Brave New Worlds (3/14/98)

We've gotten a huge amount of viewer mail with questions about and perspectives on the rumor-of-the-week about Apple. It seems like everyone's talking about the Apple Media Player (also known as Columbus) and what it could mean for the future of our favorite computer company. Well, sorry to say, we're not exactly privy to any information about this top-secret project than most people, but what's becoming very clear is that darn near nobody outside of Steve Jobs himself seems to know exactly what this thing is. (And in fact, if some sources are to believed, Steve's not too sure himself.)

Here's the quick summary: the AMP is a set-top box like a WebTV. It's also an eMate-style handheld/laptop, while also being a standard Mac box like you can buy today. It allows you to browse the internet on your television, while watching DVD movies on its built-in color LCD screen. It runs the Mac OS and can run Mac applications, while also only running Allegro Lite, which runs most Mac apps. In addition, it only runs some other unspecified OS which won't let it run any Mac apps at all. Did we mention that it's also the Apple NC that we've been hearing about for so long? And Mac the Knife hints that it's also a new hardware platform reborn from the ashed of CHRP. No wonder it's called "Steve's project with no name."

So despite the leaks that brought the AMP to the public eye long before Apple had hoped, there's so much obvious misinformation floating around that no one seems particularly sure of just what this thing is. Presumably that's just how Apple wants it. It's certainly a nice suspense-builder, too, and you can be sure we'll be on the edge of our collective seat as this drama unfolds.

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The above scene was taken from the 3/14/98 episode:

March 14, 1998: If every report about the Columbus project is to be believed, the AMP is both a floor wax and a dessert topping. Meanwhile, the Powerbook G3 vanishes from the Apple Store and Apple's price list; what will take its place, and when? And Be, spurned by Apple and burned by the killing of the clones, turns to the Intel market for solace...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 535: Ready for the New Stuff (3/14/98)   Interesting... MacCentral reports that the Apple Store is no longer selling Powerbook G3's. Apparently, when you try to buy one online, you receive a message that "the item you have selected is currently not available from the Apple Store."...

  • 536: Be All You Can Be (3/14/98)   So who's taken a look at the Be operating system lately? Maybe not too many of you, given Be's forced "refocusing" on the Intel architecture. Yes, the BeOS continues to run on Powermacs, but not on the latest Powermacs, the G3's...

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