Speculations for the past few weeks have been running high in the media and through out rumor sites around the Internet.
For the regular Apple watchers, this sort of rumors are nothing new. Similar speculations of Apple's desire to drop, the IBM/Motorola, CPU for the Intel developed CPU had came up before.
The only difference is, this time Steve Jobs confirmed it at a keynote to a roomful of developers at the company's annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco this morning (June 6, 2005 PST).
Steve job announced plans to begin delivering Macintosh computers based on the Intel processor as soon as June 2006 and to transition all Macintosh computers to use Intel processors by the end of 2007. He also previewed a Mac OS X 10.4.x ("Tiger") system running on an Intel-based Mac to the audience.
So the in the future, seeing the "Intel Inside" logo on Macintosh boxes will be a common place.
What does this really mean? Well, I will start by talking about what it DOES NOT mean...
1. It does NOT mean that you will be able to run Mac OS on a Dell or Compaq computer purchased today or in the near future. Unless Apple is willing to release its ever protective hardware production to these companies. We saw this back in the 90's and we all know what happen to those companies and their efforts.
2. It does NOT mean that you can build you own Macintosh using hardware parts purchased at your local electronic malls (for those of you who live near one).
Before I get to the "What does this really mean?", I also want to touch on what may this mean?
1. Microsoft MAY create a version of its Windows OS to run on the future Intel based Apple Macintosh. Which will be yet another attempt for Microsoft to take over 99% of the personal computing world. We cannot forget those Linux users out there.
2. Apple's Intel based Macintosh MAY be able to run Windows 2007 (or whatever it will be called then) natively (without emulation).
[Editorial: 2005.06.17 - it has been confirmed that the above 2 points are no longer relevant. Steve Jobs (Apple's CEO) has confirmed that he will alow users to wipe the Mac OS that will be preinstalled on the IntelMac and install another compatible OS. These other OS's includes current versions of Windows OS]
Now for what does this announcement mean to you, the average computing user (I make a very daring assumption that readers of my Blog are "average computing users")...
1. Apple's market share may begin to creep up; how far? If I know that I will be rich. Assuming that Apple will continue to excel in the User Interface and Industrial Design areas.
2. Apple Macintosh OS may become more acceptable in more corporate environments.
3. Apple will have a much lower cost for building these future Intel based Macintosh. Due to the massive dominance of Intel in the computing world over its competitors (AMD, and new Israel and Chinese microprocessor manufactures). Whether Apple will pass on much of these savings in production cost to its consumers is yet to be seen. Although, given Jobs' lesson learned, the chances are high that consumers will benefit from this savings.
4. Techies who refer to PC running Windows OS as "Wintel" to distinguish those PC running Macintosh OS, will no longer use this coined term. In the future it will be just Macs and Windows. I definitely do not wan to hear "Macintel".... eek!!
For the long time (over 11 years) users of Macintosh computers (Macintosh OS), this imminent transition is nothing new. Most of us went through the transition (pain) to the PowerPC processor back in the early 90's.
This will mean more work for Macintosh software companies who will again develop dual platforms versions of their applications. May be some of those Windows only software companies will now rethink their "Windows only" strategies.
All in all another major even in the computing timeline.
To be honest most of the above are my personal opinions, what actually will transpire?... Time will only tell.