An Extra G Or Two (1/11/00)
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One of the great mysteries of our era continues to be this: What happened to Pismo at Macworld Expo last week? Pismo, as you're no doubt aware, is the long-awaited revision to Apple's PowerBook line, which has remained static since the unveiling of the "bronze" G3s last May. That's a long time for Apple to go without a revision to a product line, and there wasn't an Apple-watching soul on earth who wasn't expecting Pismo to be unveiled when Steve took the stage last Wednesday-- especially since the "bronze" models were end-of-lifed last month. Sure, Steve gave us Apple's Internet strategy and a great sneak-preview of Mac OS X, but we're hard-pressed to think of another big Steve Jobs keynote at which no new hardware was introduced.

In fact, if you were paying attention, you may have noticed that when Steve was extolling the virtues of AirPort, Apple's way-cool wireless networking architecture, he let slip that "all" of Apple's products now support it. Untrue-- unless Pismo was going to debut. To us, it looks like the decision to leave Pismo out of the keynote was a last-minute one. We've heard lots of possible reasons why: LCD shortages, Mac OS 9.0.1 not being done yet, etc. The most intriguing, though, was the report that pre-production Pismos ran so hot they literally melted their own cases. Given that Pismo is supposed to be a UMA system like our iBook, and our iBook barely even gets warm with a 300 MHz G3 at its core, we've really got to wonder what Apple could have done to make Pismo throw off so much heat.

When we discussed that rumor, faithful viewer XXX wrote in to suggest that maybe Pismo was so hot because it was actually a PowerBook G4, not a G3. At the time we dismissed the possibility out of hand; Motorola's supposedly working on a version of the G4 with a low enough power draw to be used in laptops, but to the best of our knowledge, that's months away. But that remark came back to us when an anonymous tipster forwarded us the following excerpt from the Mac OS X Server section of Apple's "Learn & Earn" site: "Mac OS X Server supports Macintosh PowerPC G4- and many G3-based systems. (Does not support iMac, Macintosh PowerBook G3, PowerBook G4, or any earlier systems.)" Just a mistake by an overtired tech writer? Or a harbinger of things to come? Far-fetched? Sure. Fun to consider? Well, yes. If Pismo is a PowerBook G4, let's hope Apple ships it with a low-power G4 chip instead of with an asbestos carrying case and a ten-minute battery life.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 1/11/00 episode:

January 11, 2000: Irony Alert! Yes, we know Steve's no thief-- at least, not this time. Meanwhile, more details swirl around that wacky Apple-Palm rumor, and teasing little hints imply that a PowerBook G4 is closer than you might think...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2029: This Time We're Serious (1/11/00)   Well, so much for subtlety... Yesterday's "Aquagate" bit generated precisely eleventeen-kajillion feedback messages from concerned viewers who sought to assure us that Steve Jobs didn't steal Mac OS X's Aqua interface from that little company called Stardock...

  • 2030: A Palm In The Hand (1/11/00)   Fellow pipe dreamers, rejoice! No longer must we clutch to the single thin straw that is the MacPalm article at The Register. Now Mac OS Rumors has leapt back into the fray to confirm the report that prototype Apple-Palm handhelds have rolled off the belt in Taiwan...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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