Apple's announcement that it is moving its processors to Intel "by 2007" is big news, and great news for me. I'm well aware of the backlash potential such a decision can have; I watched the webcast of the keynote address at WWDC and could hear the smattering of boos and hisses. Luckily, sanity prevailed and the greater part of the crowd was warm, even enthusiastic, about the announcement. I understand the psychological barrier to accepting such a switch when Appleistas spend so much time cultivating the War of the Different, but this just makes so much sense you have to look past that.
There's a lot to like here. The best thing, and I have to hand it to Apple, is they don't announce things before they are ready. Specifically, Jobs had everything lined up for this. Tiger already runs on Intel; the dev kits and even the developer boxes (looks like a 3.6ghz P4) are ready to ship. The price isn't bad. XCode 2.1 is already out. Rosetta (the dynamic translation/virtual machine for PowerPC apps to run on Intel) is already out. There is no waiting around for Apple to get with the program (unlike their Java support). And that just means that this will all be less painful for everyone. The best part of the keynote was Theo Gray's presentation on Mathematica5 and the fact that they just ported it three days before the show, in under 2 hours. Good stuff.
As for me, I love my Mac. I want nothing more than to ensconce myself in the luxuriousness of OSX. Unfortunately for me, I do most of my work on a laptop. My PowerBook G4 is well-built. Its display is luscious. The backlit keyboard is a great touch for dark flights. Everything about it and the OS screams "I am built for you; love me!" Except for one little thing: using the laptop as a laptop always reminds me of one of my favorite bands, Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts. And stuck on the G4 for a while now, development work is getting S-L-O-W-E-R all the time. I need more speed and less heat. It looks like the PowerPC isn't going to get me there. If I can get an Intel-based PowerBook in 2006 that doubles the speed and halves the heat, I'll be about the happiest guy on the block.