Apple is separating the new smartphones into its usual low-cost versus high-cost categories, with big differences between the two models coming down to the camera, display, and battery life.
iOS 13 & watchOS 6 Now Available
Apple on Non-PPC: A Rumor Perspective
The recent surge was triggered by one analyst's opinion (CNet)... and is certainly not an original thought. Speculation began in March 2000, ever since Darwin was first compiled for Intel... since then, the topic has returned on numerous occasions but without even a rumor as a foundation. Historically, there is some basis for it - as Apple did have a project (Star Trek) bringing Mac OS to Intel.
Rumor-wise, the most striking trend that appears is Apple pursuing further independence...
Some have felt that the recent introductions of iCal and an updated Mail client are attempts to replicate Entourage functionality. While, conspiracists continue to believe that a Sun-Apple StarOffice is in the works... and other signs point to an Apple Office suite may be a direction.
Phasing out OS 9 can also be seen as a move to isolate Mac OS as a platform independent entity... but would also serve the purpose of pushing developers and users to adopt the new platform.
NVidia has also received much attention as a possible chipset on which to base a new platform. The PowerPC has been the assumed processor on such a motherboard, but a new columnist at Spymac speculates that it may be a complete departure. An NVidia-Apple partnership is not a new concept in the Mac rumor scene - with an April, 2002 Architosh article hinting at an NVidia-Apple partnership, as well as subsequent nForce 2 and Apple hints.
In the end, no true specifics are presently available, but Apple seems dedicated to PPC... for now.