TV-PGAugust 24, 2001: We'll see you at the Woodfield Apple store opening tomorrow-- or maybe the Northshore one next week. Meanwhile, those rumored PowerBook price drops just became official, so the channel flush is on, and "Redmond Justice" gets a new face-- with a funky new name...
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Shopper's Bliss Overdose (8/24/01)
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Ooooo, our cup runneth over with retaily goodness. As we've mentioned before, the AtAT staff just happens to be flying to Chicago tonight on personal business, but we're going to have a little time to kill before the big event-- say, from 7AM til early afternoon tomorrow. Now, let's see... Chicago's a big, rockin' town; surely there's something that could occupy our time. The Sears Tower? The Art Institute? The Fireside Bowl? Nah... on second thought, we'll just go hang out at the mall.

The Woodfield Mall, that is, where, by an extraordinary coincidence, Apple just happens to be opening its newest retail store tomorrow at 9 AM. Call it kismet, because we swear we were already planning to fly to Chicago for the day long before the Woodfield store's grand opening date was announced. Not being ones to look a coincidence horse in the mouth, you can bet your sweet bippies that we'll be there with bells on-- or at least AtAT t-shirts, which are less annoying because they don't jingle. If you're going to be there, keep your eyes peeled for us, say hello, and get a free AtAT sticker (while supplies last). It's kind of like "Where's Waldo," only this time, if you successfully spot the right geek in the crowd, you might actually get a little something tangible for your trouble instead of that "satisfaction and sense of accomplishment" rubbish. (And no, we won't be wearing red and white striped hats.)

But wait, we're doubly blessed; not only do we get to attend our first Apple store grand opening tomorrow morning, but we also get to repeat the experience 900 miles away and closer to home just seven days later! Yes, people, several sources have come forward with "official documents" revealing that the first Boston-area Apple store will be opening at the Northshore Mall in Peabody on September 1st. (They didn't quite make Steve's "opening in August" deadline, but we doubt anyone's going to be horsewhipped for a one-day delay. Tortured with red-hot pokers, maybe, but not horsewhipped.)

If you don't want to take our word for it, well, we don't have any real evidence we can include here without stepping on some toes, but we'll bet that Apple's main retail page will move the Apple Store Northshore into the "Coming Soon" slot sometime tomorrow. And for those of you who can't wait, faithful viewers Mike and Francis McDonough both demonstrated extreme cleverness (or at least basic mammalian pattern recognition) by typing in "http://www.apple.com/retail/northshore/" just for kicks. Give it a shot, and voilà: you get a blurb, a map, and directions, unlinked from any public Apple page, but loadable to your heart's content once you're in the know. Note that this page didn't exist a couple of days ago, so it's a pretty good hint that Northshore's next in line-- and given Apple's penchant for opening these boutiques on Saturdays, September 1st is a virtual shoo-in. See you there?


 
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I Got Flowers In The Spring (8/24/01)
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Seeing as it's a relatively quiet Friday, let's revisit this whole "no new hardware" controversy again for a second. First of all, the latest development is that, as we predicted yesterday, Apple has indeed ended its "Burning Desires" promotion ten days ahead of schedule; sometime yesterday afternoon, the promo page magically transformed to report an August 24th end date instead of the originally listed September 3rd. That lends a whole lot of credence to Wednesday's premonition that PowerBook prices are going to fall off a cliff tomorrow. (You've probably noticed by now that after our Wednesday episode, everybody on the planet has been reporting $400-500 price drops on TiBooks starting tomorrow-- including Apple. What can we say? We're trendsetters.)

So the price drops are now official. Now, we find it singularly unlikely that Apple would slash prices so drastically unless it were trying to flush the channel as titanium-free as possible in preparation for a couple of new configurations. And yes, Steve did clearly state that there would be no new hardware products launched at the Apple Expo in Paris at the end of next month, but a revised PowerBook isn't exactly a "new hardware product," so he might just be playing with semantics. Regardless, as far as promises of no new hardware in Paris go, faithful viewer Susanna pointed out a CNET article in which it's noted that an official Apple representative "would not say whether the same holds true for Apple Vice President Phil Schiller, who is giving a keynote address at Seybold Seminars" the day before-- with Steve live via satellite.

And notice how Apple's is the only Seybold keynote listed as a "SPECIAL KEYNOTE"? We're pretty sure that isn't referring to a transatlantic Phil-n'-Steve duet of "I Got You Babe." (In case you're wondering, Phil sings the Cher part.) We're just guessing at this point, but we can certainly imagine Apple making a big push to persuade the Seybold crowd that the new, even-faster PowerBook G4 is everything they'd ever want in a production powerhouse on the go. Dare we dream of a PowerBook demo of Final Cut Pro for Mac OS X 10.1? Or maybe a Photoshop "bake-off" between the new high-end PowerBook and a Wintel desktop system? Whatever. In any case, if a revised PowerBook doesn't figure significantly at both Seybold and the Apple Expo, we're going to be more than a little surprised. Now if only that LCD iMac could crawl its way out the door...


 
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Who Drew The Short Straw? (8/24/01)
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And awaaaaaay we go: "Redmond Justice" enters its bajillionth chapter today with the addition of a new permanent member to the cast... but who? Following Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's abrupt departure under a dark cloud of having engaged in such judicial no-nos as yakking to the press, a federal appeals court booted the case back to a lower court-- and a new judge, who was to be chosen by lottery sometime today. (Okay, so it's not PowerBall, but try to stay focused anyway.)

The amusing thing is that just yesterday the Wall Street Journal was reporting that many of the eighteen eligible judges were awaiting today's lottery with dread. Apparently the Microsoft antitrust case is viewed as something of a hot potato-- or maybe a hot potato wrapped in barbed wire and coated in anthrax and flesh-eating bacteria. After having watched Judge Jackson become the center of some very unwelcome attention, it sounds like most of the circuit court judges were praying that their number would stay unchosen at the bottom of the hat.

But the fateful day has finally arrived-- so who's the lucky judge? According to a CNET article kindly forwarded to us by faithful viewer Carl Bond, Microsoft's fate now rests in the capable hands of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (Say that out loud-- it's fun!) We don't know much about her, other than she has an entertainingly alliterative name and virtually zero background in antitrust law, but we can say this much: we can't believe it's taken this long for the producers of "Redmond Justice" to bring a woman onto the show. What do you think-- "random" lottery, or transparent grab for ratings?

Either way, now we wait and see. As the other judges all heave sighs of relief at having dodged a particularly intrusive bullet, Judge Kollar-Kotelly is going to have to decide whether Microsoft broke the law by tying Internet Explorer to Windows, and also what sort of remedy might actually prevent the company from shamelessly pulling this sort of stunt over and over again as it has since the dawn of time. Here's hoping she keeps the show as entertaining as Judge Jackson always did. If she laughs in court, that'll be a good first sign.


 
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