So a few days after the anouncement, what do we think as developers and as Mac users ?
Apple want to increase its market share and IBM can't ship PowerPC in the required quantities and with the low-consumption specification for portable applications. The decrease of production cost for PowerPC-based motherboards is not as fast as what happens in the Intel world.
It was the only solution...
Do we believe in a complete transition in two years ?
Well if IBM solves its problems and propose competitive solutions for high-end machines (and we all know the PowerPC is more powerful for scientific or floating-point hungry applications), Mac OS X will probably continue its way on PowerPC-based machine as the top of the line Macintoshes.
Will these hypothetic PowerPC-based machines still be labeled Apple ? Yes.
Will these hypothetic PowerPC-based machines still be engineered by Apple ? Maybe not at 100%. Motherboards will probably be IBM-ones, closer to the ones used in POWER machines (cost, cost, cost,...).
The switch may mean "no more Apple-engineered mother boards", but probably not "no more PowerPC-based" Apple computers. But this is now in the hands of IBM.
As developers, the switch is very interesting because the ideal platform for every small to large customer in the near future will be a Macintosh based on Intel architecture, with a native version of Virtual PC able to run at near full speed old MS-DOS (yes, believe it or not, they are still running these ones...) or custom Windows applications.
This platform becomes the ideal solution for vertical and large accounts (think financial ones): Mac OS X providing the main secure and virus free OS from which you can surf the Net without (too much) hassle, and on which you can develop modern and user-friendly applications based on Cocoa in a fraction of the cost of the same thing on Windows.
The Windows OS running under Virtual PC guarantees access to your custom solution (old fashioned/buggy/ill-conceived/not-user friendly/unsecure - choose the one corresponding to your situation) for the time of the transition to a full native Mac OS X/Cocoa based applications.
Yes, the horizon is very sunny for us, developers with Cocoa experience !
And as Mac users, what do we think ?
As long as the Macintosh experience continues, long life Apple !