Now that I have had 24 hours to really think about it, I see this as the best move Apple has ever made. It was bold and it apparently has been executed with a lot of forethought. I'm going to list out a few of the positives and negatives in bullet point style if you need some help with perspective:
Positives as I see them:
• Apple has had this plan in place for 5+ years - as a backup developing concurrent versions of Mac OS X for CISC chips (Intel) & RISC chips (PowerPC)
• Apple will make the transition to Intel Chips easier than the transition of OS 9 to OS X
• It seems most all applications that already run natively on Mac OS X PPC will run fine in OS X for Intel
• This will alleviate production and progress concerns that Apple has had for YEARS with IBM and Motorola
• This will eliminate the Megahertz myth stigma that surrounds Apple Computer. Now Apple will be able to offer a faster, more secure OS on the same speed processor. So, those selling Macs will no longer have to explain why Macs have slower speed processors. Most retail PCs also do not have dual processors - this could be a HUGE benefit if Apple can start to squeeze dual Pentium processors into their entire line of computers.
• This will make running Windows applications as easy as running Mac applications and therefore eliminate the transcoding of games - games will now only need to be tweaked for the Mac.
• This potentially opens up the entire "Pentium required" library of software - also eliminating a reason not to buy a Mac - and giving hundreds if not thousands of oulets for software.
• This opens HP, Dell, and Sony up to potential installation of the Mac OS AND could VERY possibly allow Apple to truly compete on innovation in hardware and design. Apple would remain a hardware maker and maintain their current hardware marketshare of somewhere around 5% - 10% - keeping them as a LEXUS or BMW type player.
• Apple has included a technology called Rosetta which promises to run most apps currently on the Mac exceptionally well on the Intel based Macs - unlike using classic (OS 9) with OSX currently - this is NOT an emulation - instead it's a forced code translation - emulating the PowerPC processor instead (sort of, but not totally).
Negatives as I see them:
• In a lot of ways, this really undermines Independent Apple Resellers. Just two days ago, I was explaining the advantages of a RISC chip vs a CISC chip with a customer. Now, that argument no longer separates Macs and PCs
• It appeared to me that IBM was on the edge of a true, meaningful leap forward (but see further explanation below) and the RISC PowerPC was going to succeed
• Intel has hyped for years that they have wanted to switch to RISC - I suppose both Apple and Intel are conceding RISC to the embedded market and leaving Linux and Windows Mobile to run on these devices. (Which may just be genius, but I'll get to that in minute)
• Apple has asked a lot of it's users over the last 12 years - this is by far the biggest leap - I have always liked Apple for their software AND their hardware - I pray this doesn't turn Apple into a hardware reference design and software company.
• It appears most all software will run (albeit slower) under Rosetta - a technology Apple is including with OSX for Intel - key words are most all.
After watching the keynote twice, it seems to me Apple is doing a very good job relying on and working with the competition. The best way to compete is to be best friends with the competition and have rivalry rather than insidious backstabbing. Apple seems to have succesfully done this with Microsoft, and now, with Intel. May this be a lesson to the Apple & iPod Peripheral Industry!
Steve Jobs had a read between the lines comment that made GREAT sense to me. IBM now has Microsoft's XBox, Nintendo's Revolution, and Sony's Playstation 3 as customers. This sounds like it would have been a good thing for Apple to have that many strong partners. Here's the hidden conspiracy in that. The Sony Playstation has had the same processor since 1996 and was revamped 6 YEARS later. The Xbox has had the same processor for 4 years and isn't being updated until August of this year! It is doubtful the Nintendo Revolution will even be a player in the next generation of gaming consoles. All three must compete against the Mac and PC for gaming, not to mention all the other niche players - such as vintage games built into a joystick.
So why is that meaningful? This could very well mean that IBM could be content with a processor for 6 years. 6 years ago we hardly had good G3's!!! Macs were at 400Mhz G3s 6 years ago. If IBM was making millions of processors at 3 Ghz - what's their motivation to make anything higher for Apple?
The biggest coup here may be that of Linux. With a true UNIX based sytem now on Intel boxes and no meaningful consumer LINUX on RISC processors ... this could effectively kill Linux on the desktop and at the same time - make Linux TWICE AS STRONG by making it the sole benefactor of the embedded market; as most embedded chips (for onboard car computers, handheld devices, etc) are RISC based.
Motorola and IBM have really let Apple down. Motorola with the G4 - not being able to scale it it more than 10% every 16 months and now IBM not being able to scale the G5 at all. (especially seeing since they told Steve Jobs to expect 4Ghz G5's by the summer of 2004 - so he conservatively announced 3Ghz - it's now a year later and G5s top out at 2.7Ghz - now that I look at it - I would have done the exact same thing - Congratulations Steve for leading a company the right way - with will, guts, and courage!
I'm going to make this first quote that Jackwhispers will be remembered for:
"There are no longer enemies; but the war itself has been lengthened by decades"
Explanation: Microsoft and Intel (previously considered enemies took the stage yesterday at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, but the battle for Apple marketshare was just lengthened.