Are PowerPC Macs Down To Their Last Four Years?

October 26th, 2005 | by Mike |


Now that I have just plunked down some currency and bought one of the new iMacs, what do you say we start a discussion and see how depressed I can make myself (with some help from you)? According to Chris Adamson, Apple computers purchased today have about a four year lifespan (Is It Time to Wait for Intel?).

Here is Adamson’s logic:

The key is probably: how soon will it be until new stuff that you want won’t run on your PowerPC Mac? Here’s how I’m teasing out this logic: at WWDC 2005, we were promised a look at Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) at WWDC 2006, which is next Spring or Summer. There’s usually a lag between unveiling an OS to developers and shipping it, so the developers can learn and use the new features. Add 6-12 months to the Leopard preview and we probably don’t expect Leopard until, what, late 2006 or (more likely) sometime in 2007. Intel Macs are supposed to ship in mid 2006, so clearly some future version of Tiger will support them, as will Leopard.

Apple said with the release of Tiger that the timeframe between major OS releases would slow down, so when do we expect to see Leopard’s successor? If Tiger shipped in 2004 and Leopard is in 2007, then maybe Mac OS X 10.6 ships around 2010 or so. That’s four years after the Intel switch.

Of course, just because you can’t run the latest operating system, it doesn’t mean that machine is dead. There are many, many functioning, productive computers out there running strong on Panther or Jaguar. The real question boils down to: How long will your computer be “Modern”? “Modern” meaning that your computer can run the tasks of a current off the line computer. Do you think 4 years from now Steve will be extolling the joys of OS X 10.6 (lets say Ocelot) and then mention that the “transition is complete! …so we aren’t offering this for PowerPC.” and then quickly move on to the new iPod that cooks you breakfast and doubles as a vibrator? Mac people do tend to hold on to their computers longer than most PC users, but does that mean that Apple has the same bond to their legacy computers?

Is my new iMac not going to make it past the age of 4? Will I ever get to see it get on the bus to kindergarden?! Talk amongst yourselves…I’m getting vaclempt.

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