REAL Software announced yesterday that REAL Studio 2010 Release 4 will no longer be actively supporting the PowerPC (PPC) framework. This really means that only major bug fixes will be done to the PowerPC framework and nothing new will be added to it.
At the 2005 World Wide Developers conference Apple announced the move to Intel and many people were shocked that they would give up the PowerPC line of chips they spent a decade promoting as being better than their Intel counterparts. Intel was the future and blah, blah, blah. Many people said the Reality Distortion Field was on full blast.
In retrospect it seems so clear. One could certainly argue that Apple’s resurgence is, in part, because of their move to Intel. With a growth rates in the 30% range in year to year quarterly sales growths it’s not very hard to come to that conclusion either.
It’s been five years. Most consumers have an Intel based Mac and most businesses will probably be phasing them out in the next couple of years if they haven’t already. On BKeeney.com, only 10% of visitors are running a PPC Mac. BKeeney Briefs and the ARBP site are both less than 2%. When 90+% of total visitors to your websites are on Intel it’s safe to say the Intel transition is nearly complete.
The reaction to REAL Software’s announcement has been calm, I think, mainly because no one is shocked by the move. Most developers are most likely on Intel Macs and I think a vast majority of software buying consumers are on Intel now as well.
Since Cocoa is Intel only and the IDE will eventually be built using Cocoa this presumably means that the IDE will no longer run on PPC machines. This is probably not a big deal for most REAL Studio developers.
It might be a big deal for developers serving the education market, however. But since they’ve said they will not remove the PPC build option for several years that market should be relatively safe for the foreseeable future.
Transitions can sometimes be painful. The fact that Apple pulled off a major transition with very few problems is a testament to their engineering staff. For companies that feed off of Apple this transition wasn’t always easy and REALbasic had its growing pains. The transition to Cocoa has been painful but in the long run it will allow REAL Studio to grow with whatever is coming up next for Apple.
What do you think? Do you still work on a PPC machine to do development? Do you still serve PPC users?