Well, we've done it now
Yep, the rumors are true: Steve Jobs announced at today's WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote that Apple will be transitioning the entire family of Macintosh computers to the Intel platform within the next 2 years. See the press release: Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006.
I can't speak to any facet of this transition except that it certainly takes guts to announce it - and that it is certainly logical to do so at a Developer gathering. After all, it will be those Mac OS X developers who will either make or break this transition. Mac developers are the most creative, loyal, and demanding software engineers out there - and I hope that they see this move as one which will allow even more exposure to their products, and an even larger potential customer base.
We've known that Darwin has been running on the x86 platform all along - but although I "knew" some inside information, it was certainly surprising to see a full-fledged implementation of Mac OS X - including calculation-intensive programs, the full GUI, etc. - operating on a Pentium 4-based system. A nicely-done demo - and it was certainly a coup to get Intel's new CEO up on stage to discuss details, as well.
Note a reference from 3 years ago, which appears to be quite appropos, right about now: Apple Keeps x86 Torch Lit with 'Marklar'
Also: Note that Microsoft will be rolling out
LongwaitLonghorn around the same time as these IntelliMacs begin to hit the scene. This could prove to be a great bit of serendipity - or a horrible roaring beast, which may drown out any other announcements or attention which Apple might be hoping for.
Mark my words: We've seen the start of a HUGE change in our beloved platform today. I'm hoping for the best, but preparing for some rocky roads ahead. Will users continue to buy Mac hardware (Apple's bread-and-butter, high-margin products) now, or hold off to see how the move plays out. We'll see...
(Aside: The worst part, as a ex-Apple,now-Intel friend just reminded me, we may have to hear that damn "Intel Inside" chime in Apple hardware ads soon. I hate that sound byte... )
UPDATE: I found at least one very optimistic take on the matter. Sounds good to me, if it comes to pass...
01/2000 04/2000 08/2000 09/2000 01/2001 07/2001 09/2001 10/2001 02/2002 03/2002 05/2002 06/2002 07/2004 08/2004 09/2004 10/2004 11/2004 12/2004 01/2005 02/2005 03/2005 06/2005