Making Numbers Dance (10/19/00)
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One nifty little bonus during the Steve 'n' Fred Financial Variety Hour yesterday was the unveiling of some interesting facts pertaining to everyone's favorite candy-coated but as-yet-unfinished operating system, the Mac OS X public beta. Mac OS X is clearly the horse upon which Apple is betting its future growth, so there's a lot riding on its success. Luckily, so far things are apparently looking pretty darn good.

First of all, there's the number of copies of the beta sold so far. Today's life lesson: don't believe everything you read. You may recall that mere days after the beta was officially unveiled, citing a "source close to OS X distribution," MacCentral reported that Apple had already sold 80,000 copies and, on continued average sales of 12,000 copies per day, expected to break 100,000 just a few days later. Unfortunately, the truth, while still positive, isn't nearly as mind-blowing. Steve announced that as of yesterday (more than a month since its release), the beta had actually racked up 60,000 purchases total, with ongoing sales of about 500 copies per day. (Now, admit it; if you hadn't seen MacCentral's numbers first, you'd be pretty impressed.)

Even better is the news that the beta testers are, in fact, beta testing. Steve reports that Apple has received over 45,000 separate and distinct feedback reports so far. We're guessing that 44,000 of those are about the Dock-- or maybe not, since Steve calls the overall response from those feedback reports "overwhelmingly positive" and says that things are "looking very, very good." In any case, with 45,000 opinions, bug reports, criticisms, and feature requests to dig through, we're increasingly sure of our gut feeling that Mac OS X's "early 2001" release will obey the letter of the deadline if not the spirit, and will surface sometime in May. But hey, we're willing to wait. After all, we've waited this long; you want it done fast, or done right?


 
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The above scene was taken from the 10/19/00 episode:

October 19, 2000: Someone cue the violins-- for the first time in years, Apple fails to beat Wall Street's expectations and a strangely wooden Steve Jobs struggles to prevent further stock price carnage. Meanwhile, the rumor-hating Uncle Steve finds himself compelled to drop a few hints about his company's upcoming product lines, and so far the numbers on Mac OS X's beta period look "very, very good"...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2622: Missing In Action: One RDF (10/19/00)   Oh, my my my... So we fired up our QuickTime Players and tuned into yesterday's live earnings report hoping for some good news, but that hope quickly self-destructed about thirty seconds into the proceedings when Nancy Paxton, Apple's Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Finance, introduced money dude Fred Anderson-- and Uncle Steve himself. Wuh-oh...

  • 2623: The Great Q4 Lip-Loosener (10/19/00)   So during the earnings call, the RDF-bereft Steve Jobs was forced to fall back on hints of future insanely-great Apple products in hopes of preventing further Wall Street carnage. Can you imagine how tough that must have been for him?...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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