Spy Photos, Take Three (7/29/02)

It never fails: every time we wind up going on an unannounced hiatus down here at the AtAT studios, some kind of big dramatic event unfolds and we miss out on all the fun. The next time things get slow in the Apple world, remind us to take off for a weeklong scooter tour of Trenton or something in a selfless bid to juice things up Mac-wise so at least the rest of you can frolic amid some new Apple-flavored melodrama. The latest juice, of course, isn't the .mac bait-and-switch price-gouging controversy (which is old news, despite the continuing amount of frothing about it) or even the wildly raging and intensely polarizing "is it '.mac' or '.Mac,' because even Apple can't seem to decide" debate, but rather last week's unholy leak of alleged photos and diagrams revealing all sorts of nifty details about next month's crop of spankin' new Power Macs. Mmmm, sacrilicious!

If any of you were somehow as preoccupied as we were last week and missed this particular barrel o' monkeys, apparently the song went a little something like this: a French Mac site called MacBidouille originally broke the news and posted a handful of images purported to be photos and drawings of various aspects of Apple's upcoming Power Mac update. Less than a day later, MacBidouille yanked the images, claiming that it had found itself on the business end of a cease-and-desist letter from one of Apple's multitudinous phalanxes of intellectual property lawyers. Mac OS Rumors then slogged through much the same post-get-threatened-and-yank cycle as MacBidouille experienced. Sound familiar? It should; this is pretty much the same routine we've seen with other pre-release Mac photos, such as the leaked Kihei images from back in '99 and last year's Quicksilver spy photos brouhaha.

If you missed 'em, apparently you didn't miss much. Assuming the photos aren't fakes, next month's Power Macs are going to look a fair amount like this month's Power Macs, at least in general form-- but with a more Snow-like color scheme, a front-mounted headphone jack, the speaker moved up top, four neat-looking vents toward the bottom, and some zesty bare-metal surfaces à la the Xserve's droolingly cool enclosure. Meanwhile, the back of the unit is peppered with so many holes it looks like it was ventilated with a twelve-gauge shotgun. Sounds like those greater-than-gigahertz processors might be throwing off more heat than a mug full of magma.

So are the new spy photos the real deal? We'll presumably know for sure in a couple of weeks' time, but until then, we're guessing "yeah baby"-- but not necessarily because the images ring true. We're inclined to believe they're real primarily due to the scrupulous cease-and-desisting of Apple's mouthpieces. Let's not forget that both the Kihei photos and the Quicksilver pics turned out to be genuine, implying strongly that the swift and sure-footed involvement of Apple Legal in situations such as this serves as a de facto certificate of authenticity. Heck, we were going to tell you that at least eWEEK still hosted the photos, thus providing at least some doubt as to whether Apple really moved to stamp out all public evidence of the pictures' existence, but they recently vanished from there, too. Ya snooze, ya lose.

Fear not, however; faithful viewer Eric Bigham kindly notes that as of broadcast time the photos are still up at The Synapse Project. Get 'em while they're still gracing this plane of existence. And we'll be plenty interested to see whether TSN manages to escape the attention of Apple's law-talkin' guys...

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The above scene was taken from the 7/29/02 episode:

July 29, 2002: Ah, the emergence of illicit spy photos of unreleased Apple products; it finally truly feels like summer. Meanwhile, Apple teams up with Sun to bring StarOffice to Mac OS X (to Microsoft's potential chagrin), even as Apple applies to register the unlikely sobriquet "Junkyard" as a product trademark...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3742: Boasting Real Star-Quality (7/29/02)   Okay, so we're not exactly as rabidly up to speed on every little detail in the Mac universe as we once were. As it turns out, though, that's not necessarily a major handicap, because at least one plot thread has picked up almost exactly where we left off roughly a week and a half ago when we vanished from the public eye to tackle the daunting task of organizing our communal sock drawer...

  • 3743: Call It A Soft-Sell Approach (7/29/02)   Now, this is the sort of thing we'd usually like to leave you with on a Friday so it could bake your noodle over the weekend and leave you nicely disoriented on Monday morning as you drag your puzzled butts back into the workforce, but seeing as we've been AWOL for the past couple of weeks, we're instead throwing it at you on a Monday night, in hopes that it might have at least a minimal effect on your job performance for the remainder of the work week...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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