Today’s big news, for me at least, is that Apple will be moving to use Intel chips in Macs, in place of the PowerPC chip that’s been used for the last ten years or so. This isn’t good news for Mac users, since the required transitions are always messy and painful. The reason for the shift is that IBM, which produces the PowerPC, has been unwilling or unable to produce a low-heat version of the G5 chip for use in Powerbooks. The shift marks the end of the PowerPC strategy, which began as an alliance between Apple, IBM and Motorola and seemed at first likely to produce a serious alternative to Intel’s dominance of the CPU market.
The good news for Mac users is that, thanks to the massive success of the iPod and the flow-on effects to Mac sales, Apple is in a stronger position to make this move than at any time in years. In addition, the Mac OS itself is easily portable. Still, I expect some of my favorite obscure applications will struggle to make the change.
Another item in the positive column is that this ought to make it easier to run Windows on the occasions I need it (I currently use the Virtual PC emulator which is impressive, considering, but still problematic), and may also reduce the difficulty of porting Windows software to Mac.