Skip Copying, Go For Cloning (1/8/04)
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Apologies if we seem even less coherent than usual today, folks, but we're a little distracted; we're still digging tiny shards of skull out of our ceiling. See, we figured that today would bring another Herculean struggle to unearth some wee morsels of dramatic interest from the post-Stevenote glut of third-party Expo product announcements and overblown media analysis. Little did we suspect that faithful viewer Rene Franco had forwarded us an Apple press release that, when we read it, blew the tops right off our craniums. Honestly, brains flying everywhere. And before breakfast, no less.

If you somehow dodged this story and kept your skull in one piece, prepare for detonation: Hewlett-Packard (you know, that other computer company trying to reposition itself as a consumer electronics provider) will indeed be selling its own branded digital music player as previous reports had hinted, but said player will actually be a rebranded iPod. It won't be called an iPod, mind you, and it probably won't look much like an iPod, but it'll have iPod guts through and through-- Apple's even going to build the things, and they'll display the Apple logo when they're turned on. What's more, all of HP's consumer Wintel systems (meaning, every "HP Pavilion, Media Center and Compaq Presario desktop and notebook consumer PC") will come with iTunes preloaded, with "an easy-reference desktop icon to point consumers directly to the iTunes Music Store."

If your braincase is still intact (it shouldn't be; this is almost-- almost-- a licensing deal we're talking about, here), faithful viewer Kevin Crossman points out that analyst Rob Enderle has given this deal his personal seal of approval-- which, given Enderle's track record, either means Apple just made its biggest mistake ever, or Rob walked into a door and knocked his neuron back into place. We can't tell which, but we're leaning toward the latter, because hello, market share, anyone? With AOL and HP backing the iTMS and that Pepsi giveaway slated to kick off in three more weeks, Apple is poised to grind all other music downloads services into the pavement. Once the dust finally settles, the iTMS will emerge as the de facto standard means of purchasing and downloading music, the iPod (and its HP-branded cousin) will be lodged so firmly in first place that people carrying other players will be rounded up and banished from modern society, and Apple can begin its thousand-year monopolistic reign as Emperor of Digital Tunage. Good times.

Oh, and just to make absolutely sure your head explodes, the press release also quotes Steve Jobs referring to HP as "an innovative consumer company." KABOOM!

And so, due to Apple's irresponsible behavior, we're still left on brain detail like Jules in Pulp Fiction. Seriously, what kind of a stunt is this? Apple barfs out no fewer than ten press releases on Stevenote Day, and then issues one that's potentially more significant than all the rest put together two days later? We can only assume that the deal hadn't yet been signed on Tuesday, because this is clearly the sort of announcement that would normally rank some primo airtime during Steve's dog and pony show. It just goes to show that you've got to be ready for anything in this business, or you wind up spending entirely too much time worrying about stubborn fluid stains.

On a related note, does anybody know if OxiClean gets out grey matter? 'Cause if not, this Elvis wall hanging is never going to be the same again...


 
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 

The above scene was taken from the 1/8/04 episode:

January 8, 2004: Holy Hannah, Hewlett-Packard is rebranding the iPod! Meanwhile, someone dupes Exposé as a $10 app for the Windows crowd, and the analysts keep talking up AAPL as the price continues to rise...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4431: "It's Just A Coincidence!" (1/8/04)   You know, it's been hours since we've been infuriated by an especially shameless Wintel knockoff of an Apple product, and you'd think that would be a good thing. But as it turns out, we've become so conditioned to acute indignation caused by the blithe theft of Apple's best ideas, when we go without it for too long our blood sugar drops sharply and we get the shakes...

  • 4432: And The Love-In Continues (1/8/04)   Say, remember yesterday when we mentioned that a couple of analysts had said really positive things about GarageBand? It struck us as odd, because we're really not used to analysts being nice after a Stevenote, particularly one that was relatively light on big announcements...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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