Late But Running Fast (2/15/00)
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The rumors sites which have been holding their collective breath until Macworld Expo Tokyo can now heave a mighty sigh of relief; Steve has left the building, and he left behind a slew of new Apple hardware in his wake. Most importantly, he introduced the world to Pismo, the new PowerBook G3 that's been such a thorny subject for the past couple of months. What with predictions running rampant every which way about what Pismo would be and when we'd see it, no piece of Apple hardware has caused so much grief to Apple-watching prognosticators in recent memory. But now it's here, and the rumors can be put to rest. (Jason O'Grady must be kicking himself for saying "don't count on a new PowerBook or other major product announcements" mere hours before the hardware deluge. D'oh!!)

According to Apple's press release and revised PowerBook web pages, Pismo's specs are eerily close to those our "inside guy" managed to transmit to us just prior to capture and inevitable torture. Pismo packs a 400 or 500 MHz G3, a full 1 MB of backside cache and a 100 MHz bus, dual FireWire ports, dual USB ports, a RAGE Mobility 128 graphics chip, video-out (dual display!), standard DVD-ROM, and support for AirPort. (Sadly, we've not heard from said operative since his special Pismo report, and so we must classify him as missing and presumed dead. We'll mourn his passing, because he dished the finest quality dirt in the land.)

The other nice thing about Pismo? It's available now. As in, now now, not Steve Jobs now. At least, that's what we gather from poking around at the Apple Store; the delivery time quoted for the high-end 500 MHz model is a mere eight days. Assuming the guy at the switch didn't just make that number up out of thin air (and believe us, we still suspect that's the case from time to time), that's close enough to "now" to qualify. We'll have to wait and see if Pismo turns out to be a YAAPTWUSLATA (Yet Another Apple Portable That Winds Up Shipping Long After The Announcement).

The wackiest thing about Pismo? Apparently Jonathan Ive is on an extended sabbatical or something, because just as our dearly-departed operative reported, Pismo looks just like a Lombard, the "bronze" PowerBook G3 that Pismo replaces. You wouldn't be able to tell the two apart without examining their rear ends-- different ports. So much for that "iBook-inspired clamshell" we heard so much about. Apple decided to stay straitlaced with Pismo; will that boost sales to pros who want a "business-looking" laptop, or will PowerBook sales suffer as buyers migrate to the iBook for a less traditional design? Especially now that Graphite's an option. Oops, we're getting ahead of ourselves...


 
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The above scene was taken from the 2/15/00 episode:

February 15, 2000: Pismo's here at last, with last year's look but a slew of new gadgets under the hood. Meanwhile, the iBook gains a Graphite sibling for those who don't dig Blueberry or Tangerine, and Apple admits defeat at last, finally unveiling faster G4s...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2099: Groovy In Graphite (2/15/00)   Manly men rejoice! Now you, too, can own an iBook without stirring up that pesky insecurity in your own masculinity. To the surprise of many and the delight of John Dvorak wannabes the world over, Apple announced the arrival of the iBook Special Edition, available in "stunning Graphite."...

  • 2100: Mourning The Speed Dump (2/15/00)   It was perhaps the most stunning innovation ever to emerge from Apple's labs, but alas, it proved not to be sustainable. In mid-October of last year, Apple unveiled the Great G4 Speed Dump, in which the company thought way "outside the box."...

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