EFi-X USA to sell pre-made PCs capable of running Mac OS X

Leveraging an internal adapter that lets many generic PCs run Mac OS X, a company called EFi-X USA now plans to offer a solution that potentially allows customers to create their own Mac systems.

Unlike the offerings from besieged clone maker Psystar, the EFi-X USA Millennium 4 will be targeted directly at the performance crowd. It's expected to boast a Core 2 Quad processor overclocked to at least 3.8GHz, 4GB of memory, a GeForce 8800 GTS video card and a high-speed disk combination that includes a 150GB, 10,000RPM boot drive and a 1TB, 7,200RPM secondary drive that holds the bulk of the computer's storage. Two DVD rewriters will also be included.

More importantly, the systems will potentially avoid the legal pitfalls that have spurred an exchange of lawsuits and countersuits between Apple and Psystar. EFi-X USA will mention Mac OS X as one of the operating systems supported by the system, but won't install the software itself. "We want to be clear about that," the spokesman says. The company also won't sell the EFi-X dongle pre-installed in the Millennium; it must be purchased as a separate product.

Whether or not this will stand Apple's scrutiny is yet to be determined. Although it's true the brunt of Apple's case against Psystar has focused on violating the end-user license agreement by running Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware.

There is also an update by Tom's Hardware that EFiX USA is not making Mac Clones. The EFiX is a small USB module that allows a stock PC to run EFI-based operating systems. In this case, one of the major bonuses to this scheme is that Apple's OS X Leopard can run fully functional on stock PC hardware. This means you're able to perform normal system updates just like you would on a real Apple Mac.

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dead.cell said,
Sorry man, but that just sounds absolutely stuck up. :

+1, LTD might as well be a apple shareholder/employee for all his mac bias. Does lord jobs ever do anything wrong LTD? He wants to keep that warm elitist feeling of owning his mac (any paying twice the price) and he doesn't want "pc" users tarnishing it.
One thing LTD paying twice the price does not mean you get twice the experience, how would you even ever measure that metric. The experience of apps I cant run and the experience of paying twice the bill on the credit card. God I hate mac elitists.

ZeroHour said,
+1, LTD might as well be a apple shareholder/employee for all his mac bias. Does lord jobs ever do anything wrong LTD? He wants to keep that warm elitist feeling of owning his mac (any paying twice the price) and he doesn't want "pc" users tarnishing it.
One thing LTD paying twice the price does not mean you get twice the experience, how would you even ever measure that metric. The experience of apps I cant run and the experience of paying twice the bill on the credit card. God I hate mac elitists.

Put your feelings aside for a moment and consider the following from my previous post:

Apple wants to make a net profit, maintain their reputation, and make money. Dealing at the low end of the market will not only dilute the Apple brand, it will also result in lower margins.

Lower margin products will require the same integrated design, manufacturing and distribution services as the high margin units. The increase in volume (which would have to occur in Dell and HP land) would have to be very, very large to justify the expense. Apple would have to alter much of their business model to serve the low end of the market.

Of course, in most cases the low end exists only on paper: to make the machines that headline at $399 truly useful they require add-ons that quickly escalate the price close to or into Mac territory.

Perhaps what is important though is that Macs are not as expensive within the categories where they choose to compete. Apple's strategy appears to be to maintain high margin business within certain segments and to ignore or barely serve segments that do not meet their criteria.

So in the end it is true Apple is missing lots of sales - but they are sales that may not match the company's strategy. They clearly do not want that business. And don't forget, Apple has built a machine around its software . . . seamless integration.

As soon as Apple, or any other systems manufacturer starts competing primarily on price, most of their 'value added' features become irrelevant. Gateway went that route, and Dell ate them alive. Apple produces complete systems, with the best (proven) hardware and software available. The have a modest array of mid to high-end systems, and they provide the best customer support in the industry. All these other budget/low-end players like HP, Dell, etc. are struggling in the market. Apple is really the only one that is showing significant growth in the industry.

If you want cheap, buy the components to build your own system and put Linux or Windows on it. I value my time and computing experience, so I choose Apple, and I'm willing to pay more, because I don't get just the hardware, but I also get the software designed to run on it and the kind of computing experience I get as a result.

This isn't being "stuck up." It's business. And as a former Windows user who chose to dump Windows in favour of what has proven to me to be a far better experience is based on my own good reasons, and especially what I no longer choose to put up with. In general I feel Apple's products are far from over priced. They have a well marketed brand and for me they mostly deliver on the brand promise. I have never been able to find a product that works the way my Macs do, especially for my businesses.

Look, I could write and talk for hours on things that frustrate me a bit here and there, or things I wish Apple would or would not do. But I have to recognize that the company's strategy is working, and anyway, my family and I, and many of my friends are happy customers. I don't mind paying more for an experience that I feel is far better. And there are millions upon millions who agree with me.

