Saturday, May 10, 2003

You might need a telescope...

As promised, the "Rumor Watch" has been updated. The iPod software rumor has been altered to reflect the fact that it won't be version 2.0 and may just be 1.3 for Windows (truth be told, we'll just have to wait and see). Whatever the update is, it's on its way as soon as this week.

The two new rumors have been added, but they're both over a month away (hence the telescope). They refer to the PowerPC 970 release at the WWDC Stevenote on June 23. I think there's sufficient evidence not just to suggest there'll be Powermac announcements, but also Powerbook ones.

iBook (see "Long live the G3?" below) and Mini-Tablet/DLD rumors are just too vague and speculative to put on the "Rumor Watch" right now.

Ah, site news and speculation all in one.

Long live the G3?

Mac Rumors has compiled a very comprehensive look at one of the more silent rumor topics as of the past few weeks. That topic: processors, processors, processors!

With the level of "sure-thingedness" surrounding Apple's coming adoption of the PowerPC 970, many processor rumors have gone overlooked. While Mac Rumors admits that this comprehensive look has a lot of unconfirmed speculation in it, it's interesting nonetheless.

The most relevant information surrounds the G3 "GOBI" chip, supposedly being made by the good folks at IBM. Think Secret first reported on the GOBI back in December, claiming it would make it's way into future iBook releases. The GOBI, while still only G3, would break the gigahertz barrier, and some of Mac Rumors unconfirmed info suggests speeds of up to 1.4 or possibly 2.0 GHz.

Also of interest is a bit of a name game. The GOBI may have received the codename Mojave. Although other rumors suggest that the two are similar, but different, processors.

As for GOBI specs, rumors range in ideas. Some earlier and slightly less speculative talk suggests that it may just be a faster G3. More recent unverified rumors call for a derivative G3 with Altivec, pushing clock speeds up to 2 GHz, due this summer. Other rumors push the notion that the GOBI and Mojave are different processors, claiming the GOBI to arrive this fall at 1.4 GHz and the Mojave to appear late in the year, sporting Altivec at 1.5 GHz.

But why all this confusion over the G3 of all processors? Many people are quite insistent that Apple will end the old processor, which only appears in iBooks right now. There's a problem with such a theory, though.

The G4, while a good processor, is slightly problematic in portables. It consumes more power and tends to get hotter than the G3. On top of that, the G4 is starting to reach it's maximum speed (I mean, would you really make something 1.42 GHz if you could go for 1.45 or 1.5?). If Apple wants a faster portable processor, they may have to make a new one.

Here's a scenario to consider. This summer (at WWDC) Apple announces a PowerPC 970 Powermac and Powerbook (I'm going to ignore the Xserve). The whole Pro line goes 970. Now only the iMac and eMac are G4, and the iBook is G3. For the next step (at MWNY) Apple announces a 970 iMac (as always, the eMac will intentionally lag behind, and I'm not going to give it much attention). A little while later (definitely after Powerbook 970s ship) Apple announces a GOBI (or Mojave or whatever) iBook and labels it as a new processor. The G3 is gone, but not really.

Sure, that's just a scenario that I took five minutes to write. It's one that I'm sure would bother those who are quite insistent when they claim that Apple won't put the 970 in the Powerbook right away (listen, I'm really sorry you spent that $3300 on the 17" Powerbook, but a simultaneous Powermac/Powerbook announcement makes a whole lot of sense). But it at least can give you an idea (if you didn't already have one) of why this whole "GOBI" and "Mojave" G3 stuff is so freakin' important.

Or maybe Apple will just put a 970 in the iBook (I'm kidding, of course)...

Links ahoy!

While I've fallen a bit behind with regular posts, I've reorganized the ever exciting "MacUnderground's Left Column!" Exciting, indeed.

The "Rumor Watch" is still at the top (and it's due for some new rumors this weekend) and the obligatory endless list of weekly archives is still at the bottom (and still getting freakishly long).

So what's changed? Why, the middle has changed! The old "Recommended" section for links has been split in two.

