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ATPM 6.02
February 2000



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Segments: Slices From the Macintosh Life

by Christopher Turner,

Why Jason Needs a Pismo

Like many Macintosh users, I was anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new PowerBook, code-named “Pismo,” at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

And like most Macintosh users, the reason I was anxiously awaiting the announcement of the Pismo PowerBook was because various online sources, including Mac OS Rumors and AppleInsider, had been telling us for months that Pismo was coming, and Macworld Expo in San Francisco was its coming-out party.

No one, however, doted on the Pismo release at Macworld SF more than Jason O’Grady. So I waited, with a smirk, to see what Jason had to say after the product was not announced.

His answer came in his latest The O’Grady Files column on January 7th. In it, he offers many thoughts on why Pismo was not announced, yet he never offers the one thought he should have as a dedicated journalist—he was wrong.

Not to single out Jason O’Grady, but he has a history. Just as he tries to pass off the fact that it was all Apple’s fault that the Lombard PowerBook and/or iBook were not announced at last year’s Macworld SF, he does so again this year with Pismo.

Lest readers of O’, Mac OS Rumors, and AppleInsider forget, it was Jason, Ryan Meader, and the AppleInsider guys who built the anticipation for the PowerBook and iBook then, and they did the same thing again this year. Rodney O’Lain stated in one of his recent columns that he spoke with a gentleman from the U.K. at Macworld Expo, who had come to the Expo with cash in hand just to purchase a Pismo PowerBook. I wonder where this gentleman got his information from?

Jason, here’s a clue: Apple is not in the habit of announcing a new hardware product at every Macworld Expo. That has not been the case since the first one was held, and that will continue to be the case until the last one, hopefully decades and centuries from now. The habit here is in your expecting there to be one. Yes, Apple often does, in fact, choose Macworld Expo to announce new hardware products, for all of the reasons you list in your above-mentioned column.

But just because it can doesn’t mean it will. And Macintosh users shouldn’t expect it to.

Apple has its reasons for why the Pismo PowerBook was not announced. I’m sure it was not because “they had too much on their plate,” as Jason theorized. My guess is that his second theory is more correct, that Pismo is not quite ready for primetime, and Jobs and Company don’t want to pre-announce another almost-ready product.

So why is it that I choose to jump on Jason O’Grady, Ryan Meader, and AppleInsider? Because they hurt Apple. PowerBook sales have been in the toilet ever since the first Pismo rumors began floating around back in October. What should have been a strong retail season for all Macintosh products was not; laptop Mac users were waiting for Pismo.

The current Lombard PowerBooks had been selling exceptionally well since their release, and there was no reason for that not to continue. As someone who has set up, configured, and supported eight of these machines, I can tell you that they are fabulous pieces of hardware. And yes, there will always be a faster, more-bang-for-the-buck machine on the horizon.

Interestingly enough, the Lombard PowerBook release was held up last year, just as Pismo is this year. One of the reasons for the Lombard’s “lateness” was because Jason O’Grady and the other rumor-mongers had built up the anticipation for Lombard so much, there was too large a supply of the previous PowerBook G3s still in the channel, and Apple needed to clear those out.

Macintosh users need to base their purchase needs on whether a current system will suit their needs now, or whether they can afford to wait. I’m betting that quite a few folks out there would be plenty satisfied with a Lombard, but opted to wait for Pismo based on information they received from rumor sites. Now they’re left in the cold, and their purchase decision is that much harder, since now everyone is guessing when Pismo really will be announced.

I’m sure Jason O’Grady and the others are already in contact with their “sources” regarding this as well, because they need Pismo to be announced to justify their rumor-mongering.

What strikes me as humorous is that Pismo will be no revolutionary step for PowerBooks, as many of my online journalist colleagues have stated. There will be no G4 in Pismo, no radical departures in the PowerBook plastics, no earth-shattering new technology that has never been seen before.

Pismo is an evolutionary release—think Lombard, with a faster processor, FireWire instead of SCSI, and AirPort connectivity. That’s about it. Oh, you’ll likely get much better power management for extended battery life as well. To be honest, Pismo really sounds pretty boring if you’re a Lombard user. Unless AirPort is a necessity, which I’m guessing it is not for practically everyone at this stage, stick with that Lombard. The only Mac users out there who would really need a Pismo over a Lombard PowerBook would be those video professionals working with digital video that could use Pismo’s FireWire ports to maximum effectiveness, a small minority among PowerBook users to be sure. I guarantee you that outside of the Macintosh community, Pismo will receive very little media attention, unlike the iMac and iBook.

Jason, Ryan, AppleInsider: be real men. You owe your readers apologies, not just excuses. You should be ashamed of being self-serving Macintosh “journalists” who place their own interests above those of Apple’s customers and shareholders.

Apple Computer has given no indication whatsoever that a new hardware product was to be announced at Macworld Expo. This rumor came completely from you and your “sources.” I realize you need to generate hits to your Web pages as often as possible to satisfy your advertisers, but do your readers a favor and turn to real journalism, as my pal Rodney O’Lain has stated.

Then you would be doing the Macintosh community a real service.

Copyright © 2000 Christopher Turner, Send your Segments submissions to

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