I've been reading the news regarding Apple's obsoleting the Xserver. There is even speculation the replacement is ARM/A4 servers.
In the server and mobile space, performance-per-watt is very important. This could obviously be linked with the discontinuation of the XServe. Apple sees this as important to marketing:
Measuring in ssj_ops/watt (super-steve-jobs operations per watt). If they can get their PA Semi engineers to design a server chip with enough cores that it can handle similar loads to a Xeon while consuming a fraction of the power and generating far less heat, that's a huge selling point. I doubt they'd be able to cool them passively but say they build a 16-32 1GHz core chip that consumes 250mW per core is < 10 W. Single thread performance would probably suck so they'd have to aim for 2GHz+ but multi-threaded performance would be fine.
News.com has a recent post on the frustration of Mac IT admins.
IT admins mourn Xserve's death
by Erica Ogg
Not many MacBook or iPhone users are going to weep over the cancellation of an Apple server.
In fact, they probably didn't know Apple even made them. But when Apple announced it was shutting down production of the Xserve effective January 31, a very specific group of people took notice.
The Apple faithful inside corporate IT departments large and small are feeling jilted by Apple's sudden cold feet in the enterprise computing market. And though the announcement came last last week, the full impact of Apple's decision is still being absorbed.
How about this for a simple answer? Jan 31, 2011 is the last day the Xserver is sold. January is a typical month for Apple to make announcements. Apple's Maiden DC will be operational.
Don't you think Apple could sell Cloud Computing at a scale that would blow the Mac User base away? Could you imagine having a hundred, a thousand, or maybe even ten thousand Xserve HW running Apple compute jobs for one user?
Take AWS business model and execute it for the Apple market. Include the iPod and iPhone users to send compute jobs to the Apple Cloud.