I'll speak out against Apple when its policies and practices until they affect me negatively. Hasn't happened yet.

LTD said,
... Dealing at the low end of the market will not only dilute the Apple brand, it will also result in lower margins.

Where did you get that from? This is completely untrue.

Take the iPod for example, when it came out, it was one of the most expensive MP3 player, and yet it sold really well, dominating the high end MP3 market. Then Apple decided to attack the lower end MP3 segment and released the nano and the shuffle. They do it because they figured out a way to make a low end product but still a quality product.

As for the lower end computers, the reason you don't see a $400 mac yet is because they haven't figure out a way to do it. As Steve Jobs said, they don't know how to make a $400 mac that isn't a piece of crap. It is not because they don't want to "dilute the Apple brand". They will make a $400 mac when the technology allows them to make it cheaper.

mayamaniac said,
As for the lower end computers, the reason you don't see a $400 mac yet is because they haven't figure out a way to do it. As Steve Jobs said, they don't know how to make a $400 mac that isn't a piece of crap. It is not because they don't want to "dilute the Apple brand". They will make a $400 mac when the technology allows them to make it cheaper.

They need to do it soon as sales are down year on year unlike PC sales which continue to grow:
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/0...onomic-downturn

LTD said,
Stopped what?


"Just hours after announcing plans to sell a high-end Mac clone, niche electronics reseller EFIX USA changed course in order to avoid a nasty legal confrontation with Apple."

schubb said,
"Just hours after announcing plans to sell a high-end Mac clone, niche electronics reseller EFIX USA changed course in order to avoid a nasty legal confrontation with Apple."

Yeah, I noticed it below. Thanks for the response, though.

afusion said,
The way I see it mac users don't want this happening because everyone else will have an opportunity to have Mac OS X and it won't be in the hands of a few.

It goes to show the reassurance of bugs and viruses is eminent if that is the fear of a loyal mac user.

If you want OS X, just go out an buy a Mac. Boom, you're one of "the few."

Like I said, the fear is that once OS X is unharnessed from Apple-approved hardware, it'll face the compatibility and stability issues that Windows faces. I won't comment on malware because there isn't much history in the way of widespread Unix viruses that have specific effects on the Mach/FreeBSD architecture of OS X.

It probably would, but it would not hurt for Apple to take the training wheels off from their product and let the free market decide what it thinks of OSX.

bluarash said,
It probably would, but it would not hurt for Apple to take the training wheels off from their product and let the free market decide what it thinks of OSX.

It 's in the free market. You're free to buy it or not. There are no training wheels. It's a complete solution. Keeping it away from the endless mass of hardware out there preserves the integrity of the product.

Right... keeping it away from the masses of hardware lets Apple continue to pretend they have a solid product with quality developers behind it. What they have is really a cripped mix of Openstep and A/UX with a shiny UI and an updated userland (newer BSD, updated Cocoa). It is still a hybrid microkernel... like NT. The applications API(s) are not bad. This would be the one major advantage over Windows. The presentation, however, is a toy. It is closed turnkey solution, the users are immature and while it does have all core solutions, it does not go to the depths that are available on Windows.

Without competing in the free market directly, by instead redirecting their product to fill a niche role and, or "elite" consumers they are providing a training wheel experience. It is isolated and reduced in complexity. It is essentially a Mach kernel with a BSD userland subsystem that simulates a Unix experience with "training wheels." It is Unix, but it is not Unix. I wonder if Microsoft could get Unix certification for the subystem that can be installed under Windows. All it really needs is a portage tree and a good version of X... running nativly as part of the install. True, it doesn't have a Mach kernel... but would that even matter to get certification?

Sorry for the rambling. Summary: turnkey solution out of box, closed, locked down... limited hardware and software support... niche market... lack of true free market enterprise... hence, training wheels and, or toy.

bluarash said,
Right... keeping it away from the masses of hardware lets Apple continue to pretend they have a solid product with quality developers behind it. What they have is really a cripped mix of Openstep and A/UX with a shiny UI and an updated userland (newer BSD, updated Cocoa). It is still a hybrid microkernel... like NT. The applications API(s) are not bad. This would be the one major advantage over Windows. The presentation, however, is a toy. It is closed turnkey solution, the users are immature and while it does have all core solutions, it does not go to the depths that are available on Windows.

Without competing in the free market directly, by instead redirecting their product to fill a niche role and, or "elite" consumers they are providing a training wheel experience. It is isolated and reduced in complexity. It is essentially a Mach kernel with a BSD userland subsystem that simulates a Unix experience with "training wheels." It is Unix, but it is not Unix. I wonder if Microsoft could get Unix certification for the subystem that can be installed under Windows. All it really needs is a portage tree and a good version of X... running nativly as part of the install. True, it doesn't have a Mach kernel... but would that even matter to get certification?

