Friday, May 30, 2003

Just plain disturbing...

First discovered by the folks at As the Apple Turns (by the way, congrats on the Jeopardy win, Katie!), it appears IBM is posting what can only be described as pseudo-erotic pictures of the PowerPC 970 at their website.

There are four of them, and here are the links, with their disturbing titles (be careful opening the links, I experienced a total processor slowdown while the pages loaded).

- Pervasive : #90 IBM 64-bit PowerPC 970 microprocessor chip with feathers.
- Pervasive : #91 IBM 64-bit PowerPC 970 microprocessor chip with feathers.
- Pervasive : #92 IBM 64-bit PowerPC 970 microprocessor chip in the eye of a peacock feather.
- Pervasive : #93 IBM 64-bit PowerPC 970 microprocessor chip in the eye of a peacock feather.

Honestly, the words disturbing, confusing, frightening, and feather don't even begin to describe whatever the hell these are. The only thing that could possibly make these stranger would be Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" playing in the background (well that or "Cheeseburger in Paradise").

What's even weirder (yes, even weirder) is that these pics are in IBM's Photo Catalog. Apparently we've found this catalog's centerfold.

An added fiber diet?

The French strike again! Er, on second thought, maybe I should explain first.

MacBidouille's freakishly constant PowerPC 970 rumor dispensing continues, today addressing two of the Mystery Ports mentioned in one of their recent articles (See "Oooohh... 'Mystery Ports'..." from 5/29, below).

What fills this pesky pair of ports? Would you believe high-bandwidth FibreChannel ports? These are the super-high-speed connections used to keep the Xserve RAID up and running. Not even the regular Xserve has standard FibreChannel ports, thus raising the question: "What the hell?"

Now one thing should be made very clear: MacBidouille never said this was a Powermac motherboard that we're dealing with. They just said it was PowerPC 970. Some people are now speculating that this could be an Xserve or theoretical "Xstation" workstation motherboard. Some have even suggested that this could be a return of desktop servers, al la the pre-Jobsian era (also known as the Dark Ages).

I haven't seen nearly enough information - rumor or otherwise - to make me think Apple's developing a workstation, and I don't think we're looking at one here. And I definitely don't think we're looking at desktop servers. I'd guess that either this is a revamped Xserve 970 motherboard, or that MacBidouille is completely off its rocker.

Who knows, maybe someone spiked the wine...

Apple going organic?

Think Secret is reporting that Apple is researching Organic Light Emitting Diode technology for use in the next incarnation of the iPod.

OLEDs are preferable to LCDs because they're cheaper, lighter, don't require as much power, and don't require a backlight. Think Secret claims that Apple will first use OLEDs in mysterious iPods coming in early 2004. These new iPods are apparently very different compared to current iPods. Down the road, Apple may use OLED screens in Powerbooks and displays, although not any time soon.

Of course, this report raises a whole set of new questions about the reported 2004 iPods. Think Secret addresses this by just claiming that they'll have a full report on the future iPods at a later date.

Steve's next goal: The soy-based iMac.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Three million and counting...

It appears the iTunes Music Store is still a runaway success among the Mac users who can use it (in the US, running 10.2, and a broadband connection doesn't hurt). It appears that in one month Apple has had 3,000,000 downloads... from about 1 percent of the computing market.

It looks like the iTMS really is Groovy.

Oooohh... "Mystery Ports"...

Does it seem like just about every single Powermac 970 rumor is coming from the French folks at MacBidouille these days? Well, they're at it again.

Today, MacBidouille is reporting on PowerPC 970 motherboards (which is a subject MacWhispers has brought up before, but not recently), giving the following specs.
- Firewire 800 (two ports)
- Firewire 400 (one port)
- USB (three ports)
- Audio connectors (three)
- and five unidentified ports (grouped in three and two)

That's right, Mystery Ports. Now that sounds like fun! Of course, there are a few things missing from MacBidouille's description. They're trivial things like Ethernet and a Power connector. Sure, they could be the "Mystery Ports," but that means there are two power cords and three ethernet ports. And, more importantly, wouldn't you be able to recognize an ethernet jack?

