Shipping Now. Honest. (9/23/99)

Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field™ is a miraculous force, to be sure, and we're just glad that everyone's favorite iCEO uses it for good instead of evil. (Or does he? Insert ominous music here.) The RDF is capable of making bad news seem neutral, neutral news seem good, and good news seem downright euphoric. But the Jobsian RDF is not omnipotent; one thing it can't do is convince people that a product is shipping when it clearly isn't. Steve knows this, and rarely tries to push the RDF beyond its known truth-bending limitations by claiming something's ready to go when it's not; he recently tested the waters again when he said the 400 MHz Power Mac G4s were "available now;" one quick call to the Apple Store later, everyone knew he was exaggerating. Instead, he tends to bend future ship dates, making them sound closer than they really are.

Take, for example, the "Sawtooth" G4s. Way back at Seybold, Steve announced immediate availability (cough) for the "Yosemite" 400 MHz models, with "Sawtooth" 450 MHz systems shipping in September and 500 MHz systems in October. That sounded great at the time, under the full force of the RDF pumping away. But later on, it became clear to many Apple watchers that those ship dates were probably just a little on the optimistic side. After all, the "Sawtooth" motherboard was rumored to be well behind schedule, and not ready for prime time until possibly November. Add to that the recent revelation that Motorola's being slow while ponying up the chips, mix in a quick glance at the calendar, and that September ship date for the G4/450 looks more and more like an RDF-enhanced Steveism.

But what's this? Suddenly Accelerate Your Mac! is reporting that "several readers say their G4/450 (AGP) systems have shipped from Apple." Could it be? Did Apple pull it off after all? Was Steve cracking the whip, warning the G4 team not to make a liar out of him? We'll probably never know. Right now, though, this is the only indication we've seen that the "Sawtooth" systems are actually shipping, and as such, we'll have to consider it an unsubstantiated (but very happy) report. With luck, the glowing viewer feedback about brand-'-new G4/450s will start rolling in any day now, and Steve will surprise us once again with the accuracy of his product ship date announcements. Maybe everything really is possible when you've got an RDF under the hood.

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The above scene was taken from the 9/23/99 episode:

September 23, 1999: Understatement of the week: Thursday was not a happy day for the stock market, and Apple didn't emerge unscathed. Meanwhile, Motorola cozies up to AMD in hopes of sharing a factory in Dresden that could help alleviate the G4 shortage, and the first report of shipping "Sawtooth" G4/450s surfaces...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1800: Oh, The Humanity (9/23/99)   Mark our words-- a few years down the line, some daring young filmmaker is going to produce a film that will redefine the much-maligned "splatter flick" category. You can forget about I Dismember Mama, Dr. Giggles can take an early retirement, and Three on a Meathook will pale in comparison...

  • 1801: The Not-So-Odd Couple (9/23/99)   Motorola makes PowerPC chips that fuel our beloved Macs. AMD makes x86-compatible processors that run Windows (among other things) instead. Cobra versus mongoose? Hardly-- more like two great tastes that taste great together...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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