Apple won't put OS X on other platforms

IBM may have its PowerPC motherboard, but it won't run the next Mac OS as a client, an exec says. Apple also won't make a Windows version of Sherlock.

The forthcoming client version of Mac OS X won't be available on third-party systems built around IBM's new CHRP-based PowerPC motherboard spec, according to Apple Vice President of Product Marketing Phil Schiller.

During a conversation with Germany's Macwelt magazine at this week's Apple Expo here, Schiller also quashed speculation that Apple will offer a Windows version of its Sherlock Internet search technology and addressed other issues, including Mac OS 9 upgrade pricing and the company's rumoured plans to create its own Internet portal site.

According to Schiller, IBM's decision to release a PowerPC motherboard design free of charge to third-party hardware developers was motivated by the chip maker's desire to increase the RISC processor's penetration into the Linux market. While developers will be able to use Darwin, Apple's open-source OS, to develop for the CHRP-based systems, Schiller said the client version of Mac OS X will only run on Apple hardware equipped with a G3 or G4 processor. (CHRP, short for Common Hardware Reference Platform, is a multi-OS hardware standard created during the days of Mac cloning by a consortium that included PowerPC partners Apple, IBM and Motorola.)

On other OS fronts, Schiller reiterated Apple's intention to ship Mac OS X client early in 2000 and possibly as soon as January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. He also told Macwelt that Apple is still considering offering special upgrade pricing on the forthcoming Mac OS 9 (the next rev of the current Mac OS, due to ship in October for $99, or £62) to owners of Mac OS 8.5 and 8.6. However, Schiller was adamant that Apple has no plans to port Sherlock to Windows. "Sherlock will remain a Mac-only application that we'll use to strengthen the Mac's competitive advantage over other platforms," he said.

Apple's marketing boss was more equivocal about the possibility that Apple will break into the Web-content market with its own portal site that offers users features such as stock and weather reports, email, community features, and other services. "I'm not saying we will have one, but I'm also not saying we won't have one," Schiller said.

Finally, Schiller fielded a question that's been preying on the minds of some Mac consumers: Why doesn't the iBook include a microphone port? According to Schiller, Apple decided to omit the feature to cut costs, since microphones do not yet play a major role in portable computers. While he referred microphone-hungry iBook users to third-party Universal Serial Bus peripherals, Schiller also held out the possibility that future revs of the consumer portable will include audio-in.