Guess I was wrong about that whole Intel thing, huh?
The afternoon of the announcement I was describing myself as “lost and frightened” to people who knew me as a long-time Mac fan — but that was (mostly) a joke.
Now that we’ve all had a month to let the news sink in, it appears that this will be a good decision for Apple to have made, and most people seem to agree. Of course there will always be the usual idiotic comments from analysts. One important point made by Matt Deatherage is that (contrary to some misguided advice) there is no reason not to buy a PowerPC-based Mac today if you need one — it will continue to run all existing Mac software through the transition and beyond, whereas Intel-based Macs may not run existing software as smoothly at first (apart from the usual first-generation glitches).
On the other hand, if I were in the market for a new PowerBook but didn’t need one in the next six months or so, I would definitely wait to see what’s announced in the new year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Intel-based portables (or even Minis) announced in January at MacWorld Expo and shipping shortly thereafter (although March might be more likely). Meanwhile, we should see new PowerPC-based desktops this fall. (I hope so — I’ve got a developer hardware key I need to use by mid-November, and my G4 (Digital Audio) is getting a little long in the tooth.)
But for most end-users there will be no discernible difference between PowerPC-based Macs and Intel-based Macs. (Unless you rely on something that runs in Classic; then you may want to stock up on PowerPC machines over the next year.)
Developers? Well, Mac developers continue to live in interesting times — maybe a little more interesting than before.