June 7, 2006

AU on Windows? Not as far-fetched as you might think...

by Chris Randall

Anyone that develops audio products for OSX knew long before the Intel Macs were announced that something was cooking, due to the many hints in the various SDKs that dealt with Intel chipsets directly. We mostly assumed that Apple would announce a version of OSX for x86 machines. Technically speaking, that's exactly what they did.

As a developer, something like the following (which is in the AU SDK) can really give you the heebie-jeebies:

if (WantsRenderThreadID())



mRenderThreadID = pthread_self();


mRenderThreadID = GetCurrentThreadId();



The thing to note is the #elif TARGET_OS_WIN32 line. Why would there even be a mention of Windows in the AU SDK? There's no reason for it unless someone at Apple is working on exactly that. Food for thought, anyways. What this really gives creedance to is Adam's theory that Apple will ultimately release a customized version of Windows and call it a day.



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Jun.07.2006 @ 5:32 PM
I've been wrong before, but isn't it more likely that this is an artifact of the Win-friendly nature of QuickTime? I'd not be surprised if iTunes or something builds an AUGraph internally to handle EQ or whatever else it has to do....

Jun.07.2006 @ 5:43 PM
Chris Randall
Anything is possible, and with Apple, you really never know. If ever there was a company for which the following quote were applicable, it would be them:

"Airstrip One is part of the vast political entity Oceania, which is eternally at war with one of two other vast entities, Eurasia and Eastasia. At any moment, depending upon current alignments, all existing records show either that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia, or that it has always been at war with Eastasia and allied with Eurasia."



Jun.07.2006 @ 5:59 PM
Jeff C
> What this really gives creedance to is Adam's theory that Apple will
> ultimately release a customized version of Windows and call it a day.

Apple is, above all else, a hardware company which uses its software/OS to differentiate itself from the pack.

If all they had software-wise was a prettified version of Windows, their products would lose much of their added/perceived value. This is particularly true now that much of Apple's hardware platform has gone mainstream.

Sure, a handful of people will still buy Apple hardware at a premium for the "fit and finish" that Dell doesn't offer, but as was shown when Apple opened their platform up to cloning in the mid 90's they can't rely on perceived hardware quality alone. The #1 thing that sells their computers is their OS/software.

I suspect that if Apple became little more than a glorified PC clone maker, much of their market would dry up and go elsewhere. I know I would.


As for the above, I imagine that it's just a case of good coding practice. As shown by the Intel shift it's important to plan ahead and be nimble, "just in case". It's probably not in the cards now, but someone in Cupertino must have figured that they may want to conceivably support AU under Windows at some point down the road. I know that make a practice of scaffolding stuff like this myself when I code, even if I never implement it.


Jun.07.2006 @ 6:28 PM
Chris Randall
Heh. You obviously aren't too familiar with Apple's audio SDKs then. The word "oblique" is the first thing that comes to mind. Their standard practices, while manifold, definitely don't ever involve "scaffolding" just in case. If it's there, it's there for a reason.



Jun.07.2006 @ 7:28 PM
The theory that Apple will switch to customized Windows for their OS was actually thrown out there by John C. Dvorak on PC Magazine earlier this year.

link [www.pcmag.com],1895,1923151,00.asp">link [www.pcmag.com]


Jun.07.2006 @ 8:11 PM
Introducing AU on windows is something, trashing os X and replacing it with windows is something else.
While the first is possible, because there's already Apple software running on windows, I can't see any reason they would put an inferior os on their machines, given that it's what really differentiates their computers from a common wintel.
AU on windows would make it a standard as powerful as VST.
This could make sense and attract developers.

Jun.07.2006 @ 9:09 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, and a year and a half ago, no one would have thought they would put an "inferior" CPU in their machines either. How's that Kool-Aid taste?

As I've said many times, I'm a fan of Apple's products, and fan is short for "fanatic," at least in English. That doesn't make me stupid or blind, though.



Jun.07.2006 @ 10:02 PM
penzoil washington
yes, but nonetheless this is a bunky theory, WADR.

First of all, iTunes doesn't make significant profits. iPods do, of course, but they aren't as profitable as Macs - still Apple's #1 profit center, last I checked (those $3300 G5 quads are very profitable, expecially paired with the $2500 Cinema HD Display).

Right now they're poised to have an all-Intel lineup which can run either OS, their own OS is earning great marks in the consumer press, they've got a comprehensive suite of consumer-grade apps bundled with the machines, they've got their own solid pro platforms (FCP, Logic, etc.)..... and then there's Mr. Jobs, who I imagine would *adore* the surrender monkey strategy posited by Adam.

Apple is actually big enough now to keep doing the OS and to branch out into digital (communications?) devices for consumers.
With their ridiculously low market share, the potential for higher profits from computers is real with an uptick in any sector....

Whatever you think about the company, I don't think this is the moment for them to throw in the towel on OS X.

and zolberg is right, it could bring more plugs to the mac if they supported Win in AU.


Jun.07.2006 @ 10:17 PM
Chris Randall
I agree with you 100%. I'm just saying that anyone that ever planned on Apple taking the most logical course of action, well, they're wrong pretty much all of the time. Especially with Jobs at the helm.

That said, I for one would be incredibly happy if AU was Win as well as OSX. This would make development for those of us that already know the platform much easier (since we could do it on our PCs using the much more logical Visual Studio instead of the quirky and balky Xcode) and increase our market share because we'd be on the ball, like we were when the UB switched, which gives me an opportunity to point out again that Audio Damage was the first commercial developer to market with a Universal Binary AU/VST.



Jun.07.2006 @ 10:30 PM
Perhaps Apple is going to offer Logic for Windows again? Ok yea I'm just being silly.


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