Does anyone spot a trend? Neither do I. The releases are happening in seemingly completely random order, without much concern to the traditional consumer and pro lines. So Apple’s charging away at the transition, regardless of the lineup. Great.
Except for those of us who want to buy new technology right now. See, Adobe has seemingly committed to not porting existing software (meaning both CS2 and Studio 8 here, remember) to MacIntel. Instead we’re going to have to wait for the next versions, which, given the current product cycle, means we’ve got a year or two to wait it out.
Yes, you can run the existing software in emulation mode, but it ain’t quick. It’s hard to justify shelling out now for a speed decrease, when the actual benefits won’t kick in for another year or more.
Here’s the big dilemma for Mac-based creative professionals looking for new gear at the moment: buy a G5-based system now and get the speed boost for the short term, thus facing obsolesence in a few year’s time. Or, buy an Intel-based system now, take a short-term speed hit, and be assured that your system will live on well after the transition is finished.
Of course, with the PowerMacs you don’t even have the choice, the Intel versions haven’t been announced yet. And there’s another variable: you’d need to stick it out until they arrive, and buy then. Anyone needing new gear right away is going to get stuck with a very tough choice.
I’d been thinking about a PowerMac lately myself, but this issue made the decision a lot harder. I was all set to pick up a quad-core G5 at some point in the very near future, until I started seeing the Intel benchmarks. I had assumed the G5’s would still out-pace the Intel chips for the first generation or two, but it sounds like the new chips are way faster already when running Universal binaries. So that doesn’t help the matter.
Right now, I can’t see any way to personally justify buying a G5 PowerMac. It’s a lot of money for something guaranteed to be obsolete within a few years. At the same time, I can’t really justify laying out the same amount of cash for a system guaranteed to chug away for the next year or more. So PowerMacs just don’t make sense until Adobe’s on board.
I realized that, just as Apple is in the middle of a transition, I guess I’ll have to be as well. So I ended buying a 20” iMac G5. It’s cheap, it’s got a nice big screen, and even with the stock 512MB of RAM (which will get maxed out in short order) it’s already running circles around my Powerbook.
When it makes more sense to jump into the world of MacIntel, I’ll do it. But a week in, I’m not regretting this move one bit. I can always sell it when it’s time to move on, but I already suspect it’ll be hard to get rid of.
Word of advice though: if you’re thinking along the same lines, go and get one yesterday. It seems Apple is putting them to bed rather quickly, to the point where mine may have come from the very last shipment of iMac G5’s to the local Mac outlet.