TV-PGNovember 21, 2002: Two longstanding fringe Mac rumors take some serious hits this week. Meanwhile, iPods drop to $199 (provided you don't mind buying refurbished goods), and Microsoft's biggest COMDEX announcement is its unveiling of its newest serious security flaw-- how can Apple ever hope to compete with that?...
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A Bad Week For The Dirt (11/21/02)
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Gee whillikers, Wally, it sure has been a crummy week for fringe Mac rumors, hasn't it? For one thing, folks still holding out hope for a new Apple-branded handheld to replace the long-nixed Newton line witnessed yet another nail in that rumor's coffin on Monday (and you oughta see this coffin now-- think "Pinhead" from the Hellraiser flicks). MacUser UK recently slapped together an article in which Albert Chu, the veep of business development at Palm's operating system division, opined that Apple "will not be entering the handheld market"-- in large part because he feels that "Apple probably can't afford entry into the market 'cause it's going to cost so much to get in."

Which means apparently it costs more than $4 billion in cash to create and market a new PDA. Who knew? Geez, give us half that much moolah and we'll get an AtAT handheld on store shelves by Easter, guaranteed. (We guarantee that it'll ship; we don't guarantee that it won't be a deck of playing cards with an AtAT sticker stapled to the front.)

For what it's worth, Chu is an Apple veteran with fourteen years in the Cupertino trenches, and during his tour of duty he did work on the Newton, so his opinion may carry a little more weight than that of, say, Eli, that guy with the really hairy arms who delivers our heating oil. And while one might think that repeated assertions by the likes of Phil Schiller and The Big Steve Himself that Apple is no way no how looking to get into the PDA market would have sufficed to quash any and all "Apple handheld" rumors, as we all know, nothing those two say means squat until some guy at Palm backs them up.

Meanwhile, those who are still expecting x86-based Macs any day now despite that persistent rumor's most recent disappointment-- namely, AMD's COMDEX keynote delivering absolutely zippo on the Apple front-- now need to come to grips with the fact that, as faithful viewer Paul R. Ferro points out, even Mac OS Rumors (not exactly one to balk at proposing the far-out stuff, rumorologically speaking) is expecting PowerPC-based Macs for "no less than four years to come." Incidentally, MOSR also asserts that "we won't have to wait long for Apple's answer to the recent release of the 3.06 GHz Pentium 4"-- but also mentions that the next G4s will top out at 1.4 GHz and PowerPC 970-based Macs may not surface until 2004, which means we may be witnessing a truly momentous abuse of the subjective nature of the word "long." (Then again, MOSR never said that Apple's answer would be a good one.)

Anyway, that's two long-standing Apple rumors that took a bit of a beating over the past few days. So what's next, a joint Sun-Disney press release promising that neither company will ever ever ever buy Apple and signed in blood?


 
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Three Strings, No Waiting (11/21/02)
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Whassamatter, there, Slim-- still iPodless due to lack of available funds while everyone around you is basking in shiny white-and-steel musical bliss? Or maybe you want to get an iPod for a friend or loved one this holiday season, but your "giving mood" isn't quite up to the $299 level of giving. Okay, while this isn't another way to scam a free iPod, it is a method to get one at half-price-- and unlike most of our previously-reported freebie deals (which required you to, say, buy a motorcycle or get nominated for an Oscar), this particular offer comes with absolutely no strings attached!

Well, okay, maybe one string: it's a "classic" 5 GB iPod, i.e. the one with the spinny wheel instead of the new trackpad-sporting models. (Personally, we prefer the wheel, but we also prefer "Fish" to "Barney Miller," so you can't always go by us. Viva Abe Vigoda!) Oh, and, uh, there's another string, here: when we say "half-price," we mean half of the original price-- meaning, $199 instead of the $399 we paid for our own spinny-wheel iPods. But hey, two strings? That's pretty good, considering.

Hey, wouldja look at that? Another string! (Man, they're sneaky little buggers, ain't they?) This particular iPod offer is for a "refurbished" model, meaning it's probably a returned unit that's been factory-reconditioned according to the requirements of Apple's "Stringent Refurbishment Process" to be, if not actually new, then mostly new. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that there's a slim chance that, before Apple restored it to a state of pristine Almost Newness™, any reconditioned iPod you buy was originally owned by some scary deviant who used it in bizarre naked escapades involving a tub full of grape jelly and a ritual animal sacrifice. Hence the reduced price.

Still, if you're pretty comfortable with all that, cruise on over to the Apple Store and you'll find the $199 refurbished iPods in the Special Deals section. Seriously, if $299's just out of your league, in our opinion $199 (and the occasional naked grape jelly nightmare) is well worth the life-changing experience of carrying over two full days' worth of music around in your pocket. We are the 'Pod People; be one of us. One of us. One of us...


 
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Still Strictly Bush League (11/21/02)
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You know, sometimes we get really tired of Apple being run like such a rinky-dink Mom and Pop outfit. Sure, the company sells billions of dollars' worth of goods and services each year, but seriously, everyone knows that all the real high-tech companies strut their stuff at COMDEX. Needless to say, once again Apple doesn't have a booth there, and that's going to have its usual devastating effect on Mac sales to consumer America; the average shmoe shopping for a new home computer is often heard to scoff, "Me, get a Mac? Yeah, right! Apple didn't even exhibit at COMDEX!" It's a real problem. Really.

See, if Apple were run like a real player in the tech world, it'd have a COMDEX presence far more visible and pervasive than just "a lot of people from Apple" milling around the show floor, as reported by AMDZone. Maybe it'd establish a presence more like Microsoft's. Now there's a company who does it up right. In addition to Bill Gates getting to deliver a keynote there (whereas Steve Jobs only seems to be able to book gigs at Macworld Expo, a show so third-rate it doesn't even take place in Vegas, for Pete's sake), we hear that Microsoft is using COMDEX to announce the immediate availability of its latest Mammoth Bonehead Security Hole™.

That's right, kidlings, according to InfoWorld, Microsoft has just announced its latest triumph in its bid to trumpet the clarion call of "Trustworthy Computing" even while delivering products so full of holes they give Swiss cheese and kitchen colanders inferiority complexes. It seems there's yet another vulnerability present in "most versions of its Windows operating systems and certain versions of the Internet Explorer web browser," and it's serious enough that Microsoft classifies it as "critical." (Foundstone, the software vulnerability management company who discovered the bug, classifies it as "really quite dangerous," which we personally feel has a better ring to it.)

Incidentally, "critical" is the "highest possible rating under the company's new vulnerability rating system, which was announced Tuesday." A new security flaw and a brand new way of rating how badly it sucks? Wow, Microsoft's got lots of impressive new stuff to roll out during COMDEX.

Meanwhile, where's Apple? Let's face it, everyone: until Apple announces a major security flaw at COMDEX, people just aren't going to take the company seriously. Ah, well... Maybe next year...


 
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