The Hour Draws Nigh (9/12/00)
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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. If you can't wait until tomorrow and want more Mac OS X chewy goodness right now, faithful viewer Adam Gillitt pointed out (and co-wrote) a massive preview of the public beta over at ZDNet which ought to tide you over until the official Apple info is released. We warn you, however, that at least some of the facts outlined within might harsh your buzz just a little.

See, back when Steve first announced that the summer release of Mac OS X would be a public beta instead of a 1.0 full version, he tried to downplay the postponement by claiming that the software would be the same, and that only the name had changed. If that's true, then it sounds like Apple was originally planning to sell one feature-incomplete operating system, because one thing that leaps right out at us is the claim that the beta lacks AirPort support. That complicates our plans to test the software somewhat, since the only hardware we've got in the AtAT studios that even comes close to the Mac OS X public beta system requirements is our AirPort-dependent iBook; guess we'll have to tether it to a hub for testing purposes. Oh, and speaking of those system requirements-- apparently you need at least 128 MB of RAM and 1.5 GB of free disk space to run this sucker. We really hope that those numbers drop significantly by the 1.0 release, or else we may have to eat a whole lot of crow about Windows 2000 being a resource hog.

That said, there's one nifty feature of the public beta (which we're now told has existed in at least one developer release as well) that really has us juiced. Apparently we'll be able to install Mac OS X onto an existing Mac OS Extended hard disk-- without partitioning or reformatting. And once the installation is complete, we'll be able to switch between Mac OS X and our current Mac OS 9 setup whenever we restart. Maybe it's just us, but that sounds too cool for words. If it really works, then kudos to Apple for making the beta installation so painless and straightforward.

By the way, conflicting reports of the beta distribution methods are flooding in from all sides. Most reports claim that the beta will only be available on CD-ROM via the Apple Store for $19.95, though almost as many also state that there will be a downloadable installer for people with fast connections or a whole heap of patience. We've even heard one intriguing report that Apple will only be giving the beta to people who pre-pay for the full version of Mac OS X for $129.95, though this is, of course, unconfirmed. But we suppose we'll know pretty darn soon...


 
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 

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:

  • 2541: A Kindler, Gentler Keynote (9/12/00)   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...

  • 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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