As the Macintosh market shrinks, one option open to Apple in the future is the frequently-rumoured move into the Intel-based market. This has suddenly been given a big boost in the credibility stakes, following a hysterical rumour that Motorola, which makes the Mac processor (the Power PC chip) is going to drop Mac-related chip development.
The rumour is said by sources inside all parts of Motorola to be literally incredible; Apple is the only really large customer Motorola has for state-of-the-art PowerPC chips. Once the chips become standard parts, no longer suitable for desktop personal computers, they become invaluable components for Motorola's 'embedded systems' market in devices from cars to phone switchboards -- so the theory that it could 'pull out' of Mac chip development seems impossible.
What makes it worth reporting is not the rumour itself, but the circumstances which gave birth to it: a reported conversation between Apple's Steve Jobs and Chris Galvin, CEO of Motorola.
Apparently, Steve Jobs revealed that his own long-term ambitions for Apple involved dropping the current range of desktop personal systems, and switching over to Intel-based servers (running NextStep-derived OS) plus network computers on the desktop.
Hysteria is building up rapidly, following the Apple takeover of Power Computing and the decision to stop supplying Mac clone-builders with licences. The result is that the story is being taken very seriously by Mac analysts, even though no comfirmation is available, and though Motorola is known to be readying new Mac designs for later this year.