TV-PGJanuary 18, 2002: Word has it that the new Power Macs are coming next week-- but the specs may leave you a little less than satisfied. Meanwhile, CNET praises the Power Mac even as it snubs Apple's fearless leader in an unforgivable fashion, and Apple's export compliance table indicates that "Framistan" is finally ready to ship...
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Gigahertz By Baby Steps (1/18/02)
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Oooo, this is going to stick in a few craws. We know that, despite our last-minute warnings not to get your hopes up, several AtAT viewers still expected new Power Macs to appear at the Expo last week. Worse yet, we know that some of those optimists, against every sane impulse imaginable, were even expecting those new Power Macs to contain G5 processors instead of the far-more-likely Apollo G4s we've mentioned. This produced one of those confluences of expectations for which the phrase "setting one's self up for a big, painful fall" was presumably invented.

So no, we didn't get new Power Macs last week, but that's only logical, really, since Apple stood to benefit most by keeping the spotlight focused sharply on the new iMac, whose double-jointed form and lovable contortions are wowing the press and customers alike and generating a ton of free advertising; amid last week's media circus, a new Power Mac would simply have been a distraction. Meanwhile, AtAT had been expecting revised Power Macs to surface later this month, and our hopes as to their specs were characteristically conservative: Apollo G4s running at 933 MHz at the entry level, with the clock speed reaching 1.2 and maybe even 1.4 GHz at the high end. Generally impressive, though well within the realm of Things That Might Actually Happen™.

Or so we thought. Unfortunately, now it looks like even our relatively staid expectations may have been overly optimistic. Faithful viewer Dundee informs us that MacMinute (who, as we've pointed out in the past, never seems to be wrong about these things) has discovered that Apple does plan on shipping new Power Macs next week-- but that their specs might prove to be slightly disappointing. Apparently come Tuesday, the new G4s will ship in non-Apollo 800 MHz, 933 MHz, and dual-1 GHz configurations. So the good news is that the PowerPC has finally oozed its way up to the long-sought-after gigahertz level; the bad news, of course, is that, real-world performance notwithstanding, Intel is currently pushing 2.2 GHz. Sure, it's all just a matter of appearance, but hey, numbers sell. (Or fail to, in this economy.)

Despite a clock speed gap that continues to widen instead of shrinking, though, it's worth noting that a high-end Power Mac with two 1 GHz G4s galloping under its hood is probably the closest to heaven a Mac fan will get for the next half a year without actually taking his or her own life (or at least raiding Uncle Steve's acid stash). As such, we look forward to this incremental improvement, slight though it may be, when it supposedly materializes via a low-key press release on Tuesday. And if you were hoping for G5s instead, try not to get all pouty and stuff-- it's undignified. Weeping gently to yourself is acceptable, however.


 
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Fatal Snub, Bloody Death (1/18/02)
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Before you go chewing your own arm off about how outdated the current Power Mac is-- how tired its measly 867 MHz processor looks, how out-of-fashion its 133 MHz bus and PC-133 RAM are-- consider this: CNET just placed the Power Mac G4 at the top of its list of the very best "leading-edge" personal computers available. Yes, the very same CNET that you're so sure is choking down bribes from Redmond to keep its anti-Mac prejudice clearly in the foreground apparently feels that the 867 MHz Quicksilver "pushes the limits of desktop technology with the latest advances in processors, storage, video, and audio" even better than any "extreme" Wintel on the market. So don't go dissing the Power Mac just yet, bub; this puppy's still got legs.

Well, either that, or CNET's just heaping praise on whatever Apple product is at hand in hopes of staving off a massive slash-and-burn raid on their corporate headquarters led by a steamed Steve and his merry band of swashbuckling ne'er-do-wells. Steve, you see, has reason to be slightly irked at CNET; those folks recently posted what they're calling the "Vision Series," profiles of the thirteen "top chief executives in high technology." Heck, they've even gone ahead and started rating them on a cutesy little report card. There's just one little problem. You guessed it: Steve Jobs is nowhere to be found. Stiffed again!

This is a particularly insulting snub, because CNET's report card grades each exec in Leadership, Vision, Execution, and Star Power. Is there anyone in the viewing audience who doesn't think that Steve should score an "A" or higher in, at the very least, three out of four of those categories? Especially since Steve Ballmer pulled in an A- for Star Power. Evidently CNET isn't equating "Star Power" with "charisma." Either that, or they've got a freaky thing for howler-monkey-style screeching, pro wrestler antics, and sweat stains where no sweat stains should ever be found. Even worse, Mike Dell is on the list. And Steve's not? Oooo, that's gotta hurt. Steve's going to be out for blood. CNET blood.

Hence, the declaration of the Quicksilver as the extremest of extreme PCs, perhaps? We don't know, but if that was the strategy, we doubt Steve will be appeased by such a paltry offering. It'll be interesting to see how CNET's editorial slant changes once the remains of the current staff need to be replaced after they're identified solely via the painstaking use of dental records...


 
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The Forefront Of High Tech (1/18/02)
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While Apple may be having a smidge of trouble putting some serious power back in the PowerPC (and actually, we have a sneaking suspicion that Motorola might share just a teensy bit of responsibility for that as well), at least the company is fully up to date when it comes to Framistan technology. Indeed, faithful viewer Glen Fisher pointed out that, according to Apple's Export Compliance Information, the company's Framistan product is apparently done and ready to go; it's got its Export Control Classification Number, it's classified for shipment under the same categories as iMovie and iDVD, and denizens of any country that isn't Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, or any other nation officially designated as "Potentially Very Naughty" can soon be Framistaning to their hearts' content.

As longtime viewers are no doubt aware, the Mac rumor mill has been anticipating Framistan for years, now, speculating that it could well be the "killer app" that finally draws thousands of Windows users to our platform-- Windows users desperate to share in the real time thingule-reflanging protocols that only Framistan-enabled Mac users now enjoy. The Gartner Group estimates that Apple's market share may in fact double within the first three years of Framistan's availability, provided that extended production yields of Taiwanese phonolectorite wafers are able to meet rabid consumer demand.

In related news, Microsoft today announced that it's almost ready to debut Microsoft Whoozis 2002, but denies that its own quasi-flangulatory Gomerization is in any way a cheap, sleazy rip-off of Apple's revolutionary Framistan modules. We beg to differ, but even if Apple refuses to go to court over the look and feel of its patented feckulating interface, the reviewers have already decided that Whoozis probably won't come near the ease-of-use and feature set of Framistan until version 4.0. So uncap those fulvulent whatchamacallits, warm up your follimators, and get ready to countervectorize your configulators-- Framistan is here to stay!

(In other words, no, we don't know what it is, either.)


 
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