TV-PGAugust 21, 2001: Steve Jobs drives a dagger through our hearts by pre-announcing that there will be no new hardware at the Apple Expo in Paris next month. Meanwhile, a $50-off coupon from the Apple Store gives us faint hope that we'll see new toys before the Expo, and the long-awaited Mac OS 9.2.1 is finally here! Now, why did we want it, again?...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

It's Over Before It Started (8/21/01)

Well, what we have here is your classic "good news, bad news" type of situation. So which do you want first? (This is the part where everyone in the viewing audience says in unison, "Why, we'd like the good news first, please, o Exalted Ones." We'll wait for you to finish.) You want the good news, you say? Well, here it is: Apple has officially confirmed that, yes, no less a luminary than Steve Jobs himself will be delivering the keynote at next month's Apple Expo in Paris. (Yay!) The bad news, unfortunately, is that Apple has flat-out declared that it doesn't plan to introduce "any new hardware products in Paris this year." (Boo, hiss, gasp, clutch, thud.)

Now, calm down-- we know you were banking on finally seeing that long-rumored LCD iMac next month, but at times like this it's vitally important not to lose control. We admit, we were more than a little shaken by the news when faithful viewer Jay first pointed us towards Apple's press release, but there are still ways to salvage the upcoming Rampant Speculation season that Steve has so coldheartedly sought to destroy with his preemptive strike. Okay, so Steve says that his Apple Expo keynote will focus on Mac OS X 10.1 and iDVD 2, and not any new hardware intros. Fair enough-- but that's just the Apple Expo keynote. The Seybold keynote is the day before. If Phil Schiller (or the Big Giant Live-Via-Satellite Head of Steve) announces new hardware at Seybold, then Steve can demo it the next day to his heart's content and still keep his word about no new hardware launches in Paris.

In fact, let's take that potential loophole a bit further; there's still over a month before the September 26th Paris Stevenote. In theory, Apple could introduce new Macs anytime between now and then and still technically not have lied. Remember, the latest iBook wasn't introduced at a trade show, right? Or better yet, what if Steve does unveil, say, a flat-screen iMac during his spiel... but the product is shown live via satellite in Cupertino? Bickety-bam, one brand new Mac surprise at Apple Expo-- of a product that was actually being "launched" well outside of Paris. C'mon, use your imaginations... otherwise we've all got one extremely long speculation-free month ahead of us, and we all know how painful that can be.

Of course, we suppose there's a slim chance that Apple honestly realizes full well that it's just not going to have any new gear ready for September, and, after last month's Macworld Expo keynote debacle, issued its statement to keep us from getting our hopes up only to have them be dashed against the sharp, jagged rocks of harsh reality when the day finally arrives. But really, what are the odds of that happening? We hereby declare this Rampant Speculation season open for business!

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We Are Cooler Than You (8/21/01)

Well, lookee what we found in our inbox this morning: an email coupon from the Apple Store! That's right, kids; because we're such big important soap opera producers and we have massive amounts of clout and pull in the Mac community, Apple has seen fit to suck up to us in a huge way by offering us fifty bucks off our next Apple Store purchase of $999 or more. See? Celebrity does have its privileges. (dances and sings à la Eric Cartman:) "We have a cooouuu-pon, we have a coooouuuuu-pon, we are so speeeee-cial, you do not haaaaaave one..."

What's that? You got one of these things, too? Oh. Never mind. Evidently this is less about fame and clout and more about trying to clear excess inventory by waving fifty bucks under the nose of every vaguely bipedal organism that has ordered from the Apple Store in the past and passes a routine credit check. Bummer. Still, though, while our egos have taken a small hit, we're determined to make the most of this situation. For instance, did you happen to notice that this amazing $50-off promotion is only valid until September 7th? That fact is more than just interesting; it's downright noteworthy.

See, while that September 7th date doesn't exactly jibe with another certain early-September promo expiration date, it's close enough to make you go "hmmmmmmm." We speak, of course, of that PowerBook deal that surfaced last June; buy a PowerBook G4 and get an external CD-RW drive for free-- but only until September 3rd. September 3rd, September 7th-- what's the difference? (So help us, if you say "four days" with a smug expression on your face, we may have to smack you. Now behave. We're going somewhere with this.)

We put it to you, then, that Apple is currently running not one, but two inventory-clearing promotions, both of which just happen to end in the first week of September. We're particularly intrigued by the fact that the Apple Store coupon is good on purchases of $999 or more-- say, isn't that the price of an entry-level iMac? If these aren't strong hints that Apple's got some new hardware (a refreshed PowerBook? a new iMac?) up its sleeve and ready to spring on us sometime within the next three or four weeks, then we'll be a Ballmer's uncle. "No new hardware in Paris" indeed; let's see what Steve's got simmering for the weeks leading up to the Paris show, shall we?

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Get It While It's Useless (8/21/01)

Heads up, compulsive updaters: according to The M@d H@tter (we swear, that boy never sleeps), Apple has finally quietly released Mac OS 9.2.1 to the unwashed masses. Yes, no longer must you hock your grandmother's jewelry to buy a new iMac or Quicksilver Power Mac just to break the long-standing 9.1 barrier, nor must you warp straight into Mac OS X and give up speed and compatibility; 9.2.1 can now be yours for the downloading. Knock yourself out.

Or, uh, don't. So far, our every effort to get an actual 9.2.1 download going has proved utterly fruitless; chalk it up to the usual culprit of server overload, we assume. And that's just as well, in our case, because it was during the calming lull of waiting for our browser to spit back its thirtieth "socket not connected" error that we suddenly had an epiphany: we can't for the life of us remember why we should want 9.2.1 in the first place. (Other than the fact that it's ".1.1 better," that is.) So we tooled on over to MacFixit, who, true to form, had at least a little more info on what we could expect-- specifically, that the 9.2.1 updater is a gut-wrenching 82 MB download. What we don't see is any indication of what, exactly, we get in that 82 MB worth of stuff. But it's gotta be good, right?

Well, eventually we found something resembling an answer over in MacFixit's forums; reportedly Mac OS 9.2 "offers no new features," and primarily adds "compatibility changes for new Macs and OS X 10.1." We assume that 9.2.1 is pretty much the same deal. So in other words, you can probably rest your clicking finger and wait for the heat to die down a little, because unless you're already running 9.2 on an extremely new Mac, we can't imagine that you're going to benefit much from updating right away. But if the thought of running an OS version that isn't the freshest possible release gives you dry mouth and hives, good luck and may the bandwidth fairies bless your connection.

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