TV-PGDecember 24, 2003: Analysts are saying that Apple has to get on the stick and compete with Media Center PCs; time to bring back the Mac TV! Meanwhile, a CNN/Money columnist gives us all the heebie-jeebies by proposing that Motorola buy Apple, and Apple launches a quiet trade-in deal allowing owners of older PowerBook G4s to get $700 off a brand new model...
But First, A Word From Our Sponsors

Mash-ups and original music by AtAT's former Intern and Goddess-in-Training

Prim M at YouTube

A Case Of The "Sposedtas" (12/24/03)

Why, lookee here-- BBC News is reporting that iPods are so popular in the UK that "demand is certainly outstripping supply" and stores are "selling them almost as fast as they come in." For anyone who still doesn't get why Apple is waiting until after the holiday shopping season to introduce new lower-cost iPods, we've officially done all we can to help you, short of beating you about the head and shoulders with two sticks on which we've written the words "SUPPLY" and "DEMAND." We're game if you are, but we don't make house calls, so you'll have to come out here for that. And bring your own sticks.

Of course, there's still no guarantee that Apple really is planning on introducing $100 miniPods at Macworld Expo, but word of the rumors has now trickled as far downstream as a Reuters report, albeit one that cites Think Secret and (gag) Rob Enderle as sources. For those of you jonesing for an Enderlism, this one might tide you over: speaking about "lower-end iPods which are expected to carry a price tag of about $100 and will hold 400 to 800 songs," he says that "odds are it's a flash-memory-based player, something to position Apple against the low-cost offerings from Creative and Rio." Now, we're not saying that he's definitely wrong, here, but 400 songs is 2 GB of storage, and right now the absolute cheapest price we see on 2 GB of flash RAM is $181. That's retail, mind you, but even if Apple gets a really good OEM deal, we just can't see 2 GB of flash RAM going into a $100 miniPod. But hey, he's the analyst. We're just here to look pretty.

(By the way, Apple's higher-end $199-ish miniPod is said to be a 4 GB device. Not that Apple would have to use a single module, mind you, but we found it interesting that 4 GB of flash RAM costs about $1200. And at four times the cost, it holds only 60% less than a $300 iPod! Such a deal!)

Still, that's not even the crux of the Reuters thing. It seems that all those high-falutin' analysts out there ("Enderles! Enderles everywhere!") feel that what Steve "needs" to do come January 6th is explain why the heck Macs don't come with remote controls and let you watch TV on them out of the box. "One of the things we'll be looking for," says analyst Time Bajarin, "is how does Steve embellish on and extend the Mac into the living room, because Microsoft is already there with the Media Center PC." And you know what? Those analysts are right! Why, if we can't record and watch "Gilligan's Island" on our next Mac without expending the ridiculous amount of effort it takes to buy and plug in an EyeTV, we're just going to buy a Dell, consarn it, and we know for a fact that 98% of Mac users feel the same!

Ooooh, sarcasm. On Christmas Eve. Santa will not be pleased. Seriously, though, we're just not convinced that Windows has a massive technical advantage in the consumer market just because you can buy Wintels with TV tuners and remote controls. When we want to watch TV, we generally want to watch TV. On the couch. With that big screen and a bag of Baked Lays or something. Sure, there are exceptions; it's nice to be able to take recorded shows on the road on a PowerBook or whatever, but it just doesn't seem to us that people in general are really that thrilled about watching TV on their computers-- or, for that matter, hooking their computers up to their TVs just to watch Media Center-recorded shows in comfort. Maybe it's just us, but TiVo seems like a much better way to go about this sort of thing.

Note that we're not saying that Apple won't do this sort of stuff; it's perfectly aligned with the whole "digital hub" strategy, after all, and we've already seen compelling evidence that future iPods will gain video capabilities. Indeed, if Apple and TiVo announced that the Home Media Option 2.0 will allow Macs to transfer TiVo shows over a home network and burn them to VCD or DVD and/or sync them with a 4G video iPod, we'll probably sprain a grin ligament or three. It just irks us when these analysts all band together and say "Apple must do Thing X or the company will surely falter." We remember when Thing X was PDAs; we doubt many of them will still insist that Apple will go out of business if it doesn't rush out a handheld and join Palm at the bottom of the stock barrel. Occasionally Thing X is switching to Intel chips; Enderle, in particular, was beating that drum just a little over a year ago, insisting that Apple would be forced to scrap the PowerPC and ship Pentiums before the end of 2003. Yeah, that's going to happen any day now.

Yes, we're crotchety. Even at Christmas. It's sort of our trademark.

So if Steve does in fact announce that Macs and iPods will soon gain all sorts of TV-type features, fantastic, great, we're all for it, rah rah rah, go team. But if he doesn't, don't go leaping off any cliffs, okay? Show a little faith in Steve. He was right about PDAs, after all. And we're naturally leery of anything those analysts say that Apple "has to do."

