A Kindler, Gentler Keynote (9/12/00)
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We suppose there are two reactions we could have to the news, first reported to us by faithful viewer GORDYmac, that the Apple Expo keynote protest has been called off. The more mature and rational approach would be to rejoice at the prospects of an uninterrupted and unsullied introduction of the Mac OS X public beta, as well as whatever else Uncle Steve's got up his big, baggy sleeves. At the same time we could be proud that Apple defused a potentially explosive adversarial situation not by being aggressive and territorial, but by opening a meaningful dialogue with the disgruntled would-be protesters. How enlightened; Stuart Smalley would be proud. So would Mr. Van Driessen. Group hug!

However, we think we'll go the other way, which is to whine petulantly about how this opportunity for high drama and potential violence has slipped through our fingers due to some new-age hippie nonsense about how a peaceful exchange of ideas is the best way to settle differences. Here we had this great mental image of an elite cadre of hired goons that Apple would disperse through the keynote crowd, ready to Taser anyone who climbed up on a soapbox and then beat him senseless with a sock full of quarters. Snipers up the rafters would pump tranq darts into troublesome whiners, who would then be dragged backstage to be revived for "re-education" with a length of rubber hose. If things got out of hand, Steve would don a gas mask and lob CS gas canisters into the crowd while shouting "eat this, you ungrateful malcontents!" Now that's a keynote for the history books. But instead, according to MacAddict, the protest is off, and Apple Europe has agreed to meet with the protest group next week to discuss its complaints and hopefully come to some sort of amiable agreement. (It's probably just as well; we wouldn't be able to watch anyway, since Macworld confirms that the keynote won't be webcast. Hey, somebody add that to the protesters' list of gripes!)

Okay, okay, so we should be happy that Apple is doing what's best for business. While we've never seen a scientific study to back this up, we'd have to guess that rubber bullets and bloody protesters during major product introductions are generally not good for a company's stock price. For that matter, neither is alienating a group of customers so thoroughly that they feel that disrupting a high-profile corporate event is the only way to make their voices heard-- so it's nice to hear that Apple's willing to listen and hopefully address the group's complaints. But the part of us aching for a dramatic confrontation is still holding out hope that the cancelled protest is simply a ruse to get Apple to let down its guard. Then again, Steve's no fool; you can bet he'll keep a couple of tear gas grenades on hand just in case.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 9/12/00 episode:

September 12, 2000: Eleventh-hour peace talks have gone and wrecked our fun, and the Expo protest is off. Meanwhile, last-minute details of the Mac OS X public beta leak out just prior to the big day, and it seems that some G4 Cubes are cracking along their mold lines-- Jenny Craig, anyone?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2542: The Hour Draws Nigh (9/12/00)   The countdown continues: in less than twenty-four hours, the public beta version of Mac OS X will be a reality. Depending on how Apple chooses to make it available, eager Mac fans will be test-driving the future of the platform anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks later...

  • 2543: Bursting At The Seams (9/12/00)   Hands up, who remembers the "Cracked Ice" subplot? To recap, back in March, a whole lot of iBook owners confirmed a phenomenon that we had witnessed ourselves: multiple "stress fractures" visible in the Ice plastics surrounding the keyboard and trackpad...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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