Cringely is continuing to speculate about HD video. As exciting as I believe it would be, I don't think most people would be. I'm a little skeptical that the transition has anything to do with hardware at all. I'm more inclined to believe the reason margins will be lower is Snow Leopard.
We haven't heard anything about it for a while, but I think OS X will finally be making the official transition from Macs to PCs. I don't think this is the smartest move for Apple but it would certainly give it a jump on OS market share at the cost of cannibalizing hardware sales, but does Apple really care about Mac sales as much these days?
The iPhone is a bone-fide platform, selling millions. Macs, as of late, have received little attention. True, they still makes up for a huge portion of Apple's revenue, but could that portion easily be supplanted by shipping discs of OS X for PCs to a billion people? Maybe.
This is an old theory but I'm surprised it hasn't bounced back as of late with what could be construed as evidence mounting.
1) Snow Leopard will just focus on stability, security and be x86 only. Why purposely remove the support for the older platforms after only 3 years (of Intel Mac shipping)? That's a large base of installed users you're leaving out in the cold. Yes, it could be used to sell more Intel Macs, but if grandma is still using her PowerPC iMac, I highly doubt the selling points of Snow Leopard will make her go and buy a new one. To me, it could be simply to make room for the larger hardware support required to support Dells, Gateways and beige boxes.
2) Many Macs haven't received significant upgrades or even speed bumps in a while. The Mac mini in particular is the red-headed stepchild with rumors that the lowest cost Mac could be dropped entirely. For sure, you don't need a Mac mini when it'd be more expensive than the almost all of the low cost PCs that can now run OS X. This model would definitely be the first to get the ax.
3) The 'big product transition' or more precisely, "a future product transition that I can't discuss with you today." What have they really got left to transition? The fact that it says product transition and not component transition implies that it could be a major part of the product in question. We've already seen Macs transition architecture. The iPhone/iPod/AppleTV are closed platforms that don't have really anything to transition. I don't think there's much room left.
It is Apple now anyway, not Apple Computer. Focusing on more mobile, more media-centric platforms other than full-blown, monitor and keyboard computers is what they want long term. Better to have the commodity PC vendors do your dirty work for you. You can still influence hardware design by having a few Macs around. And you can still make a ton of money selling OS X to people with cheap PCs that probably wouldn't have bought an expensive Mac anyway.