June Just Keeps On Giving (6/21/04)

Holy feral cats, remember when we said that June was being good to us this year, plotwise? Well, we didn't know the half of it! First Apple sprang AirPort Express and AirTunes on all of us, then it finally released those speed-bumped Power Macs we'd been waiting for since the Cleveland administration, then came the long-awaited European dialect of the iTunes Music Store-- at a Steve-hosted London media event, no less. That's enough Apple-flavored drama-ade to quench even the most demanding thirst. Could we possibly have hoped for more?

Well, whether you asked for it or not, brace yourself, because here it comes: faithful viewer B-Rad notes that Apple has gone public with the details of the previously hinted (and then leaked) iPod Your BMW deal, which is plastered all across Apple's home page like some sort of very stylish rash. We've only glanced over the specs, since we have about as much chance of getting a BMW anytime in the next decade or two as we do of spontaneously sprouting antlers and sprigs of parsley from any of a number of unlikely body parts, but it seems like a pretty decent set-up. Apparently when your car is all tricked out, you get a cable dangling from your glovebox (and we all know how uncomfortable that can be). You plug in your iPod, stow it out of sight, and whammo-- you can control your 'Pod with the steering wheel buttons that have previously been reserved for the 5-disc CD changer.

How, you ask? Well, it's actually pretty clever: you can create "up to five BMW playlists" in iTunes and slap 'em on your iPod, and those playlists are accessed as if they were the 5 discs in your changer. Nifty! Granted, it's not total control, but that would require, say, displaying the iPod screen output on a dashboard display and mapping the steering wheel itself to the scrollwheel-- and we figure that neither Apple nor BMW much liked the idea of their customers spinning themselves into doughnuts at 55 MPH every time they wanted to switch to a Sammy Hagar song while driving along the highway. Given the limitations inherent in the standard CD controls on your average luxury-car steering wheel, we think it sounds like a pretty decent solution. Oh, and by the way-- in addition to the previously reported BMW3, X3, and Z4 models, X5s are also supported-- as are MINI Coopers.

But wait, there's more! Just to stuff June full to bursting, today Apple also announced Apple Remote Desktop 2, the sequel to its screen-sharing and remote Mac management software. ARD2-- wasn't that a droid in one of the Star Wars movies?-- now reportedly boasts "dramatic improvements in screen sharing performance" and "more than 50 new features" to make lab managers and IT professionals sit up and take notice. Okay, so maybe it's a little less mass-appeal than the BMW announcement, but it's still a new product. (You can always tell the second-tier product intros by scoping out the media-friendly "we rule" quote in the press releases-- the heavy hitters get a bona fide Steve Jobs soundbite, while the second-stringers get a Phil Schiller. Nothing against Phil, of course.)

The seriously crazy thing about all these June announcements so far is that we still have the Worldwide Developers Conference to look forward to, with its first public glimpse of Tiger and whatever other knowledge Uncle Steve sees fit to bestow upon his drooling acolytes-- and you just know that that's gonna be a rockin' good time. Really, the only drawback to all this great June material is that, more likely than not, July is going to be bone-dry. After all, it's not like Apple's going to introduce any new stuff at Macworld Expo, right? So get into Camel Mode and suck up the drama while it's here, folks, because we foresee a long, dry trek across the desert next month.

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The above scene was taken from the 6/21/04 episode:

June 21, 2004: Apple keeps up its breakneck product release pace, introducing iPod-on-BMW and Apple Remote Desktop 2. Meanwhile, the Mac-based third-fastest supercomputer vanishes completely from the latest rankings, and Apple fails to secure trademark protection to use its logo on clothing, hats, and shoes in China...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4770: From 3 To ∞ In 7 Months (6/21/04)   So does everyone remember that oh-so-glorious moment in the sun last year when Virginia Tech showed the world just how much kiester a few hundred Macs could kick, and for how little money? Last November the school's "Big Mac" project (officially dubbed "System X") plowed its way headlong into the deep water of the supercomputing pool, where the big boys play: for roughly $5 million and after a mere few months' worth of work, Virginia Tech's 1,100-Mac cluster officially ranked as the third fastest supercomputer on the planet, beating out dozens of systems that had cost ten times as much and taken five times as long to staple together...

  • 4771: It's Just Gotta Be The Shoes (6/21/04)   Oh, for the glory days of Apple court theatrics! Whether it was a winner-takes-all billion-dollar tussle over ColorSync patents, a lawsuit against an unknown defendant, or a guest appearance on another hit show like "Redmond Justice," there was always some rib-stickin' entertainment simmering on Apple's legal stove...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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