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Has hell frozen over?

That was the question many people were asking this week as Apple CEO Steve Jobs invited his counterpart at Intel to take the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Jobs took much of his shorter-than-usual one hour keynote explaining to the 3,800 developers that the transition wouldn’t be as difficult as they might think—in this regard he seems to have succeeded.

For the most part developers are not that concerned about the transition. Apple has set up a strategy that will allow most of the applications to be ported to the new Intel chip fairly simply. That was the key issue—if Apple left the developers behind, any success the Mac has seen over the past couple of years would have been lost.

Key developers like Adobe and Microsoft have already pledged their support to deliver native applications on the Apple/Intel architecture. This is another huge win for the transition—smaller developers need to know that Jobs has the support of the big guns, and apparently he does.

With the developer question out of the way, I then thought about what I, as a Mac user, wanted from Apple. I must admit that I’m growing tired of listening to the reasons why a PowerPC chip is better, technically, than Intel or AMD.

When it comes right down to it, as a user of a Macintosh computer, I want the fastest computer I can possibly get. If that system uses a PowerPC chip, fine. If it uses Intel, fine. I don’t really care if Jobs and Jon Rubinstein rewire their toaster oven components and make a fast computer—if that’s what works, fine.

So, back to the original question—has hell frozen over? I think not. For years, Mac users have been conditioned to hate Intel—much of the backlash we see from users is probably due to this deep seated notion that Intel is the bad guy.

I think if we take a step back and listen to what Steve said about the PowerPC and Intel roadmaps, we have to conclude that he made the right move—or at the very least he is making the move for the best interests of the company and its users. After all, Jobs did promise a 3GHz G5 within a year… two years ago.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the Apple/Intel relationship. All of us at Macworld will be digging to find out the answers to help educate you and ourselves.

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