TV-PGAugust 29, 2003: The summer Macworld Expo lives-- and it lives in Boston, albeit sans Apple. Meanwhile, long-suffering G5 customers report the sudden addition of four more weeks to their delivery times, and some guy dons a turtle suit in hopes of landing Apple as a corporate account...
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When Slim Chances Get Fat (8/29/03)

Wow, now this one actually is a shock: faithful viewer Garrett tipped us off to the fact that IDG World Expo has apparently concluded that "in-depth study" of the merits of Boston vs. New York as a venue for next summer's Macworld Expo-- er, sorry, Macworld CreativePro. We figured only two outcomes were possible: either IDG would announce that the show was staying in New York after all, or it would cancel the show altogether. We never dreamed that a third outcome was possible, and if we had, we'd probably have identified it as the slim chance that the show would be moved to Dilworth, Minnesota and held at Casey's Carry-Out Pizza on Center Avenue. We definitely didn't think there was a Ballmer's chance in Bally that the show would actually happen in Boston, as originally promised.

Apparently miracles do happen.

IDG has officially announced that, yes, the show will take place in Boston next summer after all, and one can only wonder just what kind of staggering bribe Boston city officials had to throw their way (or what sort of heinous dirt they're blackmailing them with-- we're guessing Polaroids depicting "questionable subject matter") in order to come out of all this with the Expo clenched tightly in its teeth. And yes, we said "Expo." Despite IDG bigwig David Korse's recent assertion that even if the show did move to Boston, it'd be Macworld CreativePro, not Macworld Expo ("Macworld is only going to happen once a year, in California," he insisted), now IDG is once again referring to the confirmed Boston gig as "Macworld Conference & Expo." He's even going so far as to say "we have decided to continue the Macworld tradition on the East Coast as originally planned." Hmmmm... "Wishy, meet Washy. You two are going to get along famously."

Of course, all that jabbering about carrying on the "Macworld tradition" rings a little hollow, considering that certain minor aspects of the traditional Macworld Expo will be conspicuously absent at next summer's show-- like, oh, we don't know, let's say... Apple. MacMinute reports that Apple has reiterated its "We Hate Boston" position: "When IDG initially announced its plans to move summer Macworld to Boston in 2004, we were very clear that we didn't think it was a good move." (Uh, yyyyeah... too bad they reportedly never bothered to mention that in the months before the deal was inked, despite the fact that they were allegedly in the loop the whole time and had even approved the move as late as two weeks before the announcement, but hey, whatever.) "Our position stands and Apple will not be participating in Macworld Boston."

Meanwhile, Apple confirms that Bostonians should take this personally, because it's still "100 percent committed to Macworld San Francisco in January every year." (Apparently as a city we don't bathe enough.) Too bad Charlie Greco's not still there to pull his insane "you know how badly they want to do San Francisco; we don't have to let them" stunt again. That one was great. Ah, good times...

Without Apple's participation, there's still a pretty hefty chance that the show will fold before next summer, since there's a precedent of Appleless Mac trade shows going belly-up due to low exhibitor counts and lack of attendee interest. But if it does happen, who knows? Maybe IDG will have such a tough time signing up exhibitors for its Apple-free show that even AtAT will be able to afford a cheap booth. (Hey IDG-- we've got twelve bucks. What can you give us?) And now that it's a good ol' Expo again and not a CreativePro, we presumably don't have to worry about that stupid new "no kids under 12" rule and Anya can come, too. And the way things are shaping up, we'll have the whole place to ourselves! Mmmmm, spacious!

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Eh, What's Another Month? (8/29/03)

Seeing as we're heading into a long weekend, we figured you could use an extra dose of angst to carry you through 'til Tuesday, so don your crash helmets and make sure your wills are up to date (you did leave everything to us, right?), because what we're about to tell you will may well make your brain broil with the utter shock of it all. Ready? Get this: some dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac G5s are going to be a little late. Yes, we know it's the biggest surprise since the Luke-I-am-your-father thing, but please, try to keep your sizzling grey matter off the carpet. At least until we can buy stock in Bissell.