Obviously, there some questions raised by MacBidouille's report. But the overall question really comes down to is MacBidouille making up these 970 reports, or do they have one hell of a well placed source (or sources)? For now, it seems that only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

It's like the old Rhapsody, only the same!

Alright, maybe RealONE Rhapsody (there's a mouthful for you), coincidentally launched today, is a bit different than the original Rhapsody, but one thing hasn't changed: that lousy "monthly fee" thing.

Sure, RealONE Rhapsody has a head start on the PC market versus iTMS, but the new Rhapsody is quite reminiscent of old Rhapsody (and I don't mean in a good way). The quote-unquote "new service" sports 79 cent downloads for burning a CD. Once. Here's the "fun" way Real describes it:

Can I download music to my computer?
No. RHAPSODY is an on-demand streaming service. This means you don?t have to wait for downloads to listen to CD-quality music. Once you?ve used it for a while, you may never want to download a music file again. If you want to take your music with you, we offer CD burning for an additional fee per track, when you are subscribed to the All Access subscription plan at $9.95 per month.
If you?re looking for portability beyond the CD player, stay tuned, because we are working on bringing RHAPSODY to wireless and net-attached consumer electronic devices in the near future.
Apparently the folks at Real have never heard of MP3 Players, or Jukebox software. Man, this whole thing just gives a bad name to "Creative Marketing."

But let's play devil's advocate for a moment (to the best of my extremely opinionated ability):
Let's say you, Mr. or Mrs. PC User (it's a scary idea, I know), finds Rhapsody's CD burning system perfect for some reason (I know, it's far-fetched). In order to make Rhapsody a better value than iTMS, you'll have to burn over 50 tracks onto CD (I know, you might as well just use Limewire).

Of course, I wouldn't want sell Rhapsody short here, so I'll mention that for your $9.95 monthly fee, you get to listen to unlimited streaming "CD Quality" tracks (oh joy...). And what's more frightening is the fact that "CD Quality" is the best clue as to the file type Real's using.

The bottom line here: Kick back and enjoy some 30-second previews at the iTMS, Rhapsody isn't worth worrying about.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Apple Legal Strikes!

Quick! Get the kids into the basement! Lock the doors! Close the windows! Apple Legal is on the loose!
All right, maybe their latest attack isn't that dramatic, but Apple's infamous legal department is out on the prowl, striking down a Think Secret article on wireless phone support in iSync.

Oh, and it gets stranger, too. Not just has Apple shot down a seemingly harmless iSync rumor, but they did it by seriously threatening Think Secret. And that's not quite strange enough. The article in question is over a week old.

While being quite a crazy situation, it's worthwhile to point out that iSync hasn't seen a major update since version 1.0 was released. Apple may be in line to release 1.1 - with or without this rumored wireless phone support - soon. One other possibility to consider is that this is more of a preemptive strike, designed to prevent another rumor from coming out.

No matter what the case, one question comes to mind: "Why all the fighting over iSync? Come on! It's just iSync!

The 411 on 970s at 6/23?

According to French rumor site MacBidouille, the very first PowerPC 970 Macs have been completed and are ready and waiting to ship to eager resellers.

This offers further (not that it's particularly needed) support towards a 970 announcement on June 23, as the feature of the WWDC Keynote speech. Well, is there any way this be a more obvious conclusion? Yes, apparently there is. Also according to MacBidouille, all of the boxes feature a seal warning people not to open the boxes until June 23.

The real news here (assuming MacBidouille is right) is that Apple may actually have 970 machines available on the day of, or in the days immediately following, the WWDC Keynote.

It's gonna be a 64-bit summer...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Memorial Day fever...

The t-shirt selling Mac webstore, MacSurfshop is holding a massive everything-must-go sale this long weekend. All shirts are priced $2.95 to $8.95, including the newest and most popular designs. After the sale the site will be closing down temporarily, taking some of the current designs away for good.

Sure, this has nothing to do with rumors. And yes, I probably should be posting about new Pro Speakers or a special DJ Edition iPod. But I just bought two t-shirts for like $15, and that's at least mildly interesting to me.