How Apple rolls (for newbies)

I read this old comment about recently-released Mac OS X Lion:

…but really it’s the lack of Rosetta that has me most annoyed. I admin 120 users who still use Office 2004 on G5s. This just pushed up the cost of upgrading them by $200 each.

Actually, no. The cost of that particular upgrade is zero because you can’t. Apple dropped operating support on the G5 in Snow Leopard. So you can’t even install Lion on this computer, you must leave the computer on Leopard. He would have an issue if he has Intel-based Macintoshes that are still using Office 2004 (or earlier-Office 2008 introduced in 2008) or Adobe Creative Suite 2 (or earlier—Adobe CS3 introduced in 2007). But he should leave those people with Snow Leopard, just as he left the G5’ers a few years back with Leopard.

This is just another indicator of how Apple rolls when they want to introduce something new:

Apple and the Motorola 68000 processor:

  1. 1984 68k Macs introduced with 68k processor
  2. 1994 first PowerPC Macintosh introduced with “System 7” (specifically 7.1). Applications fork into three categories: 68k applications, PowerPC-only, or “Fat binaries” (which run on but 68k and PowerPC Macs). PowerPC Macs can run 68k-only applications via emulation.
  3. 1998 MacOS 8.5 drops support of 68k computers.
  4. 2006 Intel-computers cannot run 68k applications.
  5. 2007 Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) drops Classic-mode, and with it, all support for 68k applications.

Apple and the PowerPC alliance (Apple-Intel-Motorola):

  1. 1994 First PowerPC-based Macintosh appears.
  2. 1997 First G3 PowerPCs appear
  3. 2011 Mac OS X introduced, drops support of PowerPCs before G3.

Apple and its own firmware:

  1. 1994 Power Macintosh appears
  2. 1999 First Macintoshes with “New World ROM” appear (aka “Blue-and-White” G3).
  3. 2003 Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) drops support of “beige” G3 (“Old World ROM”).

Apple and the G3 processor:

  1. 1998 First G3 PowerPCs appear
  2. 1999 First G4 PowerPCs appear
  3. 2007 Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) drops support of all G3.

Apple and its own operating system:

  1. 1984 MacOS introduced.
  2. 2001 Mac OS X introduced, runs earlier versions of Mac OS via “Classic-mode
  3. 2006 Intel-computers cannot run in Classic-mode.
  4. 2007 Mac OS X 10.5 drops Classic-mode entirely.

And the latest (Apple and the switch to Intel):

  1. 2005 Switch to Intel announced. Applications now compiled as “Universal binaries”, exactly same as “Fat binaries” from the PowerPC transition.
  2. 2006 Mac OS X 10.4.4 adds Intel support. Intel supports PowerPC via Rosetta.
  3. 2009 Mac OS X 10.5 (Snow Leopard). Support for all PowerPC (G4 and G5) removed. Rosetta removed in default installation.
  4. 2011 Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). Rosetta support removed.

But wait, there’s more!

And this is just the “big rocks” in the Macintosh computer and operating system. I’m avoiding entirely the history of UI changes, peripheral support (3.5″ diskette/CD/DVD/SuperDrive/nothing, SCSI/Firewire/Thunderbolt, CAT-3/ADB, USB VGA/ADC/DVI/MiniDVI/DisplayPort/Thunderbolt), and iOS devices (iPods, iPhones, iPads). Trust me, it’s more of the same.

Do you do see the trend here?

Apple’s Underpants Gnomes Strategy

  1. Apple introduces something.
  2. Apple introduces something new. Supports old through some lame compatibility later.
  3. Apple drops the old. Lots of people bitch and moan.

And in more than a few instances, Apple forgets step 2 (anyone with an original Apple TV? How about iMovie ’08 or Final Cut Pro X?).

Even worse is when they royally fuck up step 1:

Don’t forget the occasional Jobs’s personal bugaboos like his obsession with fanless computers (Apple III, Mac Cube) and center-justify everything).

Click on some of my links and you may exclaim, “WTF? Apple tried to make a video game console?” Oh yes, that and much, much worse:

Apple Infomercial circa 1994. Yes, Apple actually paid TV stations to run this late at night. I’m sure it sold a lot of Performas. 😀

If you are new to Apple, and want to stay on the bleeding edge with them, get used to this.

If you disagree, revisit this article next year when Apple drops support for your iPhone 3GS or three years when support for your iPhone 4 kicks the bucket, or in a decade when all Intel Core and Core 2 Duos suddenly don’t work unless you install the third-party “YPostDuo” software, or some Apple Genius tells you something even more obscure and infuriating: “Sorry, Macs with white logos are no longer supported. You need to buy a Mac with a silver logo on the back to use Mac OS Y.”

Welcome to the cult. Deal.

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