It's like this: several shellshocked AtAT viewers have written in to inform us that last night, their dual G5 orders (mostly placed within minutes of the system's debut at the Apple Store back in June) slipped from an August 29th ship date all the way down to September 26th. From this we can come to two conclusions. The first is that we can't believe so many of you are getting dual-processor G5s. We hate you. We hate you a lot. The second, of course, is that at some point last night, Apple suddenly said, "gee, there are about 60,000 preorders to ship by tomorrow, and it looks like we've only got about... (mumble mumble... carry the 1...) ...two. Guess it's time to tack another four weeks onto those ship dates." (MacMinute doesn't infer why the shipments have been delayed, but confirms that the delays do exist.)

This is not to say, however, that Apple won't keep its promise to ship the dual G5 by the end of August; it will indeed ship "the dual G5," just not all of them. We won't be terribly surprised if a press release pops up even over the weekend to confirm that the company has "started shipping" the heavily in-demand powerhouses. What the revised September 26th ship dates do mean, though, is that Apple's official statement about two weeks ago that it was "on target to ship all orders for G5 machines this month" has flown clean out the window, and we just gotta say, it's a mite alarming that even some of the very first orders placed over two months ago still won't ship for another month yet.

Or will they? At least one customer, writing to MacNN, reports that his ship date did indeed change from 8/29 to 9/26 last night-- and then mysteriously changed back to 8/29 after midnight Cupertino time, as if nothing had happened. Ooooooo. Maybe it's a poltergeist. Maybe it's the ghost of the horribly-dismembered web gnome who accidentally leaked the G5 specs exacting his vengeance. Maybe Apple's secret experiments in time travel are causing eddies in the space-time continuum. Maybe it's just interference from the space ship of a couple of aliens who swung by to see if Steve Jobs wanted to hit a kegger over in Alpha Centauri. We may never know.

We've got one more possible explanation, however: Apple is shipping all G5 backorders by Monday, but it's stretching out reported delivery times to account for its new shipping company. AtAT sources report that, in an effort to lower operational expenses, Apple has signed an exclusive three-year contract with George Express, which put in the low bid for the account. The extra shipping time allotted to G5 deliveries is meant to account for the fact that it's going to take George an awful long time to deliver all those G5s on the handlebars of his Schwinn after school. If you've got a G5 on order, keep one ear open-- George has baseball cards in his spokes, so you'll hear him coming!

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Invasion Of The Turtle-Men (8/29/03)

Before we depart to prepare for the various and sundry solemn rituals of the hallowed Labor Day Weekend, we thought we'd leave you with an ultra-concentrated infusion of surrealism to help you cope with your AtATless existence for the next three days. (Because it's not like any of you have ever had to live without us for eleven weeks before or anything.) This is actually something we've been sitting on for a week, because we figured it was the perfect thing to throw at you on our way out the door today; now that it's got a solid week's worth of AtAT butt-groove, it's finally ready to unleash.

The Apple Turtle! So here's the scoop: faithful viewer JL! informed us that last Friday there was a "man in a giant turtle outfit" hanging around outside Apple headquarters in Cupertino. Reportedly he was waving at passing cars and holding a sign that read "BREAK 10% MARKET SHARE - BEAT DELL - BEAT HP."


Of course, what may have been weirder is that said Turtle-Man was not just some overzealous Mac fan who ate the wrong kind of mushrooms and decided it'd be a hoot to dress up as a shelled reptile, hold a sign, and accost traffic to further the cause of increasing the Mac's market share-- we expect that sort of thing happens every day. No, this was different; this Turtle-Man was a marketing ploy. See, his sign pointed people to, which replicates the text of the flyers he was also handing out; it seems he was trying to land Apple as an account for Delta Beta In-Flight, Inc., who proposes turning "bored passengers" on commercial airline flights into "switchers" by providing "a Mac experience during their flight."

So it sounds like they're proposing renting or loaning out PowerBooks during flights as a way of exposing as many people as possible to the Apple way of life; Delta Beta claims that "United, American, and Delta go face-to-face with over 100,000 passengers per day. Compare that to the number of people who shop at Apple Stores." Overall, it doesn't sound like a bad idea; sort of like that old thing where Mac resellers would actually let a prospective customer take a loaner Mac home overnight to give it a whirl. We've actually heard people suggest programs like this before. Just not, you know, while dressed as a big turtle.

What we want to know is whether the turtle thing worked, and Delta Beta ever got a call from someone at Apple-- to discuss the in-flight loaner idea, not to complain about the psychotic guy in a turtle suit loitering in front of their campus. We wouldn't be a bit surprised if they did. After all, every great success story has a turtle suit in it somewhere.

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