TV-PGSeptember 5, 2001: It's September-- almost time for syndicated Buffy and Mac OS X 10.1. Meanwhile, a financial analyst actually says nice things about Apple even during these troubled economic times, and AtAT is showing up in some unexpected-- and possibly unwelcome-- places these days...
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Countdown To Buffy (& 10.1) (9/5/01)

Holy cats, we're already five days into September, and you know what that means: less than three weeks until the start of syndicated Buffy episodes on fx! Oh, and for those of you who insist on remaining strictly on-topic, it also heralds the imminent release of Mac OS X 10.1. Personally, we're more excited about the former than the latter. Don't get us wrong; we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of a version of Apple's next-generation operating system that reacts more quickly than a banana slug on methadone, and we will indeed party down when said day arrives. It's just a matter of priorities, and the prospect of first- and second-season Buffy exploits five times a week has us all aflutter. After all, sure, we're looking forward to DVD playback in an Aqua environment, but on the other hand, it's been a really long time since we've seen a floppy-haired Xander almost get his head bitten off by a giant amorous praying mantis posing as a substitute teacher.

Still, Buffy's syndication debut has a hard-and-fast date of September 24th, and thus lacks the necessary uncertainty to fuel frenzied speculation. Meanwhile, all we know about Mac OS X 10.1 is that Steve told us it would ship "in September." Pretty much all we can say for certain, then, is that we can now safely amend that to "in September, but not on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or (probably) 5th." That leaves the rest of the month wide open for all of you to start your little office pools. If you do, we suggest charging extra for the September 25th and 26th squares, since those dates mark the Apple keynotes at Seybold and Apple Expo respectively, and as such are heavily favored by the odds.

But what's this? In addition to having published lengthy excerpts from reader reports on recent prerelease builds of 10.1 (and really, who doesn't need a screenshot of a giant Brightness icon to jazz up his or her humdrum existence?), Mac OS Rumors has added a little note identifying Apple's current targeted 10.1 release date as being Thursday, September 13th. Of course, there are the usual caveats about possible delays and last-minute show-stopper bugs, but if you put any stock in MOSR's recon and the 13th still isn't taken in your office 10.1 release pool, you may want to snap it up before the oddsmakers notice and jack up the price.

Speaking of unconfirmed 10.1 rumors, you may have noticed some widespread grumbling inspired by Apple's decision to charge customers $20 for the "free" 10.1 upgrade; Apple claims it's for shipping and handling, while the complainers somewhat validly argue that it's rather incongruous of the company to charge anything for an upgrade that essentially makes Mac OS X finally work like it should have in the first place. Well, last month we floated a suggestion that Apple consider giving away the 10.1 update CDs to customers who stop in at its retail stores armed with a Mac OS X proof of purchase-- and since then, we've heard several unconfirmed reports that Apple plans to do just that. Again, these are entirely unconfirmed reports and we're not putting much stock in them, but if they turn out to be true, then at least those of you near an Apple boutique might be able to get your hands on 10.1 for the cost of the round-trip gas money. If it turns out to be true and it was our suggestion that saves you a couple of sawbucks, don't applaud-- just buy a t-shirt. Or send us blank videotapes, because we're going to need 'em once fx-Buffy kicks in.

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See? They Aren't ALL Bad (9/5/01)

As you are all likely well aware, Mac fans typically don't get along terribly well with financial analysts-- or, should we say, with those entities that the rest of the world calls "financial analysts," but that we more commonly refer to as "scum-sucking sleaze-weasels." Aside from that brief period a year or so ago when the analysts were falling all over themselves to praise Apple to the moon, more typically they fall into a default state of telling investors that Apple is doomed. (That's why viewers are frequently disappointed to discover that our quarterly "Beat The Analysts" contest is actually about outguessing the pessimistic little buggers and not about pounding them into paste with heavy blunt instruments-- though, due to viewer feedback, we're considering changing that next quarter.)

Anyway, we're always delighted when we can find an analyst we actually like, and at least for now, Brett Miller of AG Edwards certainly qualifies. As faithful viewer Bob Gulien kindly pointed out, a Macworld UK article reports that Miller is currently "optimistic" about Apple's future. In particular, he rates Apple's stock a "buy" because iTunes, iMovie, and iDVD represent the "best available" consumer digital video and audio packages out there. Moreover, he thinks there's at least one upside to the current economic meltdown: it's "creating one of the best opportunities for Apple to gain market share."

How? Well, it's nothing we haven't heard before, but basically Miller thinks the "vicious warfare" raging between PC manufacturers in the consumer space isn't going to affect Apple's prices or margins overly much, since Apple customers-- that's us, by the way-- are "'materially uninterested' in Wintel alternatives." So while the Wintel boxmakers are slashing each other to bits, Apple can keep right on doing its own thing without being ravaged by disappearing margins, mounting debt, and a tidal wave of pink slips. And while a beleaguered Gateway is closing stores left and right, Apple is opening retail locations at the rate of one a week, thus sticking the Mac in front of an ever-increasing number of eyeballs. Because of this, "Apple will be in the face of the consumer and education markets like never before."

Now this is an analyst we can trust. And then, just as icing on the cake, AG Edwards rated DELL as "reduce." Do we love these guys, or what?

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You Can Quote Us On That (9/5/01)

Ah, the dark side of fame! When we set out to take over the world by crafting an intensely popular and hypnotic 'net soap capable of holding hordes of dutiful minions in our thrall, little did we suspect that someday we'd start seeing our own timeless words appearing in surprising and occasionally unwelcome places. It's one thing to be quoted on occasion; being quoted out of context and sans any hint of irony, on the other hand, can be just a wee bit painful.

See, here's an example of a "good" cameo: faithful viewer Necris Rex pointed out that we made an unexpected appearance in, of all things, an article on alternative religions. The article itself is a lighthearted take on an age-old subject: the concept of the Mac faithful as cult. Indeed, we had taken a stab at it ourselves back in May when we noted the disturbing similarities between Mac community behavior and "cult characteristics" listed by the Cultic Studies Journal, which is what spawned our surprise walk-on appearance in the article in the first place. But our original scene was simply used as a springboard for some editorial musings, everything worked out just fine, and no one got hurt.

At the other end of the spectrum, faithful viewer Kat noticed that, unbeknownst to us, we actually got quoted in an article for an Australian IT web site that evidently forgot to read our disclaimer. First of all, we were described not as "an edge-of-your-seat drama destined for Emmy consideration any day now," but rather as "a Macintosh rumour and gossip Web site." Clearly something is terribly, terribly amiss, here. And then, in describing last month's brouhaha when Microsoft "upgraded" Internet Explorer and killed QuickTime in the process, the article quotes us as describing the "upgrade" as "obviously an overt anti-competitive sleazoid move" and "part of some massive conspiracy to undermine Apple's media technology."

Now, of course, we did say that, but taken out of context, it makes us sound like raving paranoiacs! In contrast, if you go back and read what we said in context, we think you'll agree that we instead come across as calm, collected, and well-medicated paranoiacs. Ooo, we hate being misrepresented... but that's what happens when everyone's out to get you.

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