TV-PGOctober 4, 1999: The clock keeps ticking, as the Mac faithful continue to wonder what Steve Jobs has in store besides the new iMacs and Mac OS 9; is a departure in the cards? Meanwhile, Imatec has resorted to issuing press releases announcing what they "speculate," and Intel continues its streak of unfortunate product names...
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Thinking Scary Thoughts (10/4/99)

We're scant hours away from the latest big Apple "event," and as expected, even the mainstream online press is chock-full of articles with titles like "Apple Expected To Launch New iMacs Tuesday," "Apple may detail new iMac tomorrow," and "New Apple to Fall From Tree: Announcement of new iMac Expected Tuesday." There isn't a soul alive with an Internet connection and even a molecule of interest in Apple's next move who isn't expecting the imminent arrival of the next iMac when Steve steps up to the microphone. But the man loves to surprise us, and we're more convinced than ever that he's taken the Kihei leaks personally. It's likely he has something up his sleeve-- something big that's carefully calculated to drop jaws, blow minds, and send the press scrambling for the scoop.

As for what that surprise might be, hey, that's anyone's guess. Enter faithful viewer Dan Brown, who offers up one "outrageous prediction" as food for thought: "Jobs announces that he's accomplished all he wanted to with the new Apple and resigns. He appoints CFO Fred Anderson as the new full-time CEO." Wow. Now that would draw some serious attention. Sure, it might not be the kind of attention that Apple needs right now, but you have to admit, Dan's scenario is a doozy. And is it really that far-fetched? Especially in light of the Inc article pointed out by scads of faithful viewers, which posits that Steve's charisma was just what Apple needed two years ago, but that now the Board should "throw him out" before his ego brings everything tumbling down again. (Oooo, harsh.)

Let's get something straight: we're not saying Jobs should be ousted. Heck, we love having Steve around; he's got real star power, and he keeps the viewers tuning in. Similarly, Dan Brown was just offering up a cool soap opera moment to keep us occupied until Steve gets up there and does his thing. Few people in the Mac community actually agree with the suggestion put forth in the Inc article, at least if MacCentral's followup is any indication. Still, you've got to admit, for a man with such a flair for drama, a public resignation is about as dramatic as it gets. Here's hoping that today's surprise is, say, a new Apple handheld PDA instead...

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Stop The Presses! (10/4/99)

You just have to love a company who has never had an actual product, has never made any actual income, has reportedly been busted for illegal sale of stock, and whose entire prospects seem to rest upon the outcome of a long-shot billion-dollar lawsuit against a former underdog who's just getting back on top again. And if that isn't enough reason to love Imatec for being the "rodeo clown" in the ongoing drama of Apple Computer, well, how about the transparent way they issue press releases every time someone blinks twice, just to keep the lawsuit in the news in hopes of attracting additional investment capital? These guys (or maybe that should be "this guy," since Imatec appears to consist entirely of the litigious Dr. Hanoch Shalit) are the vegan cream substitute in our coffee, because we can always count on an Imatec press release to make us smile.

Take this latest example, which announces that Imatec "speculated that Apple's decision not to release 'ColorSync for Windows' may be due, in part, to the pending litigation" between Imatec and Apple. (In case you've forgotten because you don't read Imatec's hourly press releases to remind you, Imatec alleges that Apple's ColorSync technology infringes on Imatec patents and so the company is seeking $1.1 billion in damages, with the possibility of triple damages because they claim Apple infringed knowingly and willingly.) We have to say, we read a lot of press releases, and this is the very first we've encountered that is announcing somebody's speculation. Believe us, we'll be grinning for days after this one.

That's not to say, of course, that Apple's decision to nix Windows ColorSync has nothing to do with the lawsuit. It's entirely possible that Apple wants to limit the damages for which they're liable by holding off on releasing the technology into the much wider Windows market, just as Imatec "speculates." But allow us to "speculate" a bit ourselves... Perhaps Apple's decided that releasing ColorSync for the Windows platform would erase one of the big advantages the Mac still holds in the publishing arena? Perhaps Apple would rather spend development time and money strengthening the Mac's position in one of its biggest markets, instead of helping Microsoft overcome one of Windows' biggest stumbling blocks? Perhaps Apple's finding that getting ColorSync to work correctly under Windows is a royal pain in the behind? Hmmm, maybe we should issue our own press release: "Today, As the Apple Turns speculated that Apple might be holding off on releasing ColorSync for Windows because Bill Gates is a doody-head. The production team of As the Apple Turns also speculates that it may have burritos for dinner tonight."

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Just Call It "Lemmy" (10/4/99)

Man, what is it with Intel's chip names lately? First there was the Pentium-- now, that's a pretty solid moniker, if you ask us. It's got that vaguely Roman-gods ancient feel, while also sounding like a newly-discovered chemical element. And it's got a root of "pent," which means five, as in "586." So we think they had a winner in that name, and we're not surprised that they went with "Pentium II" and "Pentium III" (note the Roman numerals) instead of introducing new names as the opportunities arose. If it ain't broke, don't rename it.

But then there was the Celeron. What exactly was up with that? We can't help but think that the team appointed to name Intel's new lower-power, lower-cost processor for consumer-level systems stayed up all night before the deadline getting stoned, munching on celery sticks and watching Cylon Centurions on old Battlestar Galactica tapes. To us, the name "Celeron" evokes nothing more than crunchy green vegetables and big shiny robot-dudes with glowing red eyes. It's not exactly what we'd call the most effectively-named product on the market.

And now, Intel has announced that they've picked a name for the next-generation processor known to the world by its code name of "Merced." The code name itself was problematic; people who aren't familiar with the term are prone to wonder if it's pronounced "murrKED" or "murrSED" or even "MURRKD" (the past-tense form of the verb "to merc"?). And while the new, official name for the 64-bit processor destined for high-end workstations and servers next year is easier to pronounce, it's dorky in other ways. Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of an Associated Press article, we give you-- Itanium.

Yes, Itanium. As in, "Titanium" after the "T" fell off. Perhaps after the "Celeron" debacle, Intel decided that the whole "-ium" thing worked so well before, they should stick with the tried and true, but in our humble opinion, Itanium just sounds like a really strong metal that's falling apart. Ah, well... perhaps when the next chip comes along they'll strike Pentium gold again. If nothing else, we have to admit that at least Intel's processor names are more interesting than Motorola's "PowerPC 7400," or even Apple's "G4" nickname. Then again, if the only other option is a name like "Celeron" or "Itanium," we'll stick with the numbers, thanks.

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