TV-PGApril 4, 2001: Another illicit Mac OS X 10.0.1 update hits the 'net; we imagine Steve's in leak-plugging mode right now. Meanwhile, at least one analyst still thinks that Apple will release a PDA one of these days, and the Mac-only chain ComputerWare bites the dust after seventeen years of serving California's Mac freaks...
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OS X Update II: Son Of 10.0.1 (4/4/01)

And the illegal updates just keep on coming! Sure, the first leaked Mac OS X 10.0.1 updater has been available for quite a while, but according to the faithful viewer dynamic duo of Oren Krinsky and the M@d H@tter, now there's a new and improved leaked 10.0.1 updater that's allegedly even better-- though the file posted at MacUpdate has apparently been removed at Apple's request. Go2Mac, however, notes that Apple Onlooker is still distributing this second leaked updater, and we're sure it's not hard to find floating around out there if you're so inclined.

What this means, of course, is that there are crazy thrill-seekers out there with the first version (build 4L5) and other crazy thrill-seekers with the second version (build 4L7)-- and they're all running something called "Mac OS X 10.0.1." That can't be good. Especially since when Apple finally releases the official 10.0.1 update, we'd be surprised if it didn't differ slightly from both of the leaked versions. That means there may soon be three distinct flavors of Mac OS X 10.0.1-- a situation that will clearly anger the Version Gods.

The good news is that several people report successfully installing the 4L7 version right over the top of the 4L5 build with no problems. The bad news is that if Apple's official update doesn't install cleanly over 4L5 and/or 4L7 (and a little bird tells us that's a distinct possibility), you can bet that Apple's tech support people won't be terribly sympathetic when you go crying to them about it. Heck, we wouldn't be surprised if some people running the illicit 4L builds will have to reinstall 10.0 from scratch just to get things working properly again. In other words, don't try this at home, kids. Seriously. The latest word is that the real 10.0.1 will probably show up tomorrow, so why risk it?

Of course, all of the finger-wagging and stern looks in the world aren't going to stop some of you from rushing right out and grabbing 4L7; after all, anyone who's running Mac OS X at this early stage is already riding the bleeding edge, and that sort of mentality is drawn to perilous situations. All we can say is this: if you're planning to bungee-jump off of 4L7 bridge, don't blame us if the rope breaks. Carry on.

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MacPDA: The Dream Lives On (4/4/01)

Still waiting for a new Apple handheld computer to replace the long-dead Newton? Well, believe it or not, you're not the only one. As faithful viewer Eric Wright reports, there's a nifty CNBC article about how Apple's stock remains a stellar buy right now, due to the company's massive piles of cash and the possibility of Great Things™ in the future, driven in part by the recent release of Mac OS X. That's not news; anyone who has glanced at the numbers knows that AAPL at $20 is a steal (which is why we here at AtAT are now the proud recipients of our very first Apple shareholders' voting thingy). What may be news is that at least one analyst still thinks Apple will eventually ship a PDA.

The key word here, however, is "eventually." Skip to the bottom of the article to see what James Keller, a mutual fund research analyst and eternal optimist, says about the prospects of an Apple handheld: "I don't know if it will be in a year, or eighteen months, but eventually we will see a new PDA from Apple. And when that happens, I fully expect that the most exciting personal computer company on the planet will have the most exciting PDA on the planet." Okay, so he's given his prediction a whole lot of chronological padding, there, but if Apple really does want to re-enter the handheld market, we'd hope that the company wouldn't wait another year and a half to do it. By then the PDA market might be just as saturated as the personal computer market seems to be now.

On second thought, given the current state of the economy, maybe Apple should wait until consumers are ready to start buying expensive toys again. A quick glance at, say, Palm's stock price should be enough to make any prospective PDA player blanch at the prospect of leaping into the fray now. But this is all just wild speculation anyway, since Keller's PDA prediction is apparently based on nothing more than his (admittedly impeccable) premise that Apple cranks out insanely great stuff. And any company that cranks out insanely great stuff must eventually produce an insanely great PDA, right? Here's our suggestion for Apple: hire an infinite number of monkeys, lock them in a room with a bunch of typewriters and a copy of Palm For Dummies, and eventually they'll slide the perfect PDA under the door along with a copy of Hamlet.

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And, Sadly, They Die Mac, Too (4/4/01)

Drat this darn economy! First we had to endure the loss of all those lovable dotcoms, which were clearly the Pet Rock-style novelty of the late '90s (instead of blowing a buck on a rock with two eyes glued on, you could sink your life savings into a fly-by-night company whose business plan was "secure venture capital, spend like mad, and pray it doesn't run out before the IPO happens." Fun for the whole family!). Now we have to watch Mac-specific retail chains bite the dust. Will the dot-carnage never end?

While we've never even seen a ComputerWare store, let alone set foot inside one or bought anything there, we're still mourning the chain's passing, as reported by MacCentral. If you call the stores, you'll be greeted by a pre-recorded message which states that "regrettably, after seventeen years in the business, we are unable to continue. We thank you for your patronage over that time." The ComputerWare web site still makes it look like the company is open for business, but we don't recommend you place any web orders there.

Why are we particularly mourning the loss of ComputerWare? For one thing, according to a CNET article, the company's motto was "We live Mac. We eat Mac. We sleep Mac. We dream Mac. All we do is Mac." The AtAT staff can relate. Plus, when a Mac-only reseller goes belly-up after seventeen years in the business (a portion of which was spent as "one of the largest Apple dealers in the nation"), that can't bode well for the Apple ecosphere at large. We sense a future fraught with peril.

It's a shame that ComputerWare couldn't hold on for another year or so. We're still confident that once Apple smooths out some of Mac OS X's rougher edges, ships it pre-loaded on every Mac, and announces that Mac OS X-native applications are plentiful, the platform will see a resurgence of interest-- but that glorious day is still a relatively distant dream. In the meantime, Apple will survive, dipping into its deep pockets if it has to, but ComputerWare might not be the last Mac reseller without four billion in cash on hand to call it quits. If that happens, we can only hope that Apple's plans to open its own retail stores is a lot wider in scope than we originally thought...

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