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Editorial& maybe some News

Apple Breakthrough Leak,
or Apple Publicity Stunt?

June21, 2003

Due to a “claimed” Lollapalooza of a “goof” on the Apple Store web site last Thursday night, . . .

. . . the specs for the purported next generation of Mac desktop Power PC’s was posted for all to see for a few hours till Apple pulled the page.

Now, we have to tell you that sources tell us many believe Apple has been playing marketing and disinformation games lately with the media, the iTablet Mac rumor started the day before MWSF 2003 and the rumored planting of the Vivendi Music dealings just days before the launch of the Apple Music Store. Cleaver misdirecting hype tactic for lots of free publicity in the same industry, you have to admit if it's true.

So, you have to wonder how a product security strong-arm company as Apple is, allowed such details to be “accidentally posted” on their own web sites main store page??? We smell a marketing hype rat.

Oh yeah, on Friday Apple Corp listed a job opening for: "Title: Web Publishing Manager WWW Apple Store, Req. ID: 197843,
Location: Santa Clara Valley, California
Country: United States". My goodness, wasn't that conveniently quick??

Never-the-less, the specifications of this new series of Power Macs apparently revolve around the Server based 64-bit IBM 970 RISC processor, which Apple appears to be calling a G5.

Specifically, the screen shots we saw stated that there were to be three model of mini towers running clock speed of 1.6, 1.8 and a dual 2.0 GHz with a 1GHz processor bus and “up to” 8 GB of DDR SDRAM. There’s a conflict in those specs though, IBM is only stating a 900 MHz processor bus speed in their current literature.

Also stated on the “Oops” page was that the systems would include three USB 2.0 ports (an Intel technology), only one FireWire 800 port and two FireWire 400 ports (Apple’s technology). So Apple caved in on USB 2.0? We can already hear the Windoze crowd chiding Mac users worldwide! And we can also hear FireWire 800 product development screeching to a snails crawl!

Finally breaking into the 21st Century, Apple will also include an 8x AGP slot, Serial ATA Hard Disk Drives and three new PCI-X expansion slots along with, or instead of three standard PCI slots.

Not reported, but recent street scuttlebutt says that the new “G5” may also include the “HyperTransport” specification (a specification similar to Intel’s, which calls for a high-speed data link connecting two data channels within a single processor chip; i.e. it pretends to be two




processors). Apple is a member of the HyperTransport Consortium, which also includes Sun Micro, Cisco and AMD. Version 1.0 claims a data transfer rate based on the configuration of 6.4 up to 12.8 Gigabytes. Whoa, that’s night and day from days poky G4 Power PC’s!

This news was supposed to be released only at the Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which opens Monday June 23 with Jobs addressing developers and the press. Ooops!

Fly in the ointment, for legacy Mac owners . . . again. The little discussed issue with the use of the new 64-bit IBM 970 processor is that it offers no performance gain over current 32-bit Mac unless the OS and all the applications are 64-bit based (optimized). That means that Panther may well be 64-bit and it won’t be tailored to run on your current machines, which are 32-bit! Sound like a familiar trend for Apple? There are still a lot of pissed off owners of certain G3 Power PC’s, G3 PowerBooks and first generation iBooks that have been left out in the cold with OS X 10.1 and 10.2’s partial support. We hope that this won’t be the case, but we’re waiting for the Apple “spin”.

But remember, all those application producers that took so long to develop OS X applications are again going to have to do it all over again for a 64-bit OS and hardware. What to guess what Quark and Adobe will say ‘bout that for a niche market?

Apple has in the last few years acted in total disregard for legacy Mac owners, the very concrete base that Apple had learned to build on for unbiased allegiance, and ongoing sales. The unhappy owners are becoming quite vocal about being ignored and taken for granted.
Perhaps this is why the “Switch” campaign is so important and vital to Apple.

Apple is at a crucial crossroad now. Analysts like Rob Enderle at Forrester Research has said “It's a survival issue for them now” . . . . “They've crossed over into that place where customers are starting to question the platform'', in an interview with Mercury News.

Macintosh market share is at an all time low, at less than 3% according to a number of major market research firms. It may even be as low as 2.3% today. Apple stock has languished at around US$17 for more than six month, while others like Dell, HP and IBM have rebounded strongly in the same time period. Only recent publicity from the Vivendi stunt, the launch of the Apple Music Store and a new lower priced iPod, has helped Apple’s stock to budge upward a couple dollars.

According to Apple’s own reports, Power PC sales were down to US$1.38 Billion in 2002 from $2.75 Billion in 2000 fiscal year. Sales of the PPC which once contributed as much as 34 percent of Apple’s sales, now provided only 24 percent revenue, or minus $600 Million in 2002.

Lets hope that Apple pulls a Harry Potter and finds some honest magic, instead of just more some smoke and mirror illusions.

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