Is there any way to install and use PowerPC applications on Intel based macs? I have older Adobe software that I would like to use, and cannot use on my new iMac.
There was an emulation layer called Rosetta to allow Intel Macs to run PowerPC applications that Apple provided from Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6. Sadly, they removed it in 10.7 Lion and it no longer works. Given that you said your iMac is brand new, it presumably came with Lion preinstalled, and is unable to run anything older. So, unfortunately, the answer is no.
Your options are to upgrade your Adobe software to an Intel version, trade in your new Mac for a slightly older used Mac (from early 2011 or earlier) and put Snow Leopard on it, or continue to use your old hardware for your Adobe software.
There is a solution: Use Snow Leopard. It comes with rosetta which is an emulation layer for PPC apps.
If you use Lion there is also a solution: Use Snow Leopard:
Install Snow Leopard on a virtual machine.
Install Rosetta and your applications.
Run the applications on the virtual machine.
It is not the most efficient or the most convenient way, but until LionRosetta is released it should do.
Instructions for installing Snow Leopard (and Rosetta) into Parallels 7 in Lion:
I was experiencing the same problem and was shocked that I can't use PPC on the Mac I bought.
So, after reading all of the sheepshaver and Snow Leopard forums, I finally came across "winebottlercombo.bmg". Look it up, download it and set it up. You might have to download xquartz.dmg as well, I had to.
When you download and set up these two programs, they allow you to use a .exe (Windows execution file) and from there you can use what is known to the Mac as an "unsupported" ppc file as a .exe Windows file through "Winebottler". Totally bypasses the "unsupported PPC" on Mac OS X Lion.
So just copy the image of the CD that you want using a Windows pc, make sure that you are copying the .exe file and open/set it up with the wine file on your Mac and it will work like a charm, without having to go through all of the set up procedures.
After it is set up, whatever .exe and .lnk file you want to use, always "Open With--> wine.app"
Note: you may have to look for the .lnk file via search in Finder. That is the file I needed to find to use the program I set up.
So sorry if this is not so clear, I am also new to the Mac world and don't know all of the Mac lingo yet.