Sorry for the rambling. Summary: turnkey solution out of box, closed, locked down... limited hardware and software support... niche market... lack of true free market enterprise... hence, training wheels and, or toy.

What do you mean by "reduced in complexity"?

I think you know what I mean. The entire process is designed to be simplistic. The trouble is that when you reduce complexity... you take features away from the end-user. Apple markets this as a good thing. I am not so sure. The system can not be fine tuned like Linux (or Windows for that matter). Drag and drop software installs are an example. Seriously? On a PC not designed for grade school children? Wow. Next, look at the Unix subsystem that is provided with their list of ports and third party repositories. Most of the applications are there, but they are horribly broken or limited in feature. Their X session is not much better.

bluarash said,
I think you know what I mean. The entire process is designed to be simplistic. The trouble is that when you reduce complexity... you take features away from the end-user. Apple markets this as a good thing. I am not so sure. The system can not be fine tuned like Linux (or Windows for that matter). Drag and drop software installs are an example. Seriously? On a PC not designed for grade school children? Wow. Next, look at the Unix subsystem that is provided with their list of ports and third party repositories. Most of the applications are there, but they are horribly broken or limited in feature. Their X session is not much better.

These are just your misconceptions. The Unix Terminal on OS X works like any other.

The applications we have for every task are full featured. Simplicity is it's strength. Most of the fine-tuning you do with Windows involves fixing it, or fine-tuning things that should have been "tuned" properly in the first place.

You're making a lot of unfounded assumptions. Most of them arise from never having any OS X experience in the first place.

The trouble is I have been using OS X since the public beta. I began to fall out of favor with it between 10.3 and 10.4. The application range is not full featured. The Unix system is limited, until recently it was not even case sensitive (this should have been done with the first release). The port tree is pathetic for Unix applications.

I was talking about Windows with fine tuning, but the same basic fine tuning is available in GNU/Linux or a "proper" BSD.

Seems they've backed down after all . . . i think.

------------------------ From the above Engadget link:

"Just so we are clear on exactly what transpired yesterday.

EFIX is manufactured by Arts Studio Entertainment Media of Taiwan.
EFIX USA is the USA distributor of the EFIX device and is based in Los Angeles, CA.

We at EFIX USA have had numerous inquiries over the past 4 months about whether or not we would be willing to pre assemble a functioning PC using parts from the official EFIX Hardware Compatibility List. We are still willing to do that on a one off basis, but the parent company of EFIX has reversed course on us doing that as a commercial product so we pulled it from our website.

Any inquiries should be directed to sales2@efixusa.com

Thank you and sorry for the confusion."

However, the reason they backed off is doubtless due to veiled threats from Apple Legal (or someone connected, either directly or indirectly, to Apple). Apple has proved to be *the* most willing to defend their IP, either directly or indirectly, against what they see as *unfair competitive practices* via the lawsuit route (usurping that title from Disney), and that goes back before their wrangling with Psystar.

What's worse, in my own humble opinion, is Apple still seems determined to *have their cake and eat it too*; they can run Windows directly (not via emulation or via VM, though they can do that as well), but they are resistive when a way is found to run their operating system on non-Apple-sourced hardware. If it were anyone *else* doing this (I'm not referring to Microsoft, but Sun Microsystems; does anyone remember the howls of protest that went up when Sun tried to kill Solaris for x86?), they would be lynched in the Court of Public Opinion!

Once again, one rule for Apple, another for everyone else.

Microsoft could restructure their EULA so that Windows could only be run on a purchased box that was supported by a vendor pre-approved by Microsoft. They could use DRM to lock-down the experience to select motherboards and hardware using existing Intel technology today. They, however, unlike Apple just want to make a profit. They don't really care who they sell Windows to. Further, given that they own the market they have little worry about hardware cannibalization because almost all hardware is written to support Windows.

Who really cares whether this company succeeds or not. I will not take the company seriously until it is readily available as a viable product on x86 hardware not supported by Apple. This will never happen. Most expects now believe that Apple, while keeping the x86 processor will slowly move to more proprietary hardware solution with stronger DRM. I am simply not interested in such a move because it is simply not ethical. Nor am I interested in paying an Apple tax for a nicer looking box with standard x86 components. There are no real luxury items. They don't even have a PMU... but a limited SMC, which is not any better than a standard PC. They have empathized USB2 over 1394a/b. Fiber/SCSI is no longer really available... just SATA in the lesser systems. They have no mid-tower solution. Their notebooks, while nice... lack many features that the Thinkpads have and are significant marked up in price. I still simply see no market for Apple beyond open source advocates that have had a following out with GNU/Linux and want something that is a Unix solution that supports commercial software by major manufactures (Coral and Adobe). I will continue to purchase ipod and products from their media division provider that experience on Windows continues to at least be "somewhat pleasant." I will never, ever purchase another "traditional" Macintosh computer (desktop, notebook).

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