More Evidence Mounting (6/29/00)

We think it's pretty safe to say that there is no way-- no way-- that Steve Jobs is going to leave the stage at Macworld Expo in three weeks without taking the wraps off of some shiny new hardware. If history has taught us anything, it's that domestic Expo keynotes bring us cool new gear. (There's also that thing about never fighting a land war in Asia, but that won't be strictly relevant on this show until Steve launches his full-scale world domination scheme in 2002.) Oh, sure, we hear you all rushing to prove us wrong by waving that whole January Pismo No-Show thing in our faces, but that just strengthens our resolve. Seriously, can you imagine Steve addressing two consecutive American Macworld Expos without rolling out new toys for the kiddies? He'd be ripped to shreds, RDF or no RDF.

And so, it is without the merest pretense of shock that we pass on this bit of inside info: a faithful viewer who shall remain nameless confirms the base-level iMac (as in, the Blueberry-only 350 MHz version) has officially received a "D01" product code in CompUSA's inventory system. D01 translates into humanspeak as "discontinued by manufacturer." That sounds like pretty conclusive evidence that Apple is mere weeks away from introducing a long-overdue replacement. On top of that, speculation about a new iMac has even hit the mainstream press, as this article at CNET proves: reportedly dealers all over the map are saying that Apple's flushing the channel clean of current iMacs, heralding the imminent birth of new models. But keep your pants on, Sparky-- there are a couple of interesting side notes we should mention, because things aren't always what they seem.

For one thing, apparently it's only the iMac/350 that's received the D01 toe-tag so far. The iMac DV and Special Edition are still showing up as A01-- meaning, a standard product normally carried by CompUSA. So is only the iMac/350 being speed-bumped, or is CompUSA just a little slow on the database updates? (We assume the latter, since it'd be sheer feeblemindedness on Apple's part to upgrade only the low-end iMac.) Consider, also, that none of the other current Apple products have been D01'd, so we're not getting our hopes up for new Power Macs or anything like that. And here's a little caveat on the timing issue: the last time our source noticed a Mac going D01 was when the PowerBook G3 Bronze received the designation last November-- and its replacement, the FireWire PowerBook, didn't show up until the following February. So while we'd consider the likelihood of at least one new iMac joining Steve onstage being extremely high, there are of course no guarantees in this game. (Well, we'd be willing to lay money on Phil Schiller cracking at least one lame joke that no one laughs at, but beyond that, all bets are off.)

SceneLink (2389)
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The above scene was taken from the 6/29/00 episode:

June 29, 2000: More evidence that a new iMac is just around the corner: the low-end iMac shows up as "discontinued" in CompUSA's inventory system. Meanwhile, rumors continue to spread that Apple's gearing up to launch its own Mac-only retail outlets, and those wild stories about Apple planning to ship a wireless mouse with every Mac don't seem quite so crazy in light of Logitech's product prices...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2390: The Mac Retail Paradise (6/29/00)   While the "new iMacs" rumor hovers near the top of the Keynote Likelihood Scale, there are a ton of other whispers you may have heard that hit rather lower on the graph. For instance, damn near nobody is still talking about the possibility of an Apple-branded Palm-based PDA breaking onto the scene (small wonder, given Schiller's public denial of any such product), and in fact we've seriously considered flat-out stating that no such beast will ever see the light of day-- purely in hopes that Apple will then ship one just to prove us wrong...

  • 2391: Wires Are So '90s (6/29/00)   Here's one more Expo quickie for the road: you've heard, of course, the rumors that Apple will finally ship a redesigned mouse and keyboard with this alleged new iMac next month, yes? Now, we had no trouble imagining that someone at Apple may finally have glanced at a market research report and noticed that the vast majority of the computer-buying public isn't crazy about small keyboards and tiny round mice, thus prompting the development of what will hopefully be more ergonomically-friendly replacements to what MacAddict once referred to as "Crampy and the Puck."...

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