Dawn Of The Killer iPods (10/22/01)

As for the "something else" to which we alluded earlier in the month when discussing Apple's alleged mid-October product announcements, well, the revamped iBook wasn't it. That one took us slightly by surprise-- because even though we had mentioned the possibility of new iBooks accompanying the revised PowerBooks just a few days later, truth be told, we just didn't think it was all that likely. No, the "something else" we saw was really something else-- something all-new and sparkly fresh. It may not have even been a Mac.

Of course, this is where you'd all gasp in shock and a few ladies from '30s movies would keel over in a dead faint, if you weren't all rumor addicts to whom this is now profoundly old news. As you all undoubtedly already know, at some point last week Apple invited a slew of press to a "special event" at which the company expects to unveil a completely new product; according to CNET, the invitations promise "the unveiling of a breakthrough digital device." Judging by the amount of email we got about this little development, the AtAT audience is not unaware of the irony of the situation: we spent years cultivating speculation about a new Apple handheld, and Apple chooses to announce a new "digital device" during our only planned broadcast hiatus in four years. Coincidence? Or is Steve just mocking us?

Actually, it probably was just a coincidence, because if this were really a grand scheme to make our heads explode with frustration, Apple would have held the press event last week, while we were too busy looking at poor ol' Lindow Man to wax melodramatic about this new Apple product that even Apple admits is "not a Mac." Instead, the fur actually flies tomorrow, so we'll get to ooooh and aaaah with the rest of you, even though we weren't actually invited to the unveiling. (Just for that, Steve, you're not welcome at our Thanksgiving dinner this year! No, wait, that's mean. You can come, but you can only have one helping of Tofurky.)

But what exactly is this non-Mac digital device? Well, most sources are reporting that it's some kind of music player. Wired goes so far as to claim it's called the "iPod," and it's allegedly pretty much a standard portable MP3 player with a twist: once you load your tunes into the iPod (presumably via USB/FireWire and iTunes), you can then somehow play that music on your regular stereo system or car stereo. Details are alarmingly sketchy, but Wired implies that AirPort plays a role. Whatever. Personally, we're hoping it's a little more "breakthrough" than that, because so far we're not overwhelmed. In fact, we're only just barely whelmed at all. Still, even a basic MP3 player graced with Apple's elegance and attention to detail might make for a nice Christmas gift this year. We'll know soon enough-- and Apple rarely disappoints.

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The above scene was taken from the 10/22/01 episode:

October 22, 2001: We're back! Say, we didn't miss anything about the PowerBook and iBook, did we? Meanwhile, Apple prepares to wow the press with a "breakthrough digital device" that's "not a Mac"...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3344: Catching Up Is Hard To Do (10/22/01)   "Honey, I'm home!" Well, we're finally back from our self-imposed exile, ladies and germs, and what a glorious romp it was. We're talking two fun-filled weeks of roughing it in the Equatorial swamps and wetlands the natives call "Central London," the last natural habitat of the crab-scuttling beaver and an area world-renowned for its vibrant and entertaining array of waterborne insect larvae...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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