Holy cats, we're already five days into September, and you know what that means: less than three weeks until the start of syndicated Buffy episodes on fx! Oh, and for those of you who insist on remaining strictly on-topic, it also heralds the imminent release of Mac OS X 10.1. Personally, we're more excited about the former than the latter. Don't get us wrong; we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of a version of Apple's next-generation operating system that reacts more quickly than a banana slug on methadone, and we will indeed party down when said day arrives. It's just a matter of priorities, and the prospect of first- and second-season Buffy exploits five times a week has us all aflutter. After all, sure, we're looking forward to DVD playback in an Aqua environment, but on the other hand, it's been a really long time since we've seen a floppy-haired Xander almost get his head bitten off by a giant amorous praying mantis posing as a substitute teacher.
Still, Buffy's syndication debut has a hard-and-fast date of September 24th, and thus lacks the necessary uncertainty to fuel frenzied speculation. Meanwhile, all we know about Mac OS X 10.1 is that Steve told us it would ship "in September." Pretty much all we can say for certain, then, is that we can now safely amend that to "in September, but not on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or (probably) 5th." That leaves the rest of the month wide open for all of you to start your little office pools. If you do, we suggest charging extra for the September 25th and 26th squares, since those dates mark the Apple keynotes at Seybold and Apple Expo respectively, and as such are heavily favored by the odds.
But what's this? In addition to having published lengthy excerpts from reader reports on recent prerelease builds of 10.1 (and really, who doesn't need a screenshot of a giant Brightness icon to jazz up his or her humdrum existence?), Mac OS Rumors has added a little note identifying Apple's current targeted 10.1 release date as being Thursday, September 13th. Of course, there are the usual caveats about possible delays and last-minute show-stopper bugs, but if you put any stock in MOSR's recon and the 13th still isn't taken in your office 10.1 release pool, you may want to snap it up before the oddsmakers notice and jack up the price.
Speaking of unconfirmed 10.1 rumors, you may have noticed some widespread grumbling inspired by Apple's decision to charge customers $20 for the "free" 10.1 upgrade; Apple claims it's for shipping and handling, while the complainers somewhat validly argue that it's rather incongruous of the company to charge anything for an upgrade that essentially makes Mac OS X finally work like it should have in the first place. Well, last month we floated a suggestion that Apple consider giving away the 10.1 update CDs to customers who stop in at its retail stores armed with a Mac OS X proof of purchase-- and since then, we've heard several unconfirmed reports that Apple plans to do just that. Again, these are entirely unconfirmed reports and we're not putting much stock in them, but if they turn out to be true, then at least those of you near an Apple boutique might be able to get your hands on 10.1 for the cost of the round-trip gas money. If it turns out to be true and it was our suggestion that saves you a couple of sawbucks, don't applaud-- just buy a t-shirt. Or send us blank videotapes, because we're going to need 'em once fx-Buffy kicks in.