Recently there's been discussion about the iPad being the demise of the Mac. It has been mentioned a few times on TWiT and also notably Sasha Segan's piece over at PCMag (via Digg). The argument is that Apple cannot or will not long support two different computer platforms. As evidence, observers say Apple may be maxed out with the launch of the iPad. Their engineers are consumed developing and translating apps for the iPad/iPhone OS.
Last month I was reading the book Apple Inc. (Corporations That Changed the World), which I picked up at the library. The book talks about the early history of Apple products: the Apple II line, Lisa, and the Mac. Although Apple said it would support the II for the long haul, it was soon discontinued. The Lisa followed not long after, and that left just the Mac. So it would seem a compelling case.
The iPhone was said to be a flop before it was released and people stood in line to buy it--days in advance. And Apple sold 1 million iPhones in 74 days; 1M iPhone 3G and 3GS each took just 3 days.
Now its the same for the iPad: it's no iPhone, they say. (Just Google it)
All the talk makes me worry about my ability to buy future MacBooks. But think again. Mac sales are higher than ever, with no sign of stopping. And you don't introduce a new product and kill your cash cow. But you better have a new product before your old one isn't selling.
I think there's less chance that Apple plans to dump the Mac, and more that Apple is starting an evolutionary step with the iPhone/iPad OS. Or continuing the the path started with the iPhone. Apple doesn't play by the rules--it makes them. The iPad is the start of new rules.