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I know it's possible to run a PC emulator and virtual machine on a Mac, but why is it you can't emulate a Mac on the PC? Both run on Intel chips these days.

I ask because I'd like to try my hand at iPhone development but don't want to shell out for a dedicated Mac laptop, even a used one, if I can help it.

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It isn't as though you can't, It is just that they do not want you to.

Apple have their EULA that states you can't install it on non Apple hardware.

At the end of the day, if you turn off some of the ACPI features and add a couple of lines to a VMX file (which I probably shouldn't be going in to detail on here) you can run OSX fine within a virtual machine.

OSX 86 Project is a very good source of news for OSX on pc.

When it comes down to it, the reason it is not more common knowledge is because Apple doesn't want it to be!

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Voila, you surpassed me! Gratz and +1 – Ivo Flipse Sep 23 '09 at 20:33
It feels good to help people, but I can't believe how much time I have spent here! I am at my desk almost all day and I just refresh between calls and email e.t.c. Going to have to block the site as I am getting less work done! – William Hilsum Sep 23 '09 at 20:36
Thanks to everyone for the info. It does seem strange though, that Apple gets to host VMs running Linux and Windows (and others) and they're not being pushed back on by Microsoft and the Linux vendors to return the favor... – Jim Bancroft Sep 24 '09 at 16:30
That's Apple for you! I hate the fact that Bootcamp is marketed as "Macs are powerful enough that they can even run Windows "... or along those lines, it drives me mad that they are the ones that limit their software so it can't run and if anything it just shows how flexible Windows is that it can run on any platform! – William Hilsum Sep 24 '09 at 17:28

Because they only want it running on hardware you buy from them. It's more of a legal issue with regards to licensing than a limitation issue. There are projects out there (iDeneb) that help you run a Mac OS on other hardware.

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There's more to a computer than its microprocessor. In the case of Mac OS X, Apple controls the entire in-box hardware ecosystem, and therefore only warrants that OS X will run on its own machines.

Apple employs some additional hardware, and Mac OS X checks for that hardware.

There are "hackintoshes" available -- that is, there are ways to hack OS X into running on some PCs. I was sort-of successfully running one as an alternative boot on my last PC for a while (no networking nor audio). This is, however, a violation of Apple's end user licensing agreement, and software updates often break these deployments.

In any event, I'm not aware any virtualized hackintosh solution at this point. My experience with the hackintosh I had led me to buy a new MacBook last year (replacing my prior PowerBook, which was on its last legs), a decision I have not regretted one bit since.

My official recommendation is buy an inexpensive, used MacBook or Mac Mini running on Intel chips, then Snow Leopard if needed. Easier than trying to get a hackintosh running -- and if you factor in your time at a certain hourly rate, it may ultimately be cheaper. (It was for me -- and I bought a $1300 laptop!)

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Though it's not like you couldn't buy (nearly) the same hardware as inside a Mac – Ivo Flipse Sep 23 '09 at 20:32
The additional hardware in a Mac is a TPM; that's basically it. The other difference is that Macs don't use BIOS, they use EFI. However, there are PCs that also use EFI and have TPMs. – alex Sep 23 '09 at 20:41
True to both comments, but it's still enough of a PITA to get a legally-purchased out-of-box copy of OS X running on non-Apple hardware that I still recommend going with the cheapest real Mac you can find. :) – John Rudy Sep 23 '09 at 20:47
It's not that hard. I use a hackintosh and it took me only about 2-3 hours to install and make everything work like on a normal Mac (CPU, GPU, sound, networking, everything). – alex Sep 23 '09 at 20:53
Depends a LOT on the hardware you already have. My hardware was decidedly not Mac-friendly. (It took me several hours just to get video at anything other than 1024x768.) There's a lot of YMMV in doing hackintoshes. – John Rudy Sep 23 '09 at 20:58

What John T said, and that Apple licensing prohibits you running their OS on anything other than Apple hardware.

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You can, but it breaks the eula, and there's no VM that officially supports it (except on OS X itself, and then only the server edition). Requires a fair bit of setup (moreso than a standard hackintosh) I never got it working, but I've been assured it's possible.

And the whole licensing thing.

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There are VMs that support Mac OS. You can use both Parallels and VMWare to virtualize Mac OS Server. Another limitation is that it can only be virtualized on a Mac. – alex Sep 23 '09 at 20:37
Ah, I've never had a mac to play around with like I can my PC, so I didn't know. Thanks :) – Phoshi Sep 23 '09 at 21:54
No problem! I'm almost becoming an expert on the Mac OS EULA :) – alex Sep 23 '09 at 21:59

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