Out Chasing Ambulances (4/16/04)

It's Happy Time, folks; at least one actual "news" site is confirming that new Apple portables ought to arrive next week, and while that doesn't necessarily mean squat, it's usually a pretty decent indication that a rumor has a fair amount of heft to it. Meanwhile, AppleInsider claims that "a number of iBook and PowerBook configurations are currently in air-transit to US distributors," and that the low-end 'Books were speed-bumped enough that, come next week, Apple's entire Mac product line will be 1 GHz or faster. That's a whole boatload of Weekend Glee for you right there.

And yet, we find ourselves ignoring just about all of that as our attention is drawn mothlike to the flame of a reported eMac "short-term quality hold." (Hey, what can we say? Drama's all about conflict, and it just so happens we were running about a quart low.) According to AppleInsider, one of the two new eMacs that were introduced just days ago has already been put on hold; Apple has stopped shipping the upper-crust SuperDrive model and has instructed resellers who may have already received a few of them "not to begin selling units to customers." Do we smell a messy "issue" causing trouble in those new systems? Perhaps a flaw related to the new 8x SuperDrive? An infestation of aphids in the 80 GB hard drives? New medical research linking part numbers built around the numerical string "9461" with sudden hair loss and severe thigh acne?

Well, not just yet; AI claims that Apple internally reports there's "no confirmed problem," but clearly it has its suspicions if it's holding up the high-end eMac "just in case." Not that we'd ever object to a little extra testing; if Apple is just being cautious, hey, good for them; every time a highly-publicized quality issue hits the streets (staticky miniPods, PowerBook leprosy, splitting Cubes, etc.), it's just another crack in the foundation of Apple's credibility-- credibility that Apple desperately needs to maintain if it's ever going to persuade a broad swath of Wintel users to come tromping over to play on the Mac side of the playground.

But like we said, while we're all for Apple cracking down on its quality assurance practices before a glaring manufacturing or design flaw gives the rest of the world one more excuse not to consider buying a Mac, from a drama perspective, part of us fears for a future in which Apple never again ships a Mac with a monumentally flaky logic board or a software installer that deletes a hard drive or two. After all, there's only so much entertainment that can be wrung from perennially unupdated Power Macs and the AAC vs. WMA debate; sometimes a healthy dose of outright product flaw tragedy is just what the doctor ordered. So here's hoping that the QA folks don't get too alert on us, or things might get awfully quiet around here...

SceneLink (4640)
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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 4/16/04 episode:

April 16, 2004: IBM confirms that it's having yield problems at the plant churning out 90-nanometer G5s. Meanwhile, Apple will only commit to a European launch of the iTunes Music Store "this year," and one of those new eMacs has reportedly already been put on a "short-term quality hold"...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4638: Beats Projectile Vomiting (4/16/04)   What with everyone being all aglow with the overweening wonderfulosity that came spilling out of Apple's Q2 earnings results a couple of days ago, we figured we'd let people bask in it for a while before we dragged us all back down into the muck...

  • 4639: Some Lovely Parting Gifts (4/16/04)   It's time once again to play Guess That Launch! Yes, folks, it's the Mac community's favorite game of intrigue and limb-rending mayhem, as contestants from all over the world compete for fabulous prizes by guessing just when the heck Apple will finally manage to get various products and services out the door!...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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