This will really split the cult of Mac. There will be those decrying Apple's decision to go with a 'technically inferior' architecture, selling out to Wintel etc. Then there will be those who have begged all along for an Intel version of OSX. Many of the latter are either mac techies (rather than the traditional mac designer beard types), or mac wannabes who want to break out from Windows, without having to learn Linux. And the latter are who Apple should be targetting, in my view.
It's not an aesthetic or an engineering decision, its a corporate decision. It may tarnish the brand, it may cause unforeseen engineering nightmares (unmanageably large driver support list? new target for viruses? etc.), but at least it will woo the market. Rupert Goodwin sums it up best here.