Next Year's News

As a service to our readers who have better things to do than to read the stupid news every day, we present the stupid highlights of next year's Macintosh news.

January 2002: Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld Expo 2002 on January 7 to show off the second-generation iMac. Attendees saw a computer of radiant beauty that made them weep with joy to have lived to experience the dazzling refulgence of its 15-inch flat screen in a pure mercury case one nanometer thick designed by the late Mies Van Der Rohe. They heard that 100,000 of them would be available immediately, with another 100,000 rolling off the production line every month throughout 2002. Critics raved. "I'd sacrifice my first-born son for one of those," one attendee told this reporter. "Seriously. I brought him along."

February 2002: In an e-mail to all registered Apple developers last week, Apple formally apologized for issuing Tech Note TN2034 last year. The note, derided by developers as soon as it appeared, offered questionable software design advice and repeatedly referred to the C++ programming language as "C+". "And we'd also like to apologize to C++'s creator," the e-mail went on, "Barney Stairstep."

March 2002: Longtime Jobs crony, Oracle