The Rumor Mill

Jobs to Shock Expo Attendees

- 2002.07.16

Rumors rumors everywhere, but no consensus at all.

Either Apple has plugged the rumor leaks at the mothership or the range of products to be announced at the Stevenote is so vast that all the rumors are true.

Or there are no new products, because Apple is quitting the business.

Looking at the way Apple execs have been dumping stock over the past months - prior to the recent drop of AAPL prices into the trash bin - it almost wouldn't surprise me to see Apple throw in the towel and exit the hardware business.

Yeah, right, the same day Steve Jobs stops wearing jeans and a black turtleneck.

Fact is, Apple is nearly out of the hardware manufacturing business already. They contract with others to build the iMac, iBook, and PowerBook - probably the eMac and iPod as well. I suspect they may still build Power Macs and the Xserve in Apple factories, but that's about it for hardware.

Of course, Apple is far from unique. A lot of computer companies design their own hardware and have someone else build it for them. Some even cut corners by simply licensing designs created by the companies that OEM the hardware.

Unlike so many companies on the dark side of the industry, Apple isn't about building boxes. Apple is a solutions company. They don't depend on someone else (read: Microsoft) create their operating system or the clever software that sets the Mac apart (from the Mac OS to iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, AppleWorks, etc.).

Nor does Apple use a commodity CPU and have the choice of Intel, AMD, and a few smaller suppliers. Apple is part of the consortium that owns the PowerPC design, although Motorola and IBM are famous for wanting to move in different directions. There will be a G5 - some day - it's just a question of Apple picking the IBM way or the Motorola way.

Nothing shocking there. And although Motorola seems to have gone out of their way to stop Murphy's Law in it's tracks - er, make that Moore's Law - all PowerPC designs offer more raw performance per MHz than any PC standard CPU, and we're making real progress on the clock speed front.

Don't take it as gospel, but we may see a dual CPU Power Mac break the 1 GHz barrier at the Expo - if only so it will still outperform the PowerBook G4, which in the only real consensus on the rumor front appears headed for 1 GHz this week.

Or maybe not. Apple certainly fooled us enough times with the flat panel iMac, then announced a 17" iMac (the eMac) when nobody expected it any longer (or cared?).

So how could Steve come up with his trademarked "one more thing" and really get our interest? What could Jobs do to really get our attention at the keynote?

  • Announce that honest to God there really is a G5 CPU (or will be Real Soon Now™) that will run at the kind of clock speeds Wintellians respect - and Apple's going to use is by the end of September.
  • Show two- and four-processor Power Mac G4 models running at 1.4-1.5 GHz and holding the fastest dual processor AMD Athlon and dual processor Intel Pentium 4 machines hostage.
  • Release the George Foreman PowerBook G4 Dual with a pair of G4 CPUs in the lid, which is designed as a heat sink not completely unlike the surface of the George Foreman Grilling Machine.
  • Turn the clock backward and release a desktop computer, say something about the size of the old Performa 630 that would work with an external monitor, not cost nearly as much as the G4 minitowers, and create one more market for Apple's attractive LCD monitors.
  • Demo a sub-iBook that's just like today's iBook with two little changes: no internal CD-ROM and one PC Card slot. Just one inch thick. And only $999 out the door - CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, Combo, or SuperDrive strictly optional. (And the same FireWire drives would also work with current iBooks, PowerBooks, iMacs, eMacs, and Power Macs.)
  • Steal ATI's or Nvidia's thunder by inadvertently announcing a new Mac with their still unannounced video circuitry. Oops.
  • Announce that Apple has purchased the beleaguered Gateway, is porting OS X to "industry standard" hardware, and will be releasing Gateway X machines by the end of summer.
  • Introduce Tony Stark, who will explain why the Iron Man armor has been running the Mac OS all these years.
  • Announcing a strategic partnership with AOL Time Warner that makes Mozilla the default browser with OS X installations, helping the Microsoft of ISPs grow even larger.
  • Demo Office v. X while stating that Apple has just acquired the entire Mac business unit from Microsoft to assure that Microsoft can never pull the plug on this crucial software, boot profits (hey, it's a $500 package!), and eliminate all the bugs and spyware that has crept into Office. The purchase will be funded by the sale of Jobs' private jet on eBay.
  • ClarisWorks begat AppleWorks which now begets iWorks, the latest "i" program in Apple's software collection. iWorks 7.0 adds the HTML power of Claris Home Page to the best integrated app on the planet, providing both Web design capabilities and vastly improved HTML export from iWorks word processing, spreadsheet, and database documents. It'll also link to your iTools, er, .Mac pages with ease. This is the last version to support the classic Mac OS. iWorks X will ship sometime in 2003 and leave classic behind.
  • Dress in a black suit with a white shirt and dark sunglasses. Agent S. And he could us a flashy thing to make us all forget it and suggest that we've just seen the most amazing product rollout of all time - if only we could remember what it was.
  • Announce the sale of Apple to Sony, Disney, or Microsoft.

Tune in tomorrow via QuickTime to catch the Stevenote live if you can (9:00 a.m. EDT), or delayed if you have to. Just be sure to put on your peril resistant sunglasses before Jobs pushes the button on the neuralizer.

- Anne Onymus

Dan, do you think this is enough to keep me from getting a press pass for the next Expo?

Yes, Anne. But even if you tried, there's still the matter of a photo ID.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Today's Links

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link