The Epic Struggle Rages (10/10/99)

Reports are flooding in from happy iBook owners who were either impulsive enough to have placed one of the earliest Apple Store pre-orders or lucky enough to have found iBooks on the shelves at the local Sears. Overall, everyone seems really happy with their purchases; people are going on endlessly about the brightness of the screen, the usefulness of the programmable function keys, and the fact that even after running for hours on end, the iBook hardly even gets warm-- a significant departure from the "volcano heat" put out by the Powerbook G3. In fact, there haven't been any recurring complaints, save one: several viewers expressed feelings along the lines of "I love this iBook, but I wish I could have gotten Tangerine instead of Blueberry."

Is this another facet of the Great Tangerine Conspiracy? Try to keep up, here. First, Steve Jobs unveiled the new fruit-flavored iMacs this past January, amid thunderous applause by fashion-conscious Mac-lovers everywhere. But soon the sales numbers revealed that Tangerine is by far the least popular iMac flavor. This fact proved irksome to iCEO Steve Jobs, who really likes Tangerine, and who then secretly resolved to boost the flavor's popularity by whatever means necessary. In May, Apple announced a new addition to Apple's board of directors: Millard Drexler, the CEO of Gap, Inc. In the press release, Steve referred to Drexler by his nickname "Mickey," indicating a certain familiarity that foreshadowed what was to come next. We speak, of course, of the Gap's "everybody in vests" commercial which flooded the airwaves in late summer, pushing orange as the hip color for fall; soon after, Steve unveiled the iBook, and announced that it would be available only in Tangerine and Blueberry, thus elevating the importance of his favorite orange hue on the consumer Mac color wheel. Everything was going according to plan.

But now that the iBooks are finally available, it appears that Tangerine units are scarcer than scarce. Only a few of the folks who pre-ordered Tangerine systems appear to have received them, even though Blueberry orders placed at the same time seem to have been fulfilled. So after months of careful plotting and planning, what derailed Steve's Tangerine dreams? According to Apple Insider, the Taiwanese earthquake is only partially responsible; apparently the iBook's manufacturers, Alpha Top, are still waiting for an iBook component to show up, and that component is Tangerine. So while they're slowly building Blueberry units despite quake-related difficulties, Tangerine iBook production is at a standstill while this unspecified part remains missing in action. Could the missing Tangerine component's MIA status be the work of an international anti-Tangerine consortium? Well, duh. Looks like Steve's got some adversaries to conquer in his race to crown Tangerine the king of the color world.

SceneLink (1835)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/10/99 episode:

October 10, 1999: Cut the Pentium humor-- the G4 has its own "errata" now. Meanwhile, Time Magazine unveils its salute to Steve Jobs, even as the iCEO finds himself in an epic secret struggle against anti-Tangerine operatives sworn to thwart his plans to promote the color to "most popular" status...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1833: It's Payback Time (10/10/99)   Stop the Pentium math-error jokes, because those of us in the PowerPC camp suddenly have a lot less to smile about. According to a MacWEEK article, Apple's 500 MHz Power Mac G4 isn't going to surface in October as originally planned, due to "errata" in the G4 chip design that cause problems when the processor is run at 500 MHz or higher...

  • 1834: Time For Steve Jobs (10/10/99)   He may never have won "Man of the Year" status, but Time Magazine has put Steve Jobs on the cover of its latest issue anyway. There he is, smiling enigmatically, sharing the cover with the stars of the two companies he currently runs; he's sandwiched between two iMacs and escorted by Woody and Buzz of the upcoming Pixar treat "Toy Story 2."...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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