TV-PGJanuary 9, 2000: Apple is really close to unveiling their Palm-based handheld. Really! Any day now! Meanwhile, Woz speaks out on Steve Jobs for President, and Apple's design influence extends to the highway...
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"Real Soon Now." (1/9/00)

If we at AtAT have one finely-honed survival skill that helps us endure the harshnesses of our modern technological society, it's this: the power of self-delusion. That's right-- collectively we can harness a tremendous willingness to believe in (and wait for) products that haven't even been announced yet. Now, the ability to wait for progress that's due to appear "real soon now" is a skill not unknown to most of the Mac faithful, who taxed their "optimistic patience" muscles to the extreme during Apple's bad patch a few years back; it was the Mac users without the requisite patience who succumbed to the power of the Dark Side. But what we're talking about goes way beyond that. For example, we're still holding out hope for an Apple-branded handheld computer.

Amazing, isn't it? Steve canned the Newton almost two years ago and told us all that a new Apple handheld replacement would appear sometime in 1999. The closest thing we got was the iBook, which, while it can indeed be held in one hand, isn't exactly what we were hoping for on that front. And yet, here we are-- still waiting, still keeping a glimmer of hope alive by virtue of little rumors that surface from time to time. That's right, we're still holding out hope for that long-fabled Apple-branded Palm device. After all, as faithful viewer Johnny 2000 points out, The Register claims the rollout's due "in the very near future." In fact, their sources report that friends-of-friends have seen "early Apple-branded Palm-style devices in limited production," and even Steve himself dropped a big public hint when he introduced the Palm CEO during last week's keynote address: "We've been doing a lot of work with these guys lately."

And so we wait-- or, at least, some of us do. Katie, AtAT's resident fact-checker and Goddess of Minutiae, has been PDAing with a Palm V since Christmas, and digs it to the fullest. Yours Truly, on the other hand, is content to wait and see what innovations Apple will bring to the platform. Especially since, as faithful viewer Rich Lindsay notes, Apple just registered the domain name this past October; currently, loading up simply brings up Apple's home page, but we can't help but wonder just what Apple's got up its big, roomy sleeves...

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Hail To The Chief (1/9/00)

Who's laughing now, folks? See, a couple of months ago we suggested that Steve Jobs should consider leaping into the bloody fray commonly known as the 2000 Presidential race-- but we were scoffed at and ridiculed by non-believers. Okay, so sue us; we don't have the benefit of Steve's infamous Reality Distortion Field™, and thus we don't hold sway over the voting preferences of our viewing audience. We can accept that, since we have the satisfaction of knowing that the other Steve agrees with us. Yup, that's right-- the Woz is voting Steve in 2000.

Well, okay, maybe that's not quite true-- we're not expecting Woz to cast his vote with a write-in for Jobs or anything. But faithful viewer Brian notes that Salon Magazine asked Woz (and others) "What's at stake in the 2000 elections?" Woz, true to his techno-hippie roots, replies, "I don't think anything is at stake" and goes on to describe his early promise never to be political. As a result, he's only voted a handful of times in the past thirty-odd years, and doesn't plan to break that promise now. "The computer economy is what's driving the prosperity. It's the Yahoos, Apples and Microsofts that are creating a better life, not politicians." (Hmmm... Microsoft creating better lives? No comment.)

The really interesting bit, though, is at the end; after his call for the redistribution of wealth and high-speed Internet access for everyone, he notes the following: "The model for the next President should be Steve Jobs. He has the sharpest mind of anyone I know. He can see what's good for people and give it to them before they even know they want it. And he does it without resorting to selling junk." Now do you believe us? Okay, granted, this ringing vote of confidence in the Jobs 2000 movement comes from a man who has taken a lifelong vow of apoliticality (if that's not a word, it should be), but surely it still counts for something. Right? And for those worried about the time commitment, come on-- he's already the full-time CEO of two different companies. We're sure he could squeeze in his White House duties as well. He's Steve!

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But Is It Crash-Proof? (1/9/00)

Is Apple getting into the automotive business? Nah, they're subcontracting it all out. The last big "Mac car" was the new Volkswagen Beetle, which everyone and their grandmothers compared to the iMac; they both came out in 1998, they're cute and curvy, they appeal to roughly the same demographic, and their ad campaigns (the product spinning against a stark background with minimal black text) were startlingly similar. We recall some people even painting Beetles (digitally and in real life) to look like iMacs as publicity stunts; Take, for example, this creation posted on NoBeige.

As for the next generation of Apple cars, faithful viewer Jerry O'Neil points out an Associated Press article which reports that Ford's new "24-7" series of vehicles was "inspired by Apple Computer's popular iMacs." It seems these new concept cars "look like smooth, brightly painted pods, more like the exterior of the egg-shaped, fruity-colored iMac than a car." Forget having a dashboard-- these things have a Desktop: the "virtual dash" is a projected computer image, so you can set up your gauges any way you like and even choose different background patterns. In addition to a standard radio, there's also Internet access and a videophone-- all voice-controlled. If people who use cell phones while driving get on your nerves, wait'll these things get on the road... (Addendum: Faithful viewer Brian steered us toward an story, complete with photos.)

But that's not all. Faithful viewer Jeff Benson sent a link to GM's press release about their new HUMMER H2. "The world's most serious 4x4" has been updated, and its design "draws from other sophisticated consumer tools like G3 high-performance laptop computers and the Spartacus Macintosh.... In essence [the H2] is a functional device wrapped in art." It's just a matter of time now before every car on the road looks like it came out of Apple's design labs. Remember the old joke about "What if Microsoft Built Cars?" Well, we're starting to see what would happen if Apple built them instead...

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