Soothing AND Precognitive (12/18/01)

So there we were at the mall (not a mall, the mall-- show some respect), drowning amid a sea of desperate shoppers and practically choking on the stench of fear. Normally we can handle the crunch of holiday shopping better than most mortal beings, but this year we let our guard down just for a second and were badly trampled by a marauding band of frothing Xbox-seekers following up on a hot tip about a new delivery at K*B Toys. As we struggled to retain consciousness, it took every bit of strength we could muster to drag our pummelled bodies cross-stream and take refuge in the first store we reached. We haven't come so close to shuffling off this mortal coil since that time we foolishly attempted to watch a whole episode of "The Love Boat: The Next Wave."

As we caught our breath and shook hands with Mr. Disorientation, we suddenly realized that we were staring at a beautiful crystal ball, and as we stared deep within, it unlocked the mysteries of the universe for us. Well, okay, maybe not the mysteries of the universe, per se, but at least the mysteries of Macworld Expo-- and really, what else matters? The mystical swirling patterns deep inside seemed to whisper to us in a long-forgotten language, of which we had miraculously been granted total comprehension. Things clicked into place. All was right with the cosmos.

So here's what the crystal revealed: as we suspected, the PowerPC G5 won't be making an appearance (not for another six months, anyway), and instead, we'll get faster Power Mac G4s starting at 933 MHz and punching well past the gigahertz barrier. The long-awaited flat-panel iMac is a definite go, though the specs are fuzzy-- although we do see the nearly-as-long-awaited "iPhoto" consumer image-editing app coming along for the ride, and it looks to be sort of like Mac OS X's "Image Capture" application on steroids and dipped in a pretty iCandy coating. Speaking of Mac OS X, there was a definite vibe that January 7th would constitute the official switchover; as of that date, upon first boot, owners of all new Macs will be greeted with the pleasing contours of Aqua. As for an iBook revision to keep things on par with the new iMac, the crystal says no, but hints at an update in Tokyo. All in all, vague but satisfying.

Of course, when we finally regained our wits later on, it became all too apparent that our minds had temporarily melted with the holiday pressure and we'd actually been standing in Spencer Gifts and staring at a lava lamp for three straight hours. (The employees eventually snapped us out of it by poking us in the kidneys with broom handles at closing time.) As such, you should probably keep the source in mind when you consider the above predictions, but we can say this much: that was by far the most earnest prognosticative lava lamp we've yet to stare at while in an altered mental state-- and that's saying something.

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The above scene was taken from the 12/18/01 episode:

December 18, 2001: The AtAT staff receives a divine vision of Expo goodies to come-- or needs a CAT scan, we're not sure which. Meanwhile, Apple's press invite in the Netherlands hints at a "revolutionary" new product ready for the Expo, and Adobe's own CEO admits that Photoshop for Mac OS X is still three to six months away...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3460: The Dutch Conundrum (12/18/01)   Heaven knows it's not any great risk to predict a new iMac at next month's Macworld Expo; between the fact that Apple hasn't fundamentally overhauled its consumer desktop for over two years now, the inventory-clearing iMac promotion ending on December 31st, and the reports of massive flat-panel iMac orders leaking out from one of Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing subcontractors, the oddsmakers aren't exactly calling it a "long shot."...

  • 3461: Just Two More Quarters (12/18/01)   Meanwhile, topping the list of long-awaited products that won't ship in January is none other than-- insert trumpet fanfare here-- the Carbonized version of Photoshop. While the web has been abuzz with reports by both beta testers and (cough) "beta testers" that the latest prerelease version of the software is both rock-solid and extremely lickable under Mac OS X, we've also heard that the product is still no further along than mid-beta, and as such, it's not shipping in three weeks, no way, no how...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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