows when called Windows 7," said the source.

"Quite frankly, the market is ripe for the picking. Apple now has considerable experience on the Intel platform with both Tiger and Leopard and all the necessary applications and drivers are well-defined and available."

The source said that Apple was in fact no stranger to the PC market space, with by far the most number of iTunes downloads coming from PCs and had lately begun "pushing the envelope further" with the release of Safari for Windows.

It is understood that the first version of PC OS X will be available both as packaged software sold through Apple retailers and as a download on or before September 30 2008. The source said that Apple was also talking with tier one OEMs, including Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo, to negotiate the release of notebooks and desktops with pre-installed versions of PC OS X.

When asked if PC OS X would be offered as an optional download with the next update of iTunes, the source looked thoughtful but said nothing.

When asked if Linux could be a possible threat to Apple's PC operating system aspirations, the source said: "Linux has had more than a decade to make an impact on Windows market share without success, so why should we be worried."

It is believed that upon hearing the news of Apple's move into the PC space, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, has made efforts to re-establish the ties his organisation severed with Intel early this year. Mr Negroponte is believed to be keen to get a cut down version of PC OS X onto the OLPC XO computers as soon as possible.

Despite the best efforts of iTWire, neither Steve Jobs nor Fake Steve Jobs could be contacted for further comment.

OK - time to come clean now that most time zones ticked over to April 2. This story is actually an April Fool's joke (as if you didn't already know). I must, however, express my surprise at the number of people who were taken in by it. One forum reported that PC users were actually searching the Web to see if they could source beta copies of PC OS X! This suggests to me what I've long suspected - PC users really would love Apple to make its operating system available to the wider world. Unfortunately, there's not much chance of that happening - or is there?


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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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