On top is the "Rumor Picks" section for excellent rumor sites (in this case it's Mac Rumors and Think Secret, who had the most accurate predictions back at MWSF03).

Below "Rumor Picks" is the new section for my favorite and slightly offbeat links. I'm calling it "Fav Links" (for now at least), and it currently features my absolutely favorite Mac site, As the Apple Turns, and my "offbeat" choice, Snappleton (yes, as in the beverage Snapple).

I told you it was just so exciting.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Jobsian confirmation...

Apple has officially announced that Mr. Steve Jobs himself will be delivering the World Wide Developer's Conference keynote on June 23. Apple is expected to announce PowerPC 970 equipped Macs at the keynote.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Instant gratification...

As of now, I've contributed a whole $1.98 to Apple via the iTunes Music Store. Setting up took only a few minutes, and the downloads are super fast (over a DSL connection, mind you). The songs sound great and the overall experience is enjoyable and quite addictive.

This could be a major new profit center for Apple. Right now only Mac users living in the United States can download songs. By the end of year international Mac users and even our misguided pee-cee friends will be able to purchase songs, too.

One word sums it up: Groovy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Neener, neener, neener!

Per usual, Merrill Lynch issued Apple stock a "sell" rating today, despite an 11 percent gain yesterday. Seriously, these guys hate Apple.

Well, shucks to them, because Apple stock (AAPL) jumped another 8 percent today. That's $1.41 gain per share, raising the price to $17.50 each.

Maybe Merrill Lynch should try doing some math here...

They're slightly different!

Along with today's new eMacs, Apple quietly debuted a new Pro Mouse and Pro Keyboard. Exciting, isn't it?

The keyboard is more "solid" (where's a thesaurus when you need one?) than the previous one. And the mouse just looks a little different, with a black line or two.

Here (hopefully) are some pics.

The "e" stands for... something...

Long predicted, but not really long awaited (sorry, but it's a freakishly ugly machine), eMac updates have finally arrived. Oh joy. It's quite depressing when you can get a machine better than your own for $600 less than you paid for your less-than-a-year-old machine (it's a risk we all take).

That's right. These babies are dirt cheap. Oh course I've never seen a baby weighing in a 50 pounds, but that's besides the point. With three models, and a BTO option, ranging from $799 to $1,299, these things are priced to sell.

Clock speeds reach 1 GHz in the top two (and BTO) models, and the Superdrive now burns discs at a staggering (you may want to sit down, this is a shocker) 4x speed. Whoa. Sarcasm aside, AirPort Extreme replaces the old 802.11b wireless, and we'll all just assume there's no catastrophic problem with the flat CRTs.

Sarcasm actually aside, this suggests that the iBook may be closer to another revision than currently thought. My guess (hell, you could call it a prediction) is that Apple's got a major iBook update on the way (including a welcome redesign), but such an update would hurt Powerbook sales if released now. Why is this suggested? The iBook (along with the 15" Powerbook) still sports 802.11b AirPort, and Apple seems determined to switch to the new wireless standard ASAP.

Sure, it's depressing how cheap the new eMacs are, but I can always take comfort in the fact that my iMac isn't nearly as ugly.

This spring's fashion statement: Black

At least today it is. Apple has release Mac OS X 10.2.6, also known as "Jaguar Black." Per usual, you can nab it using software update.

Of course, I'm still running 10.2.4.

Monday, May 05, 2003

No need to adjust your LCD...

I'm messing with MacUnderground's HTML, and will continue to do so for the rest of the week. Bare with me on this.

I see no recession...

At least none for Apple. The company's stock grabbed an extra $1.64 per share, pulling the price up 11 percent. A single share will now cost you $16.09 (man, that's like 16 songs from iTunes!), its highest price in six months.

Why the fabulous jump? Apple has announced that the iTunes Music Store (aka iTMS) sold over (say it with me, in your best Dr. Evil voice) "One Million Songs!" And I haven't even bought anything yet!