TV-PGJuly 10, 2001: Some enterprising spy has apparently managed to secure photographs of Apple's upcoming Power Mac systems. Meanwhile, Apple buys yet another company (but this one makes DVD authoring products solely for Windows), and it's official: the keynote will be webcast, as usual...
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Secret Agent Super Dragon (7/10/01)

Ooooh, there's nothing like a little espionage to brighten up the week! Turn off your shoe phones and activate the Cone of Silence, because top secret spy photos of next week's new Power Macs have leaked out onto the 'net; faithful viewer and field operative Seth H. Nielsen sent us a coded message pointing to, where the juicy nuggets of forbidden info are currently safehoused. If your security clearance is acceptably high and you don't mind fighting the rest of the world to tackle an overloaded server, take a peek and see what you think.

Good spies are skeptics at heart (the gullible ones get weeded out early by simple enemy traps like the old "gelignite cruller" trick), so we're not surprised to hear that, despite's vehement assertions that these snaps are "100% accurate," several operatives aren't so sure. We did notice, of course, that the four photographs provided are rather lo-res-- was that the highest quality available in the spy-gear pinky-ring camera used to sneak these shots, or is the heavy JPEG compression intended to conceal signs of digital Photoshop shenanigans? Oh, the decisions a spy must make...

We've submitted the alleged photos to the white-coats down in the lab, and their super-high-tech tests, while inconclusive, lean slightly towards the "legit" side of the fence. Our own gut feeling is that they are real, though that may just be because they align so closely with the Naked Mole Rat's description of the new G4's "redesigned front panel" with "curvaceous new drive bays and a bodacious new speaker." Of course, any halfway-decent counterintelligence photo-doctoring operative would also have been aware of Agent Rat's recon on the systems, so that's not exactly a clincher. Still, our current opinion is that these pics are actual snapshots of next week's Power Macs.

If that indeed turns out to be so, then you can count on one thing: Apple's lawyers are going to be crawling all over within the next few hours, poking at the proprietors with sharp sticks. We suppose the ultimate litmus test for authenticity is going to be whether or not the pictures are still available later tonight; remember when those "Kihei" photos leaked? Every site who dared to publish the images was smacked down by Apple Legal posthaste. Of course, that only confirmed that the photos were real, so maybe this time around Apple will play it sneaky and ignore the images completely. All we know for sure is, as of broadcast time, the pictures are still up...

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Going Windows Shopping (7/10/01)

Does anyone remember when it was Microsoft's modus operandi to buy smaller companies at a rate implying that the corporation was burning them for fuel? These days, though, we're noticing that Uncle Steve has been on a virtual spending spree, smaller-company-wise. As a lead-in, keep in mind that Apple has been buying third-party technology as the basis for Apple-branded software for ages, now-- the heart of Final Cut Pro came from Macromedia, iTunes was built around technology from Radialogic and Casady and Greene, etc. When it comes to buying entire companies, though, the most recent purchase we can recall off the tops of our heads was Raycer, back in '99-- at least, up until last March. That's when Apple acquired PowerSchool in a bid to fight back in the education market. Now here we are, just four months later, and Apple's buying another company-- one called Spruce, a "maker of DVD authoring and encoding systems." Geez, Steve must carry a heavy balance on his credit cards.

Faithful viewer the Mactivist tipped us off to a Creative Mac exclusive about the acquisition, which Apple has confirmed. There are a couple of interesting aspects to this scenario. The first is that Apple already has two DVD-authoring applications-- namely, iDVD on the low-end and DVD Studio Pro for professionals. (Fun fact (collect 'em all!): the guts of those applications came from a slew of DVD software and technology that Apple had purchased from Astarte in April of last year. It's a third party DVD hullabaloo!)

The other noteworthy point about this acquisition is that Spruce only makes software for-- wait for it-- Windows NT. Which could imply that Apple's looking to take iDVD and/or DVD Studio Pro cross-platform, but there are a couple reasons why that's unlikely. The first is that, as far as we know, Steve Jobs hasn't just suffered a localized stroke that lowered his IQ by eighty points, thus making him think that porting killer apps to the competition's platform is a really spiffing idea. The second is that Apple has announced flat-out that it will "offer a migration plan to existing Spruce customers to help them preserve their investment in Spruce software." That could be interpreted a lot of different ways, but to us it sounds sort of like "hey, all you NT users-- buy a real computer and we'll kick you a Mac version of your Spruce apps for cheap. Otherwise, bye-eeee..."

The way we see it, Apple is utterly convinced that desktop video coupled with desktop DVD authoring is the wave of the future-- so the company is doing everything it can to make sure the Mac is undeniably the best platform around for those happy activities. Either that, or faithful viewer Scott is right when he says that "maybe if Apple buys every DVD software company in the world, we'll finally be able to play DVDs in Mac OS X."

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Good News: Steve By Proxy (7/10/01)

Eight days to go, and the natives are getting restless; the hour rapidly draws nigh when His Royal Steveness will mount the stage to preach to the assembled faithful via one of his trademark keynote addresses. We here at AtAT, in particular, are starting to get antsy-- not only because we know from past experience how much fun these events are, but also because this is the first year that we're actually getting in as "press." What that means is that we may be physically closer to Steve than ever before. Here's hoping our human physiologies are tough enough for a stronger-than-usual dose of Reality Distortion Field energy, since, as we all know, its intensity varies exponentially as a function of proximity to its source. (We're considering wearing sunscreen, just in case. And possibly welder's masks.)

For those of you not fortunate enough to be attending the festivities live and in person, fear not; as usual, Apple's got you covered. With an Internet connection and working installation of QuickTime, you can at least experience the Magic of Steve via the modern miracle of webcasting. Sure, everything will be small and smeary, and you'll be competing with thousands of Mac fans to grab and hold a stream, but you'll be in significantly less danger from RDF overdose, and it's better than nothing. Well, unless you can't grab a stream at all, in which case it's just as good as nothing. But heck, at least it isn't worse than nothing. Whatever. In any case, bookmark Apple's webcast page and start praying to the Streaming Gods now so that you'll be all ready come 9 AM EDT next Wednesday morning.

On the other hand, if you're not lucky enough to be at the show but you are lucky enough to own a satellite dish, you can partake in the joy via the slightly-less-modern miracle of satellite broadcasting. MacNN has the coordinates if you want 'em. And while nothing's actually been announced officially, we'd be really surprised if Apple misses its chance to take advantage of those great, big screens in the theaters of its existing retail stores to show the keynote live to interested customers. If you live near the Glendale or McLean locations and you don't need to be elsewhere on a Wednesday morning (slacker!), it might be a good bet to go hang out at the mall. Who knows? Maybe they'll even have new iMacs and Power Macs on hand to wheel out during the keynote. Stranger things have happened. Now where'd we put those radiation suits?

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