(Welcome to the World of Endless Reruns! A quarter of a century ago, As the Apple Turns (AtAT) was a daily web-based soap opera obsessively following the melodramatic ins and outs of all things Apple. Now the archives are broadcasting in syndication, so each day you can see what life was like 25 years ago when Apple was still the underdog, all in not-so-fabulous RetroVision™!)

TV-PGJanuary 28, 1998: Reports of the Newton's death have been greatly exaggerated in the past, but what of the latest rumors of its demise? Meanwhile, whisperings of the imminent visitor known as the Network Computer continue to describe the project as a potential love interest for MIS departments everywhere when it finally emerges from the shadows, and Larry Ellison continues to drool all over Steve Jobs in public...
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Newton Dies... Again (1/28/98)

Newton, Apple's "other platform," seems to have more lives than James Bond. We've lost track of how many times we've been told it got killed/cancelled/sold off in the past two years, but the Newton project just seems to keep on ticking; Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down. This time, it's the San Francisco Chronicle that's foretelling the Newton's doom.

According to the Chronicle, a few of their sources "in the know" claim that all Apple engineers working on the Newton have already been shown the door. One of these sources even says that Apple has decided to "bag the eMate," which is troubling, since it's been widely believed that the only thing keeping Steve Jobs from canceling the whole Newton project in the first place was the nifty little laptop-MessagePad crossbreed, which he felt showed promise as an educational computing tool. Apple is rumored to have been working on variations of the eMate for different audiences, such as the "bMate" for the business crowd. And now the Chronicle's source reports that the whole Newton project, eMate and all, has already been secretly cancelled.

Is this finally the end for our hero? Apple sources are keeping quiet about whether any decision has been made one way or the other, to no one's particular surprise. Hey Apple, here's an idea... how about telling us something for a change? Newton users and developers are even more in the dark than Mac users and developers when it comes to Apple's future plans and level of commitment. We've been wondering for years if the MessagePad is going to be continued, but Apple just sits and stares... So we can only wait and see if another great technology gets Steved.

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NC = New Coverage (1/28/98)

So we've been talking about the rumored Apple NC's a lot lately, and it's no wonder-- with all the world screaming that Apple needs to ship low-cost systems in order to survive, the NC project could single-handedly save the company if it's implemented well. (If it flops, well, it remains to be seen just how much more red ink Apple could bleed before it runs dry.) That's why today's info on the NC's over at MacOS Rumors is so darn interesting...

One of their anonymous sources in the shadows claims that the NC's will cost only $600-700 each. It isn't totally clear if that price includes a display, but if it does, that price point is fantastic, considering it buys you a 233 MHz G3 processor that should be every bit as fast as a current Powermac G3. Local hard disks will be available as an option, but in general all applications and data will be stored on a remote server, connected via the built-in 100baseT Ethernet interface. 100 Mbits/second ought to provide a pretty speedy I/O experience. And best of all, it will run the Mac OS, tweaked slightly to run applications off the server-- using an NC should be just like using a Mac.

The NC is targeted at business and educational use (though a variant for the home is reportedly in the works for a Christmas release), where there are two very attractive reasons to buy into Apple's new project. First of all, you get several incredibly fast machines for a low, low price, which is obviously an attractive offer for schools and businesses who need to buy a slew of computers for a bunch of people without going broke. Secondly, Yours Truly tells you that system administration of thirty Macs scattered throughout a building is not an altogether thrilling task, and the prospect of only having to maintain a single server instead makes my heart sing Cole Porter songs. If Apple pulls this off, and demos the system agressively, it could be a huge turning point for the company. We're keeping every digit crossed with every other digit until these things see the light of day in April.

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Down, Boy, Down (1/28/98)

Okay, set us straight-- every time Larry Ellison starts blabbering to the press about how wonderful Steve Jobs is, should we feel an overwhelming sense of warmth and admiration for his profound sense of friendship and loyalty? Or is it acceptable that instead we feel a mild tinge of nausea and a slightly disturbing yet suppressable urge to inflict some form of mild and temporary retaliatory pain? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Regardless, News.com's got a story that relates how Larry told a whole technology investment conference that Apple "has the best interim CEO in the world," adding that he couldn't elaborate on whether Steve would eventually sign on full-time. He also revealed the interesting fact that Apple's future direction will apparently focus on client-server NC-style architectures, and products that hit the $500-to-1500 price point. And, of course, he said Steve Jobs is great. The low-end market focus is all well and good, except we're a little concerned about Larry's comment that Apple would be pulling back from the high-end graphics market. By the way, did we mention that he also said Steve Jobs is great?

Now, don't get us wrong. We really do like Steve-- probably more than most people do. And we even have some respect for Larry (and we're thankful that he actually tells us things about Apple). But the slobbering lap-dog act has got to go. We don't think it's making either party look all that credible.

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Previously, on As the Apple Turns...

TV-PGJanuary 27, 1998: Apple reabsorbs its offspring Claris, in an attempt to bolster its precarious bottom line, which teeters nervously in the balance during the dark days of Q2. Meanwhile, spicy details about the upcoming sub-$1000 Mac continue to "leak" from Cupertino, and Microsoft confirms that Windows NT is the future for consumer Wintel users...

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