Hey guys. I just got back from Apple's developer conference, and I went through the same emotional transition about this that you did. After all said-and-done, I've decided that this is really not a big deal, and actually it's a good thing.
Apple is making this swith because, for a variety of reasons, the PowerPC architecture just isn't progressing as fast as Intel's. And yes, the x86 architecture is a lot "messier" than the PowerPC's, but the bottom line is, you can get alot more performace per $$$ with Intel chips than with IBM's.
More importantly, the processor is only one part of a computer. What you actually see, and what you use every day, are the OS and the apps. That's where Apple's stuff has always outdone all the competition's. I watched Steve Jobs demo all the new OS stuff on a PowerMac with a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 running Tiger - and it didn't look a bit different from the same apps & OS running on my 1 GHz PowerBook G4 (except that it was a LOT faster!)
Expect that the design, and the user experience which is what makes a Mac a Mac, to continue. Also expect a lot of backlash and grumbling from the old die-hard Mac community. And expect, in a few years, that it won't make a bit of difference - except that the Mac you know & love will run 4 times faster :-)