TV-PGNovember 17, 2003: Steve Jobs gets recognized as a marketer, a high-tech exec, and that guy who keeps parking across three handicapped spaces outside the Piggly Wiggly. Meanwhile, Rob Enderle still thinks Apple needs to switch to Intel, and rumors point to a monstrous new iMac, a mid-range dual G5, and "something else" all touching down tomorrow-- and maybe dual-G4 PowerBooks next year...
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Who Stole The Weekend? (11/17/03)

We have a bone to pick with the theory of relativity: was it really necessary to make Monday show up three minutes after Friday arrived? Seriously, if we ever run into that theory face-to-face on a Monday morning, it had better hope we've already had our coffee, or we're going to go caveman on its... well, its... premise, or something.

Hmm. Okay, never mind that; considering the likely fruitlessness of threatening a theory, in the interest of efficacy, we're making this personal and going after the theorist instead. So if the ghost of Einstein ever floats in here looking to borrow a cup of ectoplasm, he's going to find himself staring down the business end of a positron collider. Word.

Yes, that's how incoherent we're going to be today. Scary, isn't it?

So we'd better start off slowly, or we're going to sprain a metaphor or something. And you know what "slowly" means, kids: the Occasional Awards Roundup™! Yes sir, nothing says "phoning it in on a premature Monday" like a rundown of various awards and kudos that Apple has won in recent days. (Well, except possibly the act of posting others' marketing press releases verbatim as original "news," but there are depths to which even we absolutely will not sink unless someone pays us a large sum of cash.) This time around, let's take a look at the recognition that Fearless Leader is raking in, shall we? The Ad Age Marketing 50 list is out, and Steve is on it. In addition to referring to the iPod and iTunes as "stunningly successful," Ad Age also notes that "Jobs this year becomes the first person to be named to Advertising Age's list of leading brands three times... not bad for a guy who never had a traditional marketing career." Gee, it's amazing what the extraterrestrial power to bend the human mind to one's will can accomplish, isn't it?

Meanwhile, Steve also finds himself ranked as one of the Top 25 Executives by CRN: he lands at a respectable number 11 for blitzing the world with the iPod-iTunes tag team, shipping the G5, and making the tough call to kill Mac OS 9 in order to give Mac OS X its time in the sun. That said, the CRN list contains a grievous error, and we're not talking about its claim that Panther is a 64-bit operating system: the publication ranked Steve Ballmer higher than Jobs-- all the way up at number two. (The article comes with another winning photo, by the way.)

On second thought, though, maybe Ballmer does deserve the top bunk: since the CRN Top 25 Executives list "profiles the individuals who have had the greatest influence on the high tech industry," technically, Ballmer's number two position is entirely justified, because are you ever going to be able to get this image out of your head? Yeah, us either. Plus it's a good way to get your heart thumping on a Monday.

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Same Song, Different Key (11/17/03)

Board up the windows and hide in the basement, weather fans, 'cause there's a Stupid Storm a-brewin', and by all indications it's gonna be a doozy! Well, okay, there's no such thing as an actual "Stupid Storm," per se, but if there were, they should all be named "Hurricane Enderle"-- in honor of good ol' Robert E., the analyst who has turned cluelessness into an art form. You may recall his prediction barely more than a month ago that Apple was "going to have a serious problem with the Windows community" when the company extended iTunes to that platform; he was right, of course, assuming that a million downloads of iTunes for Windows in three and a half days constitutes a "serious problem." ("Oooh, the painful burden of success... Calgon, take me away!")

Of course, that's nowhere near the goofiest assertion the man's ever made; for us, the prizewinner was always his October 2002 proclamation that "continued technical disadvantage" against Intel would force Apple to switch from PowerPCs to x86 chips "before 2003 is finished." So get ready, folks, because that means there's only six weeks left until all Macs will be bearing the "Intel Inside" warning label! Okay, okay, so Enderle said that before the G5 was officially unveiled by the Stevester-- although you'd think that anyone professing to know so much about the future of Apple would have stuck his head into a rumor site or two and poked around a little. (Then again, maybe that's where he got this cockamamie "Macs on Intel" idea in the first place.)

But if you think that his "Intel by end of 2003" prediction is somewhat excusable because the G5 wasn't officially announced yet (at least, not by Apple), you are grossly underestimating the seemingly bottomless depths of Enderle's ability to shock and amuse. Faithful viewer Michael McKinney notes that Enderle has penned an article for InternetWEEK in which he is still insisting that Apple must go Intel. Oh, sure, he builds up to it by recounting how he was called "an idiot" for having predicted the Mac's post-Windows 95 decline and the rise of Windows NT, leading you to think that maybe he does have amazing Criswellian abilities of prognostication. Of course, that's when his classic aversion to homework rears its ugly head and he decides that "Cheetah seems to be a likely next name" for Mac OS X. Guess no one told him that Cheetah shipped two and a half years ago as Mac OS X 10.0.

