TV-PGNovember 1, 2002: All the rumormongers fall in line and predict new SuperDriveless PowerBooks and iBooks coming this Tuesday. Meanwhile, the premier of a Canadian province seems just a little bit too impressed with Maine's student laptop program, and "Redmond Justice" may be winding to a close, as the judge prepares to rule on the proposed settlement later today...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

A Consensus... Of Sorts (11/1/02)

It's official: the latest round of November 5th rumors has finally reached a state of Rumoric Convergence. You know how, early on in an Apple rumor's life cycle, there are typically seven or eight variations on the same general theme? You get one guy saying that Steve Jobs will juggle chainsaws onstage during January's Expo keynote, a second insisting that Jobs will bite the head off a live pigeon instead, a third stating that he'll be swallowing three chainsaws and a pigeon while riding a unicycle and singing "MacArthur Park," etc. As time marches ever onward and the alleged event approaches, each rumormonger "adjusts" his dirt with new information that's appeared, and all those rumors start to blend together and overlap until finally everyone basically agrees that what's really going to happen is that Steve Jobs will be picking up a citrus zester and a casaba melon at the Safeway on his way home from work next Thursday. It's a process as natural as spring giving way to autumn. Or something.

So anyway, here's the latest on the convergence progress of the November 5th rumors: on the Mac OS Rumors front, after hedging for the past several days, the site has finally come around to admitting that there's "very compelling evidence" pointing to PowerBook and iBook revisions "early next week." MOSR also reiterates that, due to Apple's line-in-the-sand decision to wait for ultrathin slot-loading DVD-R drives instead of compromising and adding something as gauche as a (shudder) disc tray to the PowerBook, if those portables do indeed surface in Tuesday, none of them will include SuperDrives. Sorry, road warriors: no dice yet on burning DVDs on the go, at least not if you want to stick with a Mac.

And the convergence continues, because by an utterly amazing coincidence, that all meshes nicely with a new report by Think Secret, which wholeheartedly embraces the previously-dished magical November 5th date. According to Think Secret, we will indeed see new 'Books come Tuesday, and the PowerBooks will definitely be SuperDriveless. (Incidentally, Think Secret also tosses another little pinch of spice into the mix: reportedly iBook prices will drop "just a bit." Woo-hoo, that means more money to spend on Fruit Roll-Ups and Pez!)

So there you have it: everybody's pretty much on the same page now. The smart money's on modestly updated iBooks and PowerBooks come Tuesday, sans SuperDrives, but with faster processors, probably more RAM and bigger disks, maybe Bluetooth built-in, and perhaps even a nice little price break on the consumer models. No additional word on those whispers of a 19-inch Cinema Display, but heck, there's no reason to ruin all the surprises.

For what it's worth, we here at AtAT consider Think Secret to have a near-100% track record with pre-announcement product info like this, so we'll eat our hat if it turns out to be wrong. Then again, the hat in question is a novelty sombrero we ourselves fashioned entirely from Fruit Roll-Ups and Pez, so we're not exactly risking much, but still, it's something, right?

Mmmmmm... Pezzy!

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Imminent Border Incident (11/1/02)

Attention middle-school students of Maine: keep your state-provided iBooks in sight at all times. Handcuff those babies to the limb of your choice. Sleep with one eye open and one hand on your trusty Louisville Slugger, if need be. But whatever you do, don't let your guard down for even a second, because the moment you do, you can count on your spiffy new iBook being spirited away by a sneaky Canuck before you can belt out four bars of "O Canada!"

That's not to say we've got anything against the great nation to the north, of course; indeed, we have little choice but to worship any country that gave us both The Kids in the Hall and the various Degrassi series. And heck, we're not ones to foment tension between any two countries, even if one of them has a really weird idea of what constitutes "bacon." That said, faithful viewer Jens Kueter pointed out an Associated Press article that could be cause for heightened awareness; Bernard Lord, the premier of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, has a fierce case of the Screamin' Covets as far as Maine's nifty iBook initiative is concerned.

You recall, of course, that not too long ago Maine signed the biggest education computer purchase in history, intended to provide Apple laptops to every single seventh- and eighth-grade student and teacher in the whole blessed state. Despite some rough patches as opponents to the plan tried to raid Governor King's funds, the initiative eventually got underway-- and some 200 Maine schools have now taken delivery of the 'Books and have integrated them into the daily learning process. And it was one of those schools that Bernie Lord crossed the border to eyeball; during his visit to Maine he hammered out some other business with Governor King, but he set foot on U.S. soil "primarily" to check out King's laptop plan in action. Reportedly Lord was "impressed."

Of course, "impressed" might be an understatement of sorts. Lord is quoted as saying, "I saw it in their eyes, I saw it in their faces. (Students) were happy." Reportedly he's now "interested in pursuing a similar program in his province." Well, that's all fine and dandy, folks, but surely we're not the only ones who imagine the wild look in his eyes, the drool on his chin, and the roughly 12.1-inch-diagonal bulge under his shirt as he slinked off before the school could notice anything missing. And does anyone think he's really going to buy systems for New Brunswick's schools, when soon there'll be some 33,000 iBooks just across the border and ripe for the taking, international incident be damned?

Wait... we are the only ones who imagined that? Oh. Hmmm. Well, then it sounds like someone at Apple better get on the horn with ol' Bernie and strike a deal while the iron's hot. But we still say the price of having a cutting-edge laptop-based educational system is eternal vigilance. Well, eternal vigilance and $25 million. Whatever.

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Bracing For A Series Finale (11/1/02)

Can it really be true? Dare we admit even the remotest possibility that, in just a few short hours, the antitrust courtroom drama known as "Redmond Justice" might finally be skidding to a close? After what we're pretty sure has been 73 years on the air, the show just might broadcast its long-overdue series finale later today, and frankly, we're not at all sure how to cope with that startling fact.

Truth be told, we had long ago accepted the fact that Microsoft's incessant stalling tactics and the already-glacial pace at which certain aspects of the U.S. justice system often move pretty much meant that this whole antitrust thingy would never end; indeed, our brains have long since filed "Redmond Justice" into the dank corner of our minds where we store symbols of grand immutability and cosmic permanence. Death and taxes? Check. Endless vistas of stars shining against the infinite backdrop of the night sky? Double check. Microsoft never actually getting punished for violating antitrust law, despite the findings of fact having been handed down nearly three full years ago? Oh, you betcha.

But as faithful viewer Kevin Creighton notes, a CNET article reports that Judge Kollar-Kotelly intends to reveal today at 4:30 PM EST whether or not she's decided to accept the proposed settlement between Microsoft and the Department of Justice. And she's also going to tell us what punishment for Microsoft she deems fit in the continuing case pursued by the nine states who refused to sign on with a settlement proposal that amounted to little more than a warning "never to be naughty like that again, wink wink." In one fell swoop, the judge might end "Redmond Justice" just ten hours from now.

Of course, if she doesn't approve that settlement, well, there's more drama to follow, what with still more appeals and taking the proposal back to the negotiating table. And we're somewhat consoled by the fact that if "Redmond Justice" does end today, it's a pretty safe bet that Microsoft's going to get hauled back into court in maybe five years' time on new antitrust charges. Still, it could be the end of an era. We're going to have to bake a cake or something...

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