Six-Slot Slickness (11/8/99)

Have you noticed what happens to a lot of complaints about Apple? Irate customers yell and scream for a while, there's a big ol' ruckus, lots of columnists write nasty venomous articles, Apple does nothing, and eventually the whole issue sort of fades into oblivion. For example, remember all the teeth-gnashing that happened over the iMac's announced lack of a floppy drive? That used to be a hot topic. All sorts of people (PC users and Mac users alike) were predicting the iMac's utter failure because the floppy drive was such a necessary component. And when they failed to change Apple's mind and the iMac shipped floppyless, the predictions of doom continued-- until the sales numbers started rolling in. Then it became less a desperate howl and more of a sort of low grumble about how people who wanted a floppy drive would have to shell out additional bucks. But these days, no Apple product ships with a floppy drive, and (for the most part) people simply accept that if they really need one, paying $70 or so for a drive that few people need or want is just something they'll have to do. It's no longer a big deal.

We bring this up because we've noticed that the screams of rage demanding a six-slot Mac seem to have quieted waaaaay down these days. Remember when that was the hot topic? When the beige G3 came out, Apple was turning its back on the high-end professional users by making "pro" machines with only three PCI slots. A lot of people seemed to be on the verge of making death threats in order to get Apple to listen. And the blue and white G3 and the new G4 didn't improve upon things all that much-- they come with an extra slot, but it's filled with a graphics card, leaving the available slot count at three. In fact, since Apple removed SCSI from the motherboard, lots of pro users needed to fill one of those slots with a SCSI card, meaning that the number of slots has effectively decreased instead of increased. Yet, we hear a lot fewer complaints about this issue these days. It's probably because those people have decided to start yelling at brick walls instead, in the hopes that doing so might be more likely to produce results than yelling at Apple.

But is Apple listening? Mac OS Rumors claims that Apple's hard at work on the next iteration of the "Unified Motherboard Architecture," and that the new design includes "support for a second PCI bus, allowing up to six slots on desktop machines." The rumor is that Apple might ship high-end machines with three 33 MHz slots and three 66 MHz slots, in addition to the AGP slot reserved for the graphics card. If that's true, then we suspect lots of frustrated professional media creators will be jumping for joy when six-slot Macs return to Apple's product line sometime next year. Hmm, maybe those brick walls have friends in Apple's design department...

SceneLink (1899)
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The above scene was taken from the 11/8/99 episode:

November 8, 1999: Is Microsoft finally ready to negotiate a reasonable settlement, or will Justice have to bust out the Big Stick O' Punishment? Meanwhile, Microsoft's competitors had a great day on Wall Street, including Apple, who almost broke $100, and while we hate to stir up old trouble, rumors of a forthcoming six-slot Mac have surfaced...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1897: Not Ready To Deal (11/8/99)   So Judge Jackson has released his findings of fact in the "Redmond Justice" case, and to put it bluntly, things don't look so good for Microsoft. In fact, we'd have a harder time putting things more bluntly than the judge himself, who filled over 200 pages with such statements as "Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products."...

  • 1898: Their Loss, Our Gain (11/8/99)   We admit it: Wall Street's reaction to the infamous "Redmond Justice" findings of fact surprised us a bit. Lots of people were expecting an overall market slump when Microsoft's stock spiralled out of control, but it wasn't meant to be...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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