Or: Why Apple Moving to Intel Chips is No Big Deal
So by now all of those who pay attention to such things have heard. On Monday, June 6th at the 2005 WWDC, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would be gradually transitioning their systems from the PowerPC chips supplied by IBM to some form of chip from Intel.
Keep in mind, this is not the "so?" of a non-Mac-using PC-head. This is the "so?" of a Mac-loving, Microsoft-hating, graphic artist who's credentials as a rabid Mac Zealot are doubted by no one. You are reading the words of a man who once turned down a paying job because they wanted me to work on a Windows toybox, telling the prospective employer "I cannot work for someone who will not allow me to use the proper tools to do the job. Asking anyone to actually do work on a Windows machine is the same as telling your mechanic he has to fix everything on your Mercedes with a Sledge Hammer."
But I digress. As usual.
The reason I say "so" to this big news is that it doesn't affect me. Or you. Or really anyone at this point, other than developers of applications that run on Mac OSX. My system, a venerable Dual 450 MHZ G4, still works. The system I am about to acquire, a young and exciting Dual 2.3 GHZ G5, will also work. It will serve me for 5 years just as my beloved G4 has done. The system you have now will continue to work beautifully (provided you are on a Mac, if you are on Windows, your system never worked well). Any system you buy from now until the Intel transition is complete, and indeed afterwards, will work perfectly well. The transition will, for the users, be totally transparent. We will probably be only peripherally aware it has even happened.
If you are a developer, things will be different for you. You will have to tweak some of your code over the next year. But, seriously, wouldn't you be doing that anyway? No developer I know sits on their butt for a year at a time and does not touch their code. So basically developers are simply going to be tweaking their code, like they would do anyway, over the next year or so. Surely a nightmare come true (note sarcasm).
Another little bit of twaddle I keep hearing in places like the MacAddict Forums is that developers are "angry" at this news.
I watched that Quicktime stream of the keynote. I heard the reaction. Sounded to me like the developers were pretty damn happy. This was the audience at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference. This isn't some consumer expo. The people in the audience enthusiastically applauding were the developers. They were the very people that are going to be doing those tweaks to their code. They sounded pretty hyped over the news. I'll take that reaction as a barometer over the uninformed and formless comments of some dink on a message board any day, thank you.
I think the comments by Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen best captured the attitude of developers when he took the stage with Steve Jobs on Monday and said, referring to the switch to Intel, "What took you so long?"