Smudges Build Character... (5/3/01)

At first we thought everyone was making too much of the new iBook color choices-- or rather, the lack thereof. ("You can have any color as long as it's white.") For a market that until recently had a choice between a very conservative Graphite, a slightly more colorful Indigo, and a psychotically bright Key Lime, suddenly being limited to white is a bit of a shock, to be sure. But since we're increasingly convinced that this iBook wasn't originally going to be an iBook (think "CubeBook" retargeted to avoid any association with that particular product fiasco), we're not surprised at its single-hue nature. And the feature set and price are so deliriously awesome, we doubt the color is going to deter many buyers.

Unless, of course, they're neat freaks. The new iBook may look nice and clean fresh out of the box, but apparently that glossy white finish doesn't stay spotless for long. Faithful viewer (and, we feel compelled to mention, fabulous babe) Helen Balasny pointed out a Salon article that focuses on the apparent drawbacks of the iBook's gleaming white look. See, at the press event, Apple actually passed several of the new iBooks down the aisles so that the assembled reporters could get to check one out up close. (You can see this for yourself; faithful viewer Scott Daniels notes that there's a QuickTime rebroadcast of Tuesday's iBook unveiling now available.) Well, apparently the Salon reporter was seated towards the end of one of the rows, because by the time an iBook got down there, it was "visibly smudged with greasy fingerprints."

Well, duh, if you're going to let reporters touch it! Just kidding. Seriously, it sounds to us like the iBook is styled very much like the Cube-- but the Cube just sits on a desk and looks gorgeous, while the iBook is going to be manhandled on a daily basis by kids whose hands are dripping with forty-seven different varieties of filth. If we're right in thinking that the iBook is really the "CubeBook," then Apple's designers originally expected it to be handled by well-manicured executives, not rampaging schoolchildren; here's hoping that the iBook can survive the rigors of school life and still emerge looking great.

And if it can't, well, there's always the possibility that Apple is working on alternative (and perhaps less gleamingly pristine) color choices. Faithful viewer Eric "DeadEnd" Merrill was the first of many to point out that when configuring an iBook at the Apple Store, he caught a glimpse of a quizzical little tag that read "Color A" in the product summary. Is it just a WebObjects oddity that the web folks forgot to clean up, or is it a hint of hues B, C, and D to come? Only Steve knows for sure...

SceneLink (3032)
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The above scene was taken from the 5/3/01 episode:

May 3, 2001: Is it almost time to kiss those bulky CRTs goodbye? Meanwhile, Mike Dell grabs the spotlight back by recalling 284,000 laptop batteries, and word has it that the iBook's pristine white enclosure may not look all that great after a bit of everyday handling...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3030: The World Is Flat (Or Will Be) (5/3/01)   Ah, the good ol' cathode ray tube-- for oh so many years, the CRT has been the window of the computer's soul. But is all that about to change? The popularity of LCD displays has been on the rise as the price of the technology continues to drop, and while there are certainly good reasons to love the time-honored CRT (price, better multiple resolution support, and color vibrancy, mainly), there are even more reasons why some people think they've long since worn out their welcome...

  • 3031: Forget Hellfire; It's Dellfire! (5/3/01)   Here's us, yesterday: "Gee, what's Mike Dell gonna do now that the new iBook (not to mention the sale of 23,000 of them to a single county's worth of schools in Georgia) is stealing his education thunder?"...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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