Bad news on the Intel Mac front:

The work required to transition Carbon applications such as Photoshop and Office is reportedly substantial.

Guess I shoulda sold short when the Intel Macs came out after the initial stock explosion.

Nobody knows what the Intel Macs are going to mean for long-term development. From all I've seen, most everything works right well in Rosetta, at least speed wise. Heck, with two processors, give or take, it's no surprise that the new Intel Macs are able to keep up fairly well with the G5 iMacs that preceeded them. People who upgrade today shouldn't be any less happy with their experience on Macs than those who swapped up to G5s a few months ago.

But the problem, as I've suggested, is that pretty danged large companies ain't real sure if shoving tons of dough into Mac versions of their apps is the best place to invest their resources -- again, mind you: once for OS X and Carbonizing and now for a complete rewrite. Carbon was supposed to be the route Apple gave for salvaging old code and making it OS X-native. It's what convinced Microsoft and Adobe to stick around through the first OS reinvention. Now Apple's making resources from that transition mean no more than a few short years' revenue on a fringe computing platform.

Still, I expect it to be a speedbump. Photoshop's customers are Mac people. They like form as much as function, and if Photoshop doesn't leverage their expertise to recreate Photoshop, well, Apple will. Their professional apps look pretty nice already, and I don't believe they'll have any trouble eventually converting Photoshop users if Adobe drops out -- and that's precisely why Adobe won't. If Apple gets a nice app on Intel Macs, well, now Adobe's got a competitor that could jump platform quicker than you can said Bird Flu.

If MS doesn't rewrite Office, well, Apple's in trouble, but they've already invested enough into iWork and even TextEdit (which now reads .doc to some degree) that they'll at least have a serviceable replacement.

We don't have to ask Joel Spolsky to know that Apple's going to lose a ton of customers if either happens, however. Not Office? For many users, that means goodbye. That's why Office is the benchmark and test case for Rosetta in Apple's demos, naturally. Could be quite a while before they all come back.

Still, back they'll come, and in the meanwhile I'm eager to watch as Apple-as-BMW-of-PCs releases the new Mini, which is rumored to be quite a consumer device, perhaps creating the market for high-end TiVo's/DVRs. The description of Apple users might chance in composition a bit, but I'm still thinking the future is pretty bright.