A 970 By Any Other Name (6/9/03)

Ah, yes, the PowerPC 970: now there's a product name that trips trillingly off the tongue. Go on, say it with us: PowerPC 970. Yes sir, with a lilt like that, this is one chip name that Apple's rampaging horde of bloodthirsty marketing executives would be insane not to exploit within an inch of its life. If we learned anything at all from our extensive schooling in the Marketing Arts and Sciences, it's that the public just loves product names at least thirteen syllables long-- especially if they incorporate a seemingly arbitrary three-digit number and also repeat a word or two. So look out world, because here comes the Power Macintosh PowerPC 970!

Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, we should probably mention that those marketing classes we took were in fact taught by the same insensate zombie tree sloths that came up with New Coke and Microsoft Bob, so maybe there's room for debate. AppleInsider, for instance, has just posted its first update in two months, which claims that Macs featuring the PowerPC 970 will indeed debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference just two short weeks away. These new systems will reportedly be available in 1.4 GHz and 1.8 GHz configurations boasting AGP 8x graphics, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and a "more square and compact" enclosure complete with a couple of easy-access ports on the front. But more relevantly, AI insists that Apple's marketing team is planning to leave the inherent poetry and sparkle of the PowerPC 970 moniker completely untapped, instead opting to market Apple's new system as-- are you ready for this?-- the "Power Macintosh G5."

"G5"? What the heck is that? This rumor can't be true; could Apple really be so blind as to pass up a golden marketing opportunity to leverage IBM's elegant and understated processor name in favor of something so... short? And simple? As if the public wants simple! And how about G5's total lack of meaning? When Joe Average sees the name "PowerPC 970," he immediately understands that we're talking about a really fast chip, since 970 is at least a couple of dozen bigger than the 4 in "Pentium 4." But G5? That's only one bigger, and who cares about that? We suspect that Apple intends for customers to pick up on some sort of progression, as if the Power Mac G5 somehow follows logically from the Power Mac G3 and G4-- but if there's a pattern, damned if we can see it.

Let's hope that this whole "G5" thing is just a rumor, since we'd hate to see a superior product tank in the marketplace just because it had a lousy name. And if Apple is really dead set against using the name "Power Macintosh PowerPC 970," our extensive focus group research and years of zombie tree sloth tutelage tell us that the next best choice would be "Super Super Not Poopy RealliFast 4XJ-F7." Think about it.

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The above scene was taken from the 6/9/03 episode:

June 9, 2003: Rumor has it that the 970-based Mac will indeed surface in two weeks at WWDC-- and it'll be called the Power Mac G5. Meanwhile, Apple may be looking to buy Roxio, and .Mac gets hosed by junk mail fallout from the Windows virus du jour...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4001: "But Does It Come In Black?" (6/9/03)   Assuming you aren't one of the millions of unfortunates reduced to trying to come up with new and interesting recipes involving generic dog food and ketchup packets swiped from the local Wendy's, living in a down economy has its benefits...

  • 4002: Pain Goes Cross-Platform (6/9/03)   You know, one of the questions that we get asked most frequently by members of the Wintel ilk is this: "As Mac users, don't you sometimes miss what the Windows world has to offer?" To which we usually reply, well, kinda...

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