TV-PGMay 8, 2001: Apple finally admits that it's going to open its own retail stores; now what are we going to speculate about? Meanwhile, Apple is looking for a Microprocessor Development Project Manager, reviving talk of an Apple handheld device, and following the recent tech stock collapse, Apple employees are losing their wheels to overworked repo men...
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Finally: It's Officially Official (5/8/01)

Geez, try to take one day off to deal with personal matters, and what happens? Our AirPort Base Station decides to fry its capacitors, a database server eats its own hard disk for lunch, and Apple (evidently worn down by our consistently witty barbs) finally gets with the love on the whole Apple retail stores gig and owns up to the plan publicly-- conveniently enough, at a time when we're so overwhelmed with hardware failures and personal stuff we couldn't actually produce a soap opera about it we tried. Coincidence? Yeah, right. You're going to have to work awfully hard to convince us that AirPort Base Stations and Power Mac 6100s don't have special remote control failure circuitry that Apple can trigger as a necessary component of "Project Distraction."

Regardless, the fact is this: Apple has reportedly admitted that it is planning to launch a chain of retail stores, and as first pointed out by faithful viewer Nina Tovish (yes, folks, she beat the rest of you to the punch), no less an authority that the Wall Street Journal has the skinny. Apparently the first boutique will open its doors in McLean, Virginia in just eleven days' time, at the swanky Tysons Galleria shopping mall. By yet another curious "coincidence," the AtAT staff will be stationed in West Virginia on that very day-- a mere four-hour drive from the mall in question, but sadly, prior commitments will prevent us from making the trip. Sounds like Apple had access to our travel itineraries when it picked an opening date.

For the record, Apple has only confirmed that its first store is opening on the 19th; it hasn't said anything about opening dates or locations of other stores, though we're assuming that sort of thing will be high on the list of things to discuss at the upcoming press event. Until the official list becomes public, however, we heartily recommend a nifty resource kindly pointed out to us by faithful viewer Andrea Parent; the folks over in the MacNN Forums are studiously tracking the rumored and "confirmed" sites for Apple's spiffy Mac paradises, in handy graphical format. It's great to see little Apple logos engulfing the entire continental United States... even the AtAT staff referred to as "blatant liars" further down the page. (Hey, when we mentioned the possibility of three stores in Boston, we were just passing on some info from the little birds... the same little birds, incidentally, who also correctly predicted that Apple would be announcing its retail plans this week. You are, of course, free to interpret that as you will; and if the birds are wrong, trust us-- we'll be more upset than anyone.)

By the way, that WSJ article was timestamped a mere nine minutes after the aforementioned database server bit the dust; meanwhile, it's probably also worth noting that the first Apple retail store just happens to be located in the same town as the CIA headquarters. Yeah, keep telling us that it's all just a coincidence. They're all out to get us!

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Yum! Apple-Flavored Chips (5/8/01)

Okay, so as of yesterday, Apple has tumbled to the fact that it's planning to open its own retail stores. We're glad that Steve and friends have finally come clean, but of course there's a distinct drawback to this development: what are we all supposed to speculate about now? Well, fear not, rumor addicts: faithful viewer Rich was quick to point out that The Register is digging up the whole "Apple PDA" issue yet again. Those of you who have been speculating about All Things Apple since the demise of the Newton way back in '98 know full well that the corpse of the Apple handheld rumor gets unearthed more frequently than most people wash their hair, but somehow, it just never gets old.

According to The Reg, here's the latest "evidence" that Apple is looking to re-enter the market it created with the MessagePad nearly eight years ago: a job posting at Apple's site seeking a "Microprocessor Development Project Manager." Why is that necessarily tied to a handheld project, you ask? Well, The Reg claims that the focus on managing processor production "across processor vendors" is "a dead giveaway," though personally we don't see the logic. Then again, those folks know scads of useful facts about the high-tech business, whereas the AtAT staff is far more useful as a fount of Brady Bunch trivia. It all balances out in the end, but we're just going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

There are several nice factors to this latest development in the Apple PDA game. For one thing, the job posting is from Apple's own site, so there's little reason question its validity. For another, even if you choose to ignore The Register's insistence that the position is handheld-centric, you're left with an even more intriguing possibility: that the "future Apple computer products" destined to use these Apple-produced chips are in fact just new Macs. Suddenly we're back to the rumor that Apple may start churning out its own PowerPCs so as not to be tethered to Motorola any longer. It's two-for-one day here in Rumorville!

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Let's Get Sushi And Not Pay (5/8/01)

Chalk up yet another byproduct of the Dot-Bomb: repo men working overtime to snatch back all those fancy cars. You know the ones; all those Beemers, Benzes, and Batmobiles that stock-option millionaires bought at the height of the Bubble Economy before somebody grabbed a calculator and actually started doing the math. It's no secret that many of the Tech Stock Wünderkinder are having trouble paying their bills these days, and evidently when the banks come a-knockin', the wheels are often first to go. Talk about your classic American tragedy...

Worse yet, while Apple employees are some of the hardest working geeks in show business, unfortunately the collapse of AAPL's stock value from a high of about $75 to its current $25-ish levels rendered a whole lot of stock options utterly worthless-- which means it's time for the banks to grab back some toys. According to Think Secret, the Wall Street Journal recently featured an interview with a Silicon Valley repo king who apparently finds Apple's parking lot to be a goldmine of easy pickin's; says he, "It's unbelievable how many cars I got from that lot-- 100 cars easily." Evil. Evil!! (Note to Steve: keep a close eye on that jet of yours. Use The Club.)

In an economy like this, we're actually a little surprised that Apple doesn't offer its poverty-stricken employees a real perk: a repo-proof parking lot. Given how successfully Steve's death-squad minions have prevented Apple's trade secrets from leaving the building, surely they'd be just as effective at thwarting the unsanctioned removal of employee vehicles from the lot. In fact, with a benefit like that to trumpet, you can bet that Apple would attract the best and the brightest from all over the Valley. It's the least Steve can do for his faithful little elves; after all, it's not their fault they can't pay their bills. We blame society. Society made them what they are. (Yeah, but it still hurts...)

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