TV-PGMarch 27, 1998: History repeats, and it seems that Apple's latest subnotebook my be restricted to work its tiny portable magic in the Japanese market only. Meanwhile, an even tinier Mac portable is in the works, as Apple mad scientists continue to try to fuse Mac OS technology and the cuteness quotient of the eMate. As for the billion-dollar lawsuit against our hero, well, is anyone taking it seriously?...
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We Need Smaller Hands (3/27/98)

Awww, man... It seems that Mighty Cat, the rumored speed-bumped version of the sleek & tiny Powerbook 2400, might never see the light of day-- at least not in the U.S. Apparently the new subnotebook may only be released in Japan, where space is scarcer and hands are smaller. A CNET article has the story.

Many of you may recall that the original 2400 was designed jointly by Apple and IBM's Japanese labs, and that it, too, was originally destined only for the Japanese market. Apple later changed its mind and decided to release in the U.S. as well, in an attempt to take the place of its discontinued Duo line of subnotebooks. Apparently the 2400 has received a less-than-outstanding response in this country, due to a combination of its tiny keyboard and its hefty price tag, which was inversely-proportional to its size. We're not sure how the 2400's price reduction from the original $3500 to $2000 affected its popularity, but we at AtAT assume that that most buyers of portables would rather have the 1400 with its built-in CD-ROM drive than a laptop whose primary advantage is that it weighs less. But gosh darnit, it's cute.

Speaking as a Powerbook owner who used to travel extensively, I'd have to say that I'd take a couple fewer pounds over a CD-ROM drive any day. Still, history repeats, so only time will tell if Mighty Cat will surface in the U.S. or not. We hope it will-- if for no reason other than it might make the 2400's price drop to a level where we could afford one to replace our aging Duo.

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eMate: Resurrection (3/27/98)

Speaking of minuscule Macs, back when they announced the cancellation of the Newton, Apple mentioned that they would return to the handheld market next year with eMate-like designs that were based on the Mac OS platform. That would fit in with what we've all heard about Allegro Lite, the "thin client" version of the Mac OS currently under development, and a Mac OS eMate would complement the other thin client designs Apple is reported working on, like the Mac NC and Columbus, whatever the heck that is. Mac OS Rumors reports that one of their readers attended an Apple seminar on Apple's K-12 educational strategy, where he or she was told that the "eMac" is real, and coming relatively soon.

It seems that the eMac may retain the eMate name, in an effort to increase brand recognition when it's released this January. The case will reportedly remain the same (so hopefully the ruggedness will remain, too), and the feature set will be similar. We expect that it will include basic word processing, spreadsheet, scheduling, and internet capabilities. The big difference is that the new eMate will include a color touch screen, which would be a huge improvement. If Apple can really produce this thing in January, it may not lose all of its credibility in the educational sector-- where they took a hefty self-induced beating by killing the eMate after pushing it as the "next big thing," so our sources say.

One thing we'll be interested to see is whether a Mac OS-based eMate can fulfill the needs of users outside the educational market. For instance, if AtAT staff could reliably write and produce AtAT episodes on one, and continue to broadcast while on the road, it would be great to throw an eMate in a shoulder bag and not have to worry as much about damaging sensitive equipment. And since the new eMate is rumored to be priced similarly to the existing/discontinued model, for only $799, we'd be willing to deal with a few inconveniences.

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How Soon We Forget (3/27/98)

Some of you may recall another lawsuit filed against Apple... How many of you remember Imatec, the medical imaging company who is suing Apple for over a billion dollars for infringing patents in the implementation of ColorSync? Well, considering that the suit was only filed a few days ago, most of you probably recall-- now that we've reminded you. Seriously, if we hadn't mentioned it, would it enter your mind as one of the big problems Apple has to deal with right now? Probably not, given the shadiness of the claim and the plaintiff. This is one of those suits that we suspect won't show up in the news very much beyond the initial coverage of the filing.

In fact, we ourselves had pretty much forgotten all about that particular lawsuit until we saw it mentioned on Apple Recon. And while we're always a little suspicious of Recon's personal entanglements and ulterior motives when we read their info, we still think they're a valuable source. In particular, since they're focus is on Wall Street, it's nice to get their unique perspective on matters dealing more with the financial and business side of matters, which is why we were interested to see what they thought about this whole Imatec deal. Unsurprisingly, they report that Wall Street "laughed the suit off" as soon as they checked into Imatec's background. They report that Apple's lawyers could probably have the suit "summarily dismissed--" if they didn't want to rack up some more legal fees from their bosses in Cupertino, that is. Apparently, in order for the suit to hold water, Imatec has to prove that they tried to minimize their losses from the alleged infringement, which it seems they did not do.

Incidentally, further down the page, Recon also says that they are "trying to refrain from cryptic references," which statement made us laugh even harder than the Imatec suit did. After all, Apple Recon without cryptic references would be like Baywatch without swimsuits. (Er, fully-clothed, we mean.) We'd sooner see Mac the Knife start reporting his stuff in the manner of Dan Rather. If it ain't broke, don't clarify it, folks...

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