SceneLink (4410)
A Nightmare Before Xmas (12/24/03)

Christmas Eve! Tonight's the night you're supposed to drift peacefully off to sleep while visions of sugar plums dance in your heads so a fat guy with a sack can break into your house, swipe those cookies you were keeping on the mantelpiece, and maybe leave some gifts under your tree as a compulsive act stemming from some sort of deep-seated psychological complex. It really is a magical time of year!

But what if you don't want visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? What if sugar plums kinda make you sick? Or what if, more likely, you have no freakin' idea what sugar plums are in the first place, and therefore you don't want them cluttering up your dreamscape? Well, good news, folks! The playful Grinches at CNN/Money have just the thing for you: a hypothetical business scenario so unspeakably awful that you'll have night terrors for weeks. Take that, sugar plums!

Without further ado, here's the goods: columnist Paul R. La Monica wants to see Motorola buy Apple.

Motorola. Apple, owned by Motorola.

The future of the Mac, determined by-- yes, you heard correctly-- Motorola.

Geesh, forget about nightmares; we may never sleep again.

La Monica's take on it is that Apple would then get a chance to do for mobile phones what the iPod did for the world of digital music. Fair enough. He also notes that Motorola is trying to spin off its chipmaking business, after which it'll be a consumer electronics company churning out phones, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and cable set-top boxes-- all stuff that could conceivably benefit greatly from Apple's consumeriffic design skills. That all makes perfect sense, we suppose, although most of this sounds like it'd come off better if Apple bought Motorola, instead. (Heck, if Apple waits a few more quarters, maybe it'll even be in a position to do just that.)

Notice that La Monica never once mentions the Mac. Our take on it, of course, is that if Motorola bought Apple, Power Macs would go back to G4s, all Macs would be perennially backordered by six or eight weeks at best, Mac fans could go back to looking forward to 50 MHz performance boosts every eighteen months, and we'd all wind up committing mass suicide-- probably by clubbing ourselves to death with old Motorola StarMaxes.

La Monica, to his credit, isn't proposing that such a buyout is likely, possible, or even desirable ("Apple is NEVER going to sell out... it would be a sin if the company did")-- he's just playing What If. It's just that where he sees golden opportunities for Motorola's consumer goods, we see a fate worse than death for the Mac. And Mac users. But hey, it sure gets rid of those pesky sugar plums, doesn't it?

SceneLink (4411)
A Trade-In To Trade Up (12/24/03)

Christmas Eve is just about over down here at the AtAT compound, folks, so we've got to clear off soon to make room for the jolly fat guy, just in case he's bringing us new iPods or something. But we've got to pass on just one last quick little present to the PowerBook owners out there before we go drench ourselves in nog; got an older PowerBook G4 that's showing its age? Is lugging around a hunk of titanium causing people to point at you and giggle because you're sporting last year's metal? Do you crave a screen so huge that it can't help but draw attention away from your crippling lack of self-esteem? Well, great news! Think Secret reports that Apple is running a low-key trade-in program through March 27th.

Apparently this isn't a rumor, folks, but a real, confirmed thing. If you call AppleCare at (800) 275-2273, you can get details on this "pilot program," which basically lets you trade in your older PowerBook G4 for a $700 credit towards a new 15-inch or 17-inch AlBook. Provided your old 'Book isn't in really rough shape (it can't have been dropped, have a cracked display or other accidental damage, or had anything spilled on it-- no word about sending it in packed full of peanut butter, however), you can score a brand new replacement for as little as $1,299. The only bummer is that, for some reason, you can't get this deal on a new 12-inch model. It's probably the government's fault.

We should note that Apple has done things like this before; we got our current Pismo PowerBook back when Apple ran an unadvertised trade-in deal to get those yucky Amelio-era PowerBook 5300s and 190s out of the field. That was a particularly sweet deal, because you could send in a 5300 or 190 in any condition; the one we sent was literally in pieces, and yet it scored us $700 off a then-almost-state-of-the-art 400 MHz Pismo. The whole swap process went perfectly smoothly (Apple sends you a box to ship back your gear) and days later we were Pismoing up a storm. So if this deal really is legit and you don't mind getting a $700 trade-in on a PowerBook you probably shelled out almost three grand for in the first place (depreciation sucks, doesn't it?), we say go for it. Odds are you'll be glad you did.

Ho ho ho, Merry PowerBooks!

SceneLink (4412)
← Previous Episode
Next Episode →
Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(1188 votes)

As an Amazon Associate, AtAT earns from qualifying purchases

DISCLAIMER: AtAT was not a news site any more than Inside Edition was a "real" news show. We made Dawson's Creek look like 60 Minutes. We engaged in rampant guesswork, wild speculation, and pure fabrication for the entertainment of our viewers. Sure, everything here was "inspired by actual events," but so was Amityville II: The Possession. So lighten up.

Site best viewed with a sense of humor. AtAT is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Keep hands inside car at all times. The drinking of beverages while watching AtAT is strongly discouraged; AtAT is not responsible for damage, discomfort, or staining caused by spit-takes or "nosers."

Everything you see here that isn't attributed to other parties is copyright ©,1997-2023 J. Miller and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast without his explicit consent (or possibly the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but we doubt it).