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ATPM 11.01
January 2005



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by Wes Meltzer,

Rumors, Rumors Everywhere

Would you believe that Apple owns the domain and that it points to Apple’s main Web site,

This, in combination with the rumor—via a Motorola employee who happened to sit next to a Mac consultant on an airplane and long-standing news insisting our favorite fruity manufacturer is buying up flash RAM by the truckload—that Apple is releasing a phone in conjunction with Motorola, must mean that the rumor is true!

In fact, you should be very, very excited about this, because the iPhone will even have Bluetooth and be a “proper ‘accessory’ to [your] iPod”. Who knows, it might be a slider iPod mini phone! We used to think it was just gonna be mobile iTunes, but now, well, we’re getting what we’ve always wished for!

Remember to save up your spare change from now ’til Macworld San Francisco, because we’re breaking the bank when the iPhone comes out, mama!

Or maybe this all points to a coming flashPod, and that’s why Apple is buying flash RAM! Will it look like a Milano cookie? Will it be a cute little square? Will it have a screen at all? And it’s gonna be only $99!

Goodness! It’s so overwhelming we’re getting all verklempt here!

Or, well, you could take my advice and be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true. (What would I have to write about if everyone were skeptical? That’s supposed to be my job!)

I hate to be the wet blanket. But this all sounds much too good to be true. Every time even the tiniest little chink in Apple’s high-tech armor appears, the blogosphere goes wild like a bunch of Northern frat boys around a topless girl in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. When even John Gruber is forced to admit that it’s possible something is coming…well, I think just little ol’ me remains to stand in the way.

First things first. Apple has owned the iPhone domain since 1999. And it hasn’t come out yet. Who’s to say it will be forthcoming?

Let me step back from that assertion momentarily. Perhaps there is an iPhone coming. Apple has announced a partnership to produce an iTunes-capable cellphone with Motorola. I am not arguing with fact. I don’t think this is the iPhone.

I will publicly (and gladly) rescind these remarks if I’m wrong, but my bet instead is on a mid-range co-branded Motorola-Apple GSM phone with flash RAM in it that can synchronize with selected iTunes playlists from your computer. It could use Bluetooth or, more likely, a wire to sync. Three things I’m betting against: a CDMA version, unless Verizon shells out big time; proper functionality for American users, since cell vendors here cripple all the cool stuff; and more than 256 MB RAM. (And if that weren’t bad enough, you’re still listening to music on your cell phone, which, like listening to the radio on my dad’s old Nokia 6590, is pretty miserable even with headphones.)

No, I don’t think this is what you expect at all.

The Other Rumor in the Room

For you real conspiracy theorists, the iPhone and flashPod are already old hat. No, the real rumor has to be the imminent purchase of Apple by another company—maybe it’s Sony, maybe it’s Disney, or maybe it’s Sun.

Well, as soon as The New York Times got wind that IBM is selling its PC business to China’s major PC maker, Lenovo, the rumor mill started churning again. It must mean IBM is going to buy Apple!

Wait! There’s a catch.

I don’t think I’ve ever applauded CNET’s coverage of the Mac world, but it says that IBM’s contract with Lenovo explicitly prohibits IBM from making or selling PCs anytime in the next five years.

Sorry, guys. Another rumor gone. Well, just keep moving along. Sony is bound to buy Apple any century now.

A Whole Lotta…Everything Else

  • If you need more iPod loving, well, I’m your man! First up, have you seen the homemade iPod mini ad that’s been floating around? If not, give it a watch—it will make your mind explode that this guy made it at home. Next, take a look at the hilarious so-called new signature iPods and be prepared to be offended and horrified, so think of this as Not Safe For Work. After that, enjoy a quick comparison from Dave Shea on the quality premium and the iPod, which is, as with everything he touches, beautifully done. And lastly, get a good laugh out of Robert Scoble’s open letter to Bill Gates on how to beat the iPod, in which he demonstrates that he doesn’t understand the iPod’s success at all.

  • Did you know that your iPod is like a Camry? Andrew Kantor of USA Today says so: “[T]he iPod has something more than 85% market share. That’s incredible—that’s like finding that 85% of people in the country drive Toyota Camrys. It just doesn’t make sense.” Uhh? Engadget disagrees, too.

  • Apparently the U.K. and the EU intend to sue Apple for iTMS antitrust violations, regarding charging British customers 79p, 11p more than Euro-zone consumers pay. Hat tip goes to AtAT, who are always on top of this kind of thing.

  • For those of us still interested in the Browser Wars, Rematch II, Pennsylvania State University recently told its users to get rid of Internet Explorer and switch to, well, anything else. Opera? Safari? Firefox? You got it. Anything else. Too much of a security disaster. I wonder if this also pertains to the now-defunct Mac IE? On a side note, maybe you’d like to be the one who produces the better mouse tra—er, Web browser? Read up from one of IE’s designers (or should we trust him?).

  • Bruce Tognazzini (alias Tog) remains a critic of OS X, as I’ve said before, but seems to have expanded to computers generally. He has a list of the 10 most persistent design bugs, and they seem to be, well, mostly anti-programmer to me. But he throws in, gratuitously, the Dock, because, well, it wouldn’t be a Tog article if it didn’t criticize OS X.

  • A quick final punch: Kirk McPike says that while Windows users may need 14 steps for security, he needs only one, his Macintosh. He adds, “There’s no step 2.”

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