TV-PGOctober 10, 1999: Cut the Pentium humor-- the G4 has its own "errata" now. Meanwhile, Time Magazine unveils its salute to Steve Jobs, even as the iCEO finds himself in an epic secret struggle against anti-Tangerine operatives sworn to thwart his plans to promote the color to "most popular" status...
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It's Payback Time (10/10/99)
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Stop the Pentium math-error jokes, because those of us in the PowerPC camp suddenly have a lot less to smile about. According to a MacWEEK article, Apple's 500 MHz Power Mac G4 isn't going to surface in October as originally planned, due to "errata" in the G4 chip design that cause problems when the processor is run at 500 MHz or higher. When the problem kicks in, the processor's data cache can become corrupted. D'oh! So much for having a G4/500 by Thanksgiving...

If you already have a Power Mac G4, don't panic-- your desktop supercomputer is just fine, since Apple's only been shipping 400 and 450 MHz systems so far. So even though the G4 in your Graphite tower of power is at Revision 2.6 and contains the flaw, you'll never see it unless you're one of those warranty-voiding daredevils who wants to overclock the processor to 500 MHz or higher. Apple won't be releasing 500 MHz systems until Motorola releases 500 MHz chips-- which they won't do until they fix the problems with Revision 2.8, now due this December. And even if Apple did ship 500 MHz systems with "flawed" Revision 2.6 chips, the MacWEEK article claims that the error might never show itself on Macs anyway. Still, this whole thing is another PR black eye for Apple, following hard upon the earnings warning they issued a couple of weeks ago, blaming a lack of G4 processors for their lower-than expected profit in Q499. (By the way, have you entered our Beat The Analysts contest yet? You've only got until Wednesday afternoon, so hurry up and register your best guess as to Apple's final financial results!)

On the plus side, there's a slight difference between Motorola's latest G4 woes and the Pentium scandal that launched a thousand jokes. Motorola knows about the problem, is working to fix it, and won't release 500+ MHz G4 chips until the problems are solved. Intel, if we recall correctly, not only actually shipped the "bad" Pentiums, but also downplayed the importance of the error ("most people won't be affected") when news of it was made public; it was only after the whole world basically started making death threats that the company finally agreed to a recall. Of course, that isn't stopping the anti-Mac folks from having a field day with this "errata" report. Ah, what the heck-- let 'em have their fun. It's only gracious to allow a little light into their otherwise joyless Wintel existence...


 
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Time For Steve Jobs (10/10/99)
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He may never have won "Man of the Year" status, but Time Magazine has put Steve Jobs on the cover of its latest issue anyway. There he is, smiling enigmatically, sharing the cover with the stars of the two companies he currently runs; he's sandwiched between two iMacs and escorted by Woody and Buzz of the upcoming Pixar treat "Toy Story 2." While we haven't actually seen the issue in question, the web site indicates that it's a virtual Steve-fest, so if you're a dead-tree-edition type of person, stop by your local newsstand for a whole lotta Jobs.

For the "print is dead" contingent among our viewership, fear not-- TIME.com has plenty of digital content for you as well. There's the feature article, "Steve's Two Jobs," which provides a fairly comprehensive overview of the man and the myth. Then there's "Steve Jobs at 45," Time's exclusive interview with everyone's favorite iCEO, which gives lots of "in-his-own-words" insights into Steve's mind. There's also a quickie look at the new iMac (in which the author reveals that the lack of a fan does indeed make the top of the iMac feel hot), a poke around Pixar, and a sneak peek at Toy Story 2, due out this Thanksgiving. It's enough to leave you all Steved out.

Like we said, it's a whole lotta Jobs. But what's this? At the bottom of each online article is an ad pushing subscriptions to Time, and whose smiling visage should be peering out of the "4 free trial issues" graphic but Bill Gates himself. Man, is there anywhere that Bill won't try to horn in on Steve's action? Tsk, tsk. It's shameless, it really is.


 
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The Epic Struggle Rages (10/10/99)
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Reports are flooding in from happy iBook owners who were either impulsive enough to have placed one of the earliest Apple Store pre-orders or lucky enough to have found iBooks on the shelves at the local Sears. Overall, everyone seems really happy with their purchases; people are going on endlessly about the brightness of the screen, the usefulness of the programmable function keys, and the fact that even after running for hours on end, the iBook hardly even gets warm-- a significant departure from the "volcano heat" put out by the Powerbook G3. In fact, there haven't been any recurring complaints, save one: several viewers expressed feelings along the lines of "I love this iBook, but I wish I could have gotten Tangerine instead of Blueberry."

Is this another facet of the Great Tangerine Conspiracy? Try to keep up, here. First, Steve Jobs unveiled the new fruit-flavored iMacs this past January, amid thunderous applause by fashion-conscious Mac-lovers everywhere. But soon the sales numbers revealed that Tangerine is by far the least popular iMac flavor. This fact proved irksome to iCEO Steve Jobs, who really likes Tangerine, and who then secretly resolved to boost the flavor's popularity by whatever means necessary. In May, Apple announced a new addition to Apple's board of directors: Millard Drexler, the CEO of Gap, Inc. In the press release, Steve referred to Drexler by his nickname "Mickey," indicating a certain familiarity that foreshadowed what was to come next. We speak, of course, of the Gap's "everybody in vests" commercial which flooded the airwaves in late summer, pushing orange as the hip color for fall; soon after, Steve unveiled the iBook, and announced that it would be available only in Tangerine and Blueberry, thus elevating the importance of his favorite orange hue on the consumer Mac color wheel. Everything was going according to plan.

But now that the iBooks are finally available, it appears that Tangerine units are scarcer than scarce. Only a few of the folks who pre-ordered Tangerine systems appear to have received them, even though Blueberry orders placed at the same time seem to have been fulfilled. So after months of careful plotting and planning, what derailed Steve's Tangerine dreams? According to Apple Insider, the Taiwanese earthquake is only partially responsible; apparently the iBook's manufacturers, Alpha Top, are still waiting for an iBook component to show up, and that component is Tangerine. So while they're slowly building Blueberry units despite quake-related difficulties, Tangerine iBook production is at a standstill while this unspecified part remains missing in action. Could the missing Tangerine component's MIA status be the work of an international anti-Tangerine consortium? Well, duh. Looks like Steve's got some adversaries to conquer in his race to crown Tangerine the king of the color world.


 
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