Paul Murphy's has an excellent blog entry on ZDNet yesterday that throws a cold bucket of water on the irrational optimism that Apple will launch a raft of successful Intel-based Macs in 2006.
Quite a number of pundits have gone out and predicted the appearance of Intel based Powerbooks from Apple this January - but it isn't going to happen. In fact what I expect is either, or both, an Intel based Mini and/or some Intel based iBooks. Beyond that, however, Intel is just not going to happen for Apple next year - no Powerbooks, no iMacs, no Workstations, and no X-Serves.
While Paul agrees that cases can be made for the Mac mini and iBook going Intel in early 2006, he makes a pretty goood case as to why the rest of the Intel product line will take a while to catch up. His two main arguements for Intel Macs not reaching critical mass in 2006 are price...
Right now a $999 list price iBook sells in volume for something closer to $699 and earns a small but positive margin for Apple. The PowerPC G4 in that machine has a typical volume price of around $72, or about 10% of the selling price for the machine. In comparison people like Asus, Quanta and Hon Hai Precision (who make Dell, HP, and IBM gear) pay Intel on the order of $240 per unit for the two year old, 32bit, 1.8Ghz Pentium M predecessor to the "Yonah" line.
Unfortunately, "Yonah", even in its first 32bit incarnation, isn't ready and its full implementation successors, "Woodrow" and "Merom", keep getting further and further behind schedule.
Read the rest of Paul Murphy's excellent piece Apple rumours and realities.