Okay, so it's a minor point. But what's not so minor is that Enderle is still claiming that "Apple will need to either move to Intel, or get significant help from its hardware partner, IBM" if it's going to make any kind of headway competing against Longhorn (the next version of Windows that Enderle is still calling "Windows 2005" despite the fact that Microsoft has admitted that it won't ship until 2006). Still harping on the PowerPC's "technical disadvantage"? Apparently another little detail that Rob missed is the fact that the third fastest supercomputer on earth (yes, it's now official) is made out of Macs running those PowerPCs he deems so inconsequential. Indeed, Big Mac outperformed every single Intel-based supercomputer on the list; the closest match was a 2,500-processor Xeon-based cluster built by Dell which, despite the fact that it has 300 more processors than Big Mac and each of those processors is running over a gigahertz faster than Big Mac's G5s, still only churns out 9.82 teraflops compared to Big Mac's 10.28. Oh, yeah-- time to switch to x86. No question.

Oh, but that's irrelevant! The real reason why Apple needs to switch to Intel is because Windows and Linux run on it, so no one's going to want to use an operating system that runs on anything else: "Apple will have some serious problems [gee, "serious problems" like it had with acceptance of iTunes for Windows? What is it with this guy and Apple's "serious problems"?] because the Apple hardware platform will not be able to create customer demand comparable to what Linux could do." In other words, a year ago Enderle said Apple had to switch because of "continued technical disadvantage," but now that the disadvantage is provably gone, now he says Apple has to switch because nobody wants to buy that icky ol' Mac hardware. At least he had the good sense to leave out the bit of "the end of 2003" this time around; maybe the gingko biloba is finally starting to kick in.

But this has grown tiresome. Rather than continue harping, we'll leave you with more classic Enderle: "Still, Microsoft moved between 25 million and 30 million Windows 95 licenses in the last four months of 2004." The last four months of 2004? Wow, the guy really can see into the future! Batten down the hatches!

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It's A Twelve-Course Meal (11/17/03)

Ewww, a whole scene about Rob Enderle; we feel all dirty. Time to get happy again with a round of everybody's favorite party game, Perilously Unsubstantiated Rumor Appreciation Time! We lucked out, too, because just when we needed it most, AppleInsider delivered the goods-- by the freakin' truckload. We won't be trite and say that when it rains it pours, but let's just say that we're glad we're wearing scuba gear.

We hope you're hungry, because there's a lot to chow down on. First on the menu: new iMacs. Big new iMacs. Seven feet tall, they are, with arms like tree trunks and eyes like steel (cold and hard) and a shock of hair, red, like the fires of hell... only not quite that tall and with no arms, eyes, or hair. On the other hand, if the rumors are true, then these iMacs do have 20-inch screens, which ranks 'em up there on the Enormo-Board as far as we're concerned. AppleInsider got word of these behemoths over the weekend and originally wrote it off as a "misinformation campaign"-- until other sites like Think Secret posted corroborating reports and more word kept creeping in that some retailers had already received shipments of the pituitary cases.

But wait, that's just the first course! Alongside the mondo-gi-normous iMacs tomorrow, we're also supposed to get a second processor beaming into the 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5: duals aren't just for deuces anymore. On top of that there's a third "mystery product" priced at $749. Is it a perforated aluminum robotic monkey? A lovely assortment of fine scented soaps? None can say-- although rumors apparently hint that it's either a "widescreen 17-inch display" or the new lower price for the existing 20-inch Cinema Display. Either way it's a tasty treat.

Still not enough for your Hungry Man appetite? Then forget all that "tomorrow" stuff for a minute and wash it all down with a healthy chug of longer-term dual-G4 PowerBook speculation. Word has it that if Apple can't wedge a G5 into an inch-thick enclosure soon enough to prevent another year-long delay between PowerBook updates, Apple has a contingency plan to ship one PowerBook with two G4s lurking beneath the hood. The holdup with the G5, other than the issue of sheer size, is the longtime bugbear of keeping that sucker cool. AI reports that Cooligy, the company working on that wacky water-cooling pump thingy we mentioned a while back, has a workable product that will keep a G5-portable suitably unmelty, but it's waiting for safety approval from various regulatory agencies due to the "potential for leakage of very hot liquids." It sounds like too much fun already.

So are we buying any of this, you ask? Frankly, we're too awash in the current of rumory goodness to bother thinking about it too much. After all, for everything but the liquid-cooled PowerBook, we'll know tomorrow anyway, right? So we're just going to lie here and soak in the warm, lapping waves of speculation.

Wait a minute... this isn't speculation. This is a leakage of very hot liquids.


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