It was inevitable once Apple switched to Intel that people would begin trying to run Apple’s OS on PC’s. After all the hardware gap was gone. An Apple computer just a proprietary case design with Intel hardware inside. To keep that from happening, Apple has been open about allowing Windows to run on Apple computers but going batshrieking mad when anyone even mentioned the idea of running an Apple OS on a PC.
At the end of the day a Mac is basically a trend more than a computer, a custom OS inside a custom case and not much else with a huge price tag. A Mac is more about being trendy than getting things done, it’s a statement about how hip you are, your social status and your sense of style. But like with most trendy products, take them apart, hack them and you’ve got something easily duplicated for much less, whether it’s Body Shop’s creams or Air Jordans. So now meet Steve Job’s worst nightmare. The Hackintosh.
If the high price tag for Apple hardware has kept you from buying a Mac but you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get adventurous, you can build your own “Hackintosh”—a PC that runs a patched version of OS X Leopard. What?!, you say. Apple’s move to Intel processors in 2006 meant that running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, and a community hacking project called OSx86 launched with that goal in mind. Since then, OSx86 has covered major ground, making it possible for civilians—like you and me!—to put together their own Hackintosh running Mac OS 10.5. Today, I’ll show you how to build your own high end computer running Leopard from start to finish for under $800.
Right now the cheapest Mac on sale at the Apple store is a $600 Mac Mini sporting a 1.83GHz proc, 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. For $200 more, your Hackintosh can boast a 2.2GHz proc with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB drive, and a completely upgradeable case for expanding your setup in the future.
In other words Steve Jobs’ worst nightmare, because with the Hackintosh Apple because nothing more than another flavor of OS. Apple has made money selling hardware like the Mac or the iPod or the iPhone at vastly inflated prices based on the promise of their interfaces and stylishness. Export the interface and who really needs the hardware except the terminally hip? Apple may have cornered the iPod market by exploiting iTunes but opening up OSX is the equivalent of opening up iTunes and something Apple will fight tool and nail.