TV-PGAugust 3, 2000: It's yet another lawsuit-- only this time, even Apple doesn't know whom it's suing. Meanwhile, delays in deliveries of dual-processor G4 systems may be due to more than just the usual production crazies, and while the G4 seems stalled out in the Megahertz Races, source say not to count it out just yet...
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"We're Suing... Somebody." (8/3/00)

Wouldn't you know it? Yesterday we mourned the recent lack of interesting happenings in the world of Apple, and the signal had barely left our studios before Steve decided to make us look bad. Faithful viewer Tony Misasi alerted us to Apple Legal's latest exciting foray into the wild and woolly world of intellectual property litigation, and this time it's not about cheesy-looking iMac knockoffs. A two-sentence company press release is short on details, but paints the broad strokes: "Apple today filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court for Santa Clara County, California against an unknown individual who has posted Apple's trade secret information on the Internet." In other words, the War on Rumors has escalated, and Apple's taking the battle to the courtroom. Hold on tight, because this could get ugly.

Of particular dramatic note is the curious fact that Apple is suing an unknown individual. When reading about the suit in the original Reuters bulletin, we assumed that "unknown" meant "unknown to Reuters"-- in other words, "known to, but undisclosed by, Apple." But as faithful viewer Alex was quick to point out, it's even weirder than that; Apple honestly doesn't know who the culprit is. The company has indeed filed a lawsuit against a "John Doe." We were originally going to assure you all that the target of the suit isn't anyone at AtAT, but hey, since Apple doesn't even know whom it's suing, how can we be sure? It could be anyone. It could be your grandmother! Quick, tell her to get out of the country!

Luckily, sites such as MacNN and Think Secret have unearthed all kinds of tasty details missing from Apple's terse statement. At this stage, all available evidence points to Apple's target being someone who posted "images of the Apple Pro Mouse and dual-processor G4 machines to rumor-based forums." Which rumor-based forum? Try not to die of shock; the Vegas odds are favoring AppleInsider's. It seems that a member of that posting board named "Worker Bee" did, in fact, post Pro Mouse and dual G4 pictures to the forum and a couple of GeoCities web pages, which have since been pulled down following the filing of the lawsuit. Furthermore, Yahoo! has reportedly been subpoenaed by Apple in an attempt to discover the identity of the person who opened the GeoCities accounts. So Grandma's in the clear, unless she's been frequenting the AI message boards for the past few months.

Then again, we're not all out of the woods yet; Apple's suit reportedly claims that up to twenty-four accomplices may have assisted John Doe 1 in the alleged trade secret violation. These accomplices are also "unknown," and therefore are referred to in the suit as "John Does 2 through 25." (This case already has more Does than Bambi's extended family.) But Apple's legal eagles are hard at work extracting secret identities from subpoenaed ISP info, so real names may be surfacing shortly. Bottom line? If innocent ol' Grandma asked you for help troubleshooting her dialup connection, you may very well be John Doe 15. Expect a summons shortly.

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One For The Price Of One (8/3/00)

Anyone who's been a fan of the recurring whirlwind entertainment extravaganza known as the Stevenote knows a few things about what happens when everyone's favorite iCEO takes the stage. He's going to nurse a water bottle like it contains RDF-enhancement potion instead of good ol' H2O. (Maybe it does.) He's going to hand off a few of the lesser software demos to wide-eyed sidekick Phil Schiller, just to throw him a bone. He's going to introduce some surprising new gear, probably right after saying, "Oh, there's one more thing..." so he can bask in some thunderous applause. And most importantly, he's going to announce a ship date for said new gear that's typically laughably optimistic and way out of whack with reality, as the customers who flock to the Apple Store will probably discover in the weeks to follow.

In particular, most people familiar with Steve's act know that the phrase "available now" loosely translates as "some dealers will get them in a few days, others won't see them for weeks, and most Apple Store orders will be continually delayed ad infinitum-- which will be made all the more frustrating because some of the orders will be filled right away." And thus, the situation with the new "Two Chips For The Price Of One" dual-processor G4s comes as little surprise to most of us. Some dealers report having several systems in stock and ready to sell; others are still waiting for their first shipment. Many customers are bemoaning their missing Power Macs, while a lucky few are happily Gaussian Blurring away with both processors. Business as usual.

Except here's something intriguing: there are whispers that all is not well in MP-Land. Rumor has it that the spotty availability and excessive Apple Store lead times may not be due solely to Apple's usual production goofiness, but rather to an actual defect in the dual-G4 design. MacInTouch readers report that "there's a problem with communication between the processors" and that "Apple's recalled their already-built G4s [at the] last minute. They were ready to ship to the distributors but were then yanked back." Moreover, a Go2Mac source claims that "production on the MP G4s has stopped... because the motherboard is not talking to the second processor." Hmmm... could some of the happy customers who are Photoshopping like mad actually be using only one of those two G4s without knowing it? It may be wise to check out some benchmarks...

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G4 Clock Speed: 2nd Wind (8/3/00)

For those of you who, like us, file Motorola on the Irritation List somewhere between child-proof aspirin bottles and NBC's cancellation of Freaks And Geeks (we never thought we'd say it, but thank heavens for the Fox Family Channel), word has it that we'll need to do a little list reshuffling in the not-too-distant future. Sure, the mighty G4 hasn't budged from its not-so-mighty 500 MHz clock speed in an industry length of time equivalent to a couple of Ice Ages, but some sources claim that's all about to change. And soon-- kinda. Maybe.

Consider, if you will, the latest report filed by the erstwhile Knife now known as the Naked Mole Rat. Sources in the know claim that Motorola's finally got the clock-speed problem "licked" and that the next-generation G4 chips will run at a "really high frequency." Sadly, "really high" being a relative term, you'll have to interpret that how you will. "Really high" compared to today's existing G4 may mean 750 MHz; "really high" compared to the actual competition would have to be well over a gigahertz, since Intel and AMD are already there-- and the next G4 still isn't due for "six to 12 months." Yes, another Ice Age or two. Sorry 'bout that.

If you're the optimistic type, however, it's worth noting that the Rat's info is slightly at odds with what your friendly AtAT staff's been hearing from various little birds flying by. Some shadowy types are telling us that the wait will be more like three months or less, and we've even gotten one psychic vibe that the magic MHz number is a respectable 800 MHz. That may sound relatively puny compared to Wintel standards, but then again, given the report at Tom's Hardware that the so-called Gigahertz Pentium III isn't all it's cracked up to be, an 800 MHz G4 may actually be a decent contender in the clock speed races-- assuming it comes out before Christmas. Unfortunately, with Motorola's history of ship dates being what it is, you may have to be really nice to get an 800 MHz G4 from Santa this year.

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