With Apple's accelerated delivery roadmap now unveiled for the screaming Intel Duo dual-core chip-based iMac and MacBook Pro models, there comes a burning question: What about the OS 9 graphics and customized niche apps crowd?
Apple's core constituencies through thick and thin, those architects and graphical designers et al, still have a ton of investment in OS 9 applications -- native to the PowerPC architecture. They will want to continue to run those applications for some time, so an accelerated move to Intel may tend to spook, rather than evoke shivers of joy.
Apple says Rosetta will make the translation seemless from Power to Intel, but not for OS 8 and OS 9 users, who have no new apparent hardware roadmap once Apple ends Power-based box production this year.
Already Mac resellers tell me they've seen some runs on Power-based Macs by OS 9/Classic shops. If these core users and administrators can't gain the hardware support they need, they will be forced to port or begin application development (or commercial software purchases) anew. Will they stay with OS X? Will they find commerical software on OS X? Or will they base their new app dev on Intel of a different color: gray.
I suppose one key indicator of how well the conversion of the OS 9/Classic street is going to OS X on Intel is to watch on eBay how older Power-based Macs sell once the well of new Power-based hardware dries up.
For those of you speed-demons rushing to swap out your older Macs (beginning next month!) to the screaming new Intel Macs, hold on to your Power-based hardware. A graphics artist somewhere may pay you well for it in 2007 on eBay.