Now, I don’t want to go alarming people, but I think we may be coming up on a fairly large moment here. ZDNet is reporting that Apple will switch to Intel chips on Monday at WWDC. This is the sort of earthshaking news that caused one Slashdot reader to adequately describe the situation in the terms of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and others:
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
Of course, when the original rumor hit the wires last month, John Gruber was there to take it all apart and look it in detail. His best argument, and perhaps the most compelling negative here is:
No, the obvious problem with this idea is marketing: the minute Apple announces they’re moving to x86 processors, sales of current hardware dry up. Who’s going to spend $3000 for a deprecated CPU architecture?
Apple is still a public company. Apple still needs to make money hand over fist. Apple wants to keep their stock price high. Personally, as a shareholder, I’m glad this is hitting on the weekend when the markets are closed, this is the sort of wacky story that would either cause my stock to plummet or skyrocket depending on how folks are interpretting the rumors.
If Apple does this, and doesn’t do it with such crystalline clarity that explains why people will continue to buy Apple CPUs over the next year until an Intel switch would occur, why Apple is making such a monumental leap over the Springfield Gorge on a skateboard, and the timing for such a decision, this is going to be a horrific event for Apple in the PR marketplace, on the floor of the stock exchange and in the hearts and minds of every Apple fanatic.
These are the times that try mens’ souls. Or, at least make you think a little harder than usual. Or something on that order. That being said, I trust Apple to do the right thing. They know they can’t get by entirely on iPods for a full business year until the new hardware is ready.
Intel? Big Blue? What’s your thinking?