(I make myself laugh. How on earth did I copy/paste the markdown version of this post into Blogger?)
What on earth is the deal with people thinking that the Mac mini will be the first, or among the first, Apple computer to switch to the Intel chip? It’s ridiculous!
Steve said that the Intel chip would debut in the “low-end” (or something along those lines, I’m too lazy to check). That’s clearly because the G5 is holding its own pretty well in the applications where its deployed. (In fact, I’m a bit bummed at this last minute switch because it really did seem like PowerPC was on the verge of becoming sustainable. But that’s armchair analysis for you!)
So what will be the first Intel Mac? Very very obviously, it’ll be the PowerBook. This is the computer that has been in a world of hurt for a long time now; not that they’re bad machines exactly, (ask John Gruber) just that, as J.G. says, they’ve only increased in max. clock speed by 33% in the last two years. Moore’s Law, indeed.
With an Intel PowerBook, Apple will be able to start from scratch, which I predict they’ll do, and usher in the next generation laptop that sets the scene for the next several years. Think the late G3 PowerBooks, the sexiest computers Apple’s every shipped; then the G4 PowerBooks, whose design was so good it’s still up-to-date after so many years.
At this time, Apple might bump up the iBooks to fill the performance slot of the G4 PowerBooks, but I can’t imagine them going whole hog with both brands. (Under the assumption they will keep the consumer/pro division with the laptop range. I think it’s a good idea, at least.)
Now (I just read) there’re rumours (no need to link; you know where) that Intel iBooks are rolling out in January. Nice and early I suppose, which, as someone else commented (again, where’s my link?) is a nice PR boost that they’re “ahead of schedule” even if they intended it all along.
But I just don’t see the logic in it. The PowerBooks were just updated and January’s too soon to be rolling out the next big notebook thing. So what’s the deal? It would be plain weird if Apple announces their flagship new Intel product (because this is a big thing) as a cost competitive bare-bones notebook! In conclusion, Think Secret wrong; I still expect awesome PowerBooks (or, fingers crossed, something even better like a tablet; I’m not holding my breathe, though, for a couple of reasons) as the first Intel Mac available, with the good chance of iBooks at the same time. But, ha, what do I know? I’m just an armchair analyst.
I would never have gotten into this mess if I’d just avoided Think Secret like I was supposed to. The wait’s more fun when it makes sense.
P.S. I actually just realised this post was hardly about Mac minis at all; I guess I put them in the same boat as the iBook; it might turn up at the same time, but it’ll be exactly what you expect. Why bother thinking about the inevitable as opposed to secret and exciting PowerBook developments?