Apple could use the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to ensure that only Mac computers can run its OS X operating system, according to a news analysis from Gartner.
The TPM is an open industry standard governed by the Trusted Computing Group, a non-profit organisation which develops security standards.
The chip is used to securely store and encrypt information. Because each chip has a unique identifier code, it could also be used to distinguish a Mac computer from a model made by Dell or any other Windows vendor.
Apple revealed last week that it is to switch from IBM's Power PC architecture to Intel's x86 models. The first Intel computers are expected to be available before June 2006 and Apple's entire product line will have switched architectures by 2007, the company said at its annual World Wide Developers Conference.
With Macs and Windows machines sharing the same hardware platform, users could theoretically install any software on the PCs, running Windows on a Mac or OS X on a Dell.
But Apple has stated that it would prevent users from installing OS X on non-Mac hardware.
A spokeswoman for the TPG confirmed to vnunet.com that there is nothing preventing Apple from implementing the module.
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