48 Hours 'Til Enlightenment (7/16/01)

We'll say one thing for this upcoming keynote: we've been following these things since Steve's return four years back, and we can't remember one being shrouded in more mystery or controversy regarding new hardware. There are at least three debates currently raging in the Mac community regarding what Steve's got up his sleeve for this Wednesday, and every time we think an issue is settled, suddenly something happens to cast doubt on the answer all over again. We admit it, we're confused as all get-out-- but heck, we haven't had this much fun since we plugged a pickle into a wall outlet.

First up, there's the iMac. For weeks, rumors had been flying that Apple was slated to release an all-new iMac design, featuring an LCD display to complete Apple's transfer away from the size, weight, and heat problems of the traditional cathode ray tube. But then just a week ago, we started hearing whispers that Apple wasn't going to have its new LCD design ready in time, and thus this week's new iMac will in fact be pretty much more of the same: most recently, we're hearing 500-700 MHz G3s, CD-ROM and CD-RW drives (not even a combo drive option!), maybe a couple of new colors, and the slimmest of chances of a slightly different CRT, with prices ranging from $700-$1499. But check this out: faithful viewer Jason points out that Mac OS Rumors is now claiming that the LCD iMacs are "ready to roll" and we'll see them in less than forty-eight hours. Say what now?

Meanwhile, how about those Power Macs? Some people are insisting that they'll hit 1 GHz this Wednesday, while our own mystical methods of prognostication are hinting that's more of a fall thing; expect no higher than 867 MHz this week, with a dual-800 MHz option and a "low-end" 733 MHz thrown in for good measure. But the real controversy is over what these things will look like, and whether those "spy photos" that hit the 'net last week were legit. (Faithful viewer Peter Baker notes that even Wired has now reprinted one of them.) What can we say? Our gut feeling was that they were real (albeit crappy) photos of a real prototype, and well they may have been-- but MOSR says they're "definitely fakes." So what will the new G4s look like? Um, well, MOSR claims they'll boast a "whole new enclosure," but we're hearing that the case is literally unchanged, minus a slight difference in color. Go figure.

We probably shouldn't even get into the whole "Son of Pismo" 14-inch-screen iBook rumors, because as far as we know, no one but Go2Mac seems to have heard anything about that. Or so we thought; faithful viewer Eric Enderson tells us that MacMinute dug up at least one other individual who believes in the second coming of Pismo: Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Fortuna has told his clients that the 14-inch iBook is indeed likely to appear on Wednesday. So yeah, things are most definitely higgledy-piggledy right now-- and we happen to be loving it. Thanks, Steve, for what we have to assume is a disinformation campaign of impressive and far-reaching proportions to have spawned such confusion. We're still expecting greatness on Wednesday, but at this point we honestly don't know what form that greatness will assume. Woo-hoo!

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The above scene was taken from the 7/16/01 episode:

July 16, 2001: When it comes to keynote rumors, all hell's broken loose-- but hang tight, because it's just two days 'til showtime. Meanwhile, at least we can count on more details of Apple's retail plans, and CNET posts an interview with the company responsible for putting style into personal computing (no, not that company)...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3179: Shopping Trip Postponed (7/16/01)   There's been so much hair-pulling over the whole "LCD vs. CRT iMac" and "GHz or not" issues, one topic that's a dead cert for Wednesday's Stevenote has been almost totally ignored: the Apple retail stores...

  • 3180: That's Why It's "Big Blue" (7/16/01)   Lastly, a quickie to help brighten your Monday: faithful viewer Alicia W. points out an interview over at CNET with a representative of the company responsible for speeding "the widespread adoption" of the personal computer...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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