This week, Apple announced that it would start using CPUs provided by Intel for some Macs to be shipped within a year or two. And the Mac community has launched into a religous war, up in arms that Steve Jobs would sleep with the enemy.

I can’t believe the level of horror and consternation over an obvious financial and political maneuver. Who cares what’s in our Macs, we bought them because Apple delivers the best Integrated hardware/software platform.

What makes Macs better? Industrial strength, twenty year old bulletproof BSD unix core. Attractive, usable GUI Incredibly capable integration of OS and GUI Great industrial design Great APIs and developer’s tools

None of this will change when Apple switches CPU vendors.

Furthermore, we don’t have to ride the “newer/faster/better, gotta have it” train. Lots of us ride the “ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, bus, using ancient tools, just ‘cause they work. In lots of ways, all the *nix, crowd, including lots of us using OSX, are part of that, We use *nix because it’s been the best OS for small computers for 25 years.

How convenient that Apple delivers a complete, robust unix, with enhanced, GUI, good documentation, great drivers, and access to much of the source code, in gorgeous, cheap hardware.

I’ve often cursed IBM, Microsoft and Intel, for accidentally locking an entire industry into the laughable constraints of the 8086, with its awful instruction set, infuriating segmented addressing and (later) power hungry designs. But Intel has been both perpetrator and victim in the PC’s success, forced to support an architecture that was seen as quaint even in 1981, when the first PC was shipped with an 8088.

But Intel has shown themselves to be consummate chip designers, and obviously, Jobs saw enough in their future plans to make a feint, or perhaps even a real commitment, toward their hardware.

Bear in mind that the PC silicon marketplace is so fragmented, with Intel, AMD, and TransMeta selling, and hundreds of box and board makers buying, that Apple will be a big fish in that pond, becoming one of Intel’s biggest customers almost overnight.

Strangely enough, the PowerPC has been so successful in embedded and industrial applications that Apple only accounts for 2% of IBM’s PowerPC sales. IBM doesn’t seem to care about Apple’s business. And Motorola seems doomed to abuse their customers and destroy their markets, apparently incapable of delivering the superior engineering that always seems to get lost in the chaos of their internal squabbling. I can’t fault Jobs for getting fed up with Motorola and IBM, they’ve both been crappy business partners.

I have some fear that this will backfire in all our faces, both PC and Mac users, ruining competition in the CPU marketplace. I’m hoping that Apple’s feint towards Intel will put more thorns under AMD, TransMeta, and the PowerPC vendors, that they’ll get serious about cranking out some competitive silicon.

It’s gonna be exciting…