Apple and the switch to Intel based Mac's

Topics: 

Over the summer hell froze over, but we didn't notice it. First Apple announced they would switch to the Intel processor line for their future computers. Second they announced a mouse with multiple buttons. I swear, the world didn't collapse, though the seriousness of hurricane season this year may make one step back and ponder a bit.

Anyway ...

The switch to Intel processors is causing some consternation as one just has to wonder "why"? Also it's gonna cause some headaches to software houses that sell to the Mac market. But, from my perspective, it's causing a doubt over the future success of the Mac brand and user environment.

First, a little context: P.A. Semi's major PowerPC announcement, and looking back at The Switch (arsTechnica, by 10/26/2005 4:06:22 PM, by Hannibal)

When Steve Jobs made the announcement of The Switch, the reason given pointed to an inability of IBM to deliver processors with the desired performance/watt metrics. Apple hasn't been able to deliver a G5 notebook, nor one with greater than 2 ghz CPU, because of the performance/watt. Yet over in the x86 world there are plenty of processors to choose from that provide the desired performance/watt, at least that's what Steve claimed. Except, they chose Intel, a company with a bad performance/watt track-record (except for the Pentium M supposedly).

Hannibal's argument is the performance/watt measure is a smoke screen, and that Apple's real focus is on the gadgetry they're developing.

One can clearly see truth to that argument -- over the last year Apple Stores have become more like iPod Stores, with an afterthought of carrying some computers. The iPod is a huge deal for Apple, making for a huge portion of their sales, and no doubt they're interested in broadening the line of consumer electronics gadgets they make. e.g. there's no reason they couldn't make a standalone stereo component gadget that has some iPodish features, iTunes music store features, etc, dispensing with the attempt to make it into a full fledged computer.

When he first made this argument it was more than a little farfetched ... however ... since then some announcements have come out showing some truth to it. e.g. IBM announced further refinement of the Power PC CPU, and then PA Semi came out of the woodwork delivering a Power PC CPU with tremendously great performance/watt measurements.

In other words, real honest to goodness solid evidence now exists that Steve Jobs is throwing a smoke screen.

Which makes me wonder what's going on? AND, more importantly, does this threaten the viability of the Mac OS X system?

My reason for switching to Mac OS X was to avoid Windows like the plague ... and the OS X system offered Unix-with-a-pretty-face. But if Apple is going to de-emphasize work on OS X because they're caught up in the iPod-mania and can only see the need for more gadgets, then what's going to happen to OS X??