Why Won't Apple Support Intel's Atom?


The next Snow Leopard update from Apple will not run on the Intel Atom processor, according to reports, a move aimed at cracking down on so-called Hackintoshes, netbooks illegally installed with OS X with the Atom chip.

According to the influential Stell's Blog, "In the current developer build of 10.6.2, Apple appears to have changed around a lot of CPU- related information. One of the effects of this is Apple killing off Intel's Atom chip."

In general, these Hackintosh computers are built in order to provide a product that's lacking in Apple's lineup, said Mike Volchok, founder of Mike's TechShop in Manhattan.

"Mac users are getting a product that right now Apple doesn't provide -- a netbook," said Volchok. "I know someone who made one of these using an HP notebook. He couldn't get the 'sleep' function to work, so it drained the battery. But he said it works perfectly on a Dell."

The trouble is, these machines do not make a very good netbook.

"It's a bad idea, because you can't replicate how tightly the OS is integrated into the Mac hardware, so you don't get a smooth experience," Volchok said. "With a Mac, the software works perfectly with the hardware, but that's not so with something you 'Frankenstein' together. It's like if you put a Mustang engine in a Yugo. It might work, but would you be happy with it?"

Volchok noted that the iPhone doesn't run the full OS X, and he considers the iPhone close to being the perfect computer for its simplicity and ease of use.

"Computers are too hard to use for most people. You want a computer that works like a toaster. The iPhone works like a toaster. It always works, and people know how to use it."