TV-PGJune 15, 2000: Apple prepares next month's iMac speed bump even as lab gnomes work on that system's next-generation Lego-like architecture. Meanwhile, the Microsoft-Bungie buyout rumors heat up and point to some kind of announcement this Monday, and Woz gets inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame...
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Monkey, Monkey-- Match (6/15/00)

If anyone was concerned that the Mac rumors scene might dry up and blow away because of Adobe's lawsuit against AppleInsider, it appears you can put your mind at ease. Despite the fact that Adobe's suit alleges "tens of millions of dollars in irreparable damages" caused by AppleInsider's unauthorized sneak preview of future versions of Photoshop and ImageReady, the rumors over there keep flying fast and fierce. First there was what we consider to be an extremely ill-timed sneak peek at the next version of Office for the Mac-- which Microsoft ordered shut down posthaste. Then it was a piece on ATI's new RADEON graphics chipset and when it may be appearing for the Mac; that article remains available, indicating that ATI needs to hire some more tenacious lawyers if it expects to be taken seriously in this business. And most recently, AppleInsider's posted a doozy of a rumor about the future of the iMac.

Everyone knows that the iMac's sales have been slow recently-- and no wonder, since the current models haven't changed a translucent hair in a staggering eight months. So AppleInsider's dredged up last December's rumor about an iMac with a 17-inch display, spruced it up with some zippy new moves, and served it up as the Juice Du Jour. Here's the skinny: production of current iMacs will cease completely by the end of the month, at which point Apple's manufacturing partners will start cranking out new iMacs in preparation for an Expo unveiling. What's new? Glad you asked. The next mutation in the iMac's evolutionary history is said to include faster G3 processors and Apple's newly-designed USB keyboard and mouse, which is all pretty tame and safe to predict. But it's the iMac DV Special Edition that's getting a serious feature upgrade: in addition to the revamped input devices, the Graphite SE is said to be getting a G4 processor and that long-fabled 17-inch screen.

But wait, there's more! iBox, anyone? The iMac was originally just that-- the iMac. One configuration, one color; perfect for attracting newbies suffering from configuraphobia. Then Apple muddied the waters a bit by introducing the least-technical choice possible: color. Consumers had five flavors from which to choose, but the feature set of each choice was still identical. Fast-forward eight months, and suddenly the choices get a little tougher: there's a Blueberry-only base iMac, five flavors of the iMac DV, and the Graphite DV Special Edition; different colors, different features. And now, if there's any truth to this iBox rumor, Apple's taken the final step and tossed the whole "choice = complexity" equation out the window.

See, the iBox architecture turns the iMac into a build-it-yourself Lego set. Pick a base unit, which is pretty much just the iMac's guts. Then pick a display in a matching color-- there's the classic 15-inch CRT, that 17-inch CRT you've all been waiting for, and even a 15-inch LCD for the flat-screen fetishists out there. Once you've chosen a base and a display, you just snap them together, and voilà: there's the iMac of your dreams. It's kind of like Garanimals for computers. Neat idea, right? But don't count on iBox surfacing in time for the Expo, assuming it even exists at all. We have a hard time believing that something this major wouldn't have leaked before now if it's ready enough to debut next month. Then again, who saw the original iMac coming? You never know.

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D-Day Approaches (6/15/00)

Funny how, in a world filled with mortgage payments, corporate downsizing, car repairs, and the ever-mounting environmental problem caused by mountains of AOL disks, it would be a rumor about a game company that finally gave us a bleeding ulcer. Yes, we're still going on about that Bungie thing; as we mentioned yesterday, scary references to a buyout by Microsoft started floating around the 'net a few days ago, and since then we've been popping antacids like they were Pez. Even though it's still "just" a rumor, the very thought of such a cool formerly Mac-only game company being assimilated by the Redmond Borg is enough to make our spleens hurt.

See, it's hard to keep telling ourselves that it's only a rumor given how many people have written in to confirm our worst fears. Several viewers claim to have first-hand knowledge of Microsoft execs flying into Chicago to seal the deal at Bungie HQ. Worse yet, faithful viewer Stephen White (who's been following this rumor since its humble beginnings as an anonymous discussion group posting last week) notes that an authority no less than Tuncer Deniz himself is lending credence to the story. Tuncer, for the uninitiated, founded Inside Mac Games magazine many years ago, became friends with Bungie during the development of Marathon, left the publication to work for them during the Myth years, and is now back at his old post at IMG. We'd have to guess that he's about as "inside" as it gets without actually working at Bungie in some high-ranking executive capacity. And his recent posts to the IMG forum were worrisome, at best, stating that big news on the subject was coming soon, referring to this current Monday as "D-Day," and predicting that IMG's forum would explode with activity immediately thereafter. Even more ominous is the way in which all those posts have since been deleted...

So, we'll have to wait until at least Monday to learn the truth, but from where we're standing, it doesn't look good. On the plus side, Microsoft's never been one to turn down a potential revenue stream, so the rumors of the cancellation of Mac versions of Halo and Oni in the event of a buyout are pretty darn unlikely, given how much development's already been done. It just means that when you buy Halo next year, it'll have Microsoft's logo on the box-- truly a disturbing thought. And as for anything to come after Halo, well, we wouldn't hold our breath for a Mac version, assuming this buyout becomes reality. So we guess we'll just keep chowing down on the Rolaids until Monday...

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Father Of Invention (6/15/00)

Hey, everybody-- make sure you head over to and congratulate "The Other Steve" on his recent honor. According to an Associated Press story, the Woz was just inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. For his invention of the Apple II personal computer, Woz gets a nifty medallion, an induction ceremony for him and his six co-inductees this September, and the honor of being one of the only 158 inventors ever to have won the award. Pretty sweet.

Woz was, of course, the other co-founder of Apple Computer; he was the brains on the technical end, whereas Steve Jobs was the "suit" (despite pretty much never actually having worn one). Jobs is obviously still a business go-getter, but Woz is more the low-key quiet type-- he raises his kids, teaches school, and runs the WozCam. What with Jobs getting so much media attention over the past several years, it's nice to see Apple's other founder capture a little sliver of the spotlight. Drop by and check out his responses to other people's congrats, and contribute your own. Without him, there'd have been no Apple, and without Apple, we'd all be using DOS or something.

But we're not just bringing this up because it's a nice honor for Woz; we'd be remiss if we failed to leverage this award as further fuel for the classic rumor of the Disney buyout of Apple that's going to happen "real soon now." For you see, one of Woz's co-inductees this year is none other than Walt Disney himself, who is being honored for his invention of a "special camera for filming animation." Walt and Woz both being inducted at the same time; coincidence? Yeah, right. If you believe that, you're probably one of those incurable skeptics who thinks Walt's head isn't cryogenically frozen beneath Disneyland, ready to be thawed out as soon as the Apple takeover's complete. Get ready for that Apple logo to sprout big round mouse ears, because the signs are crystal clear, baby.

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