UPDATED: Apple has been encouraging PC users to switch as part of a massive advertising campaign for the last several years. It looks like Apple has taken its own advice and is now set to switch to the CPU inside the PC, Intel.
Widespread speculation on Apple's intentions surfaced over the weekend and have now been officially confirmed by Steve Jobs himself.
Apple's CEO told the Mac faithful at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference today that the first Intel-powered Macs are expected to be released a year from now and all future Mac development will transition completely to Intel processors from PowerPC by the end of 2007.
The Apple shift to Intel already is a reality, as Jobs demonstrated a Mac OS X Tiger, running on an Intel-based Mac during his keynote address.
"Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead, Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far," said Jobs. "It's been 10 years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next 10 years."
The shift from PowerPC to Intel will also involve a massive effort by developers of all stripes to port application code from one chip architecture to the other.
Microsoft and Adobe have already pledged their support to developing both PowerPC and Intel-based versions of their respective Mac software offerings.
To help developers make the switch, Apple announced a $999 Developer Transition Kit that is currently available via developer.apple.com. Intel also plans to help developers make the switch with development tool support that is expected to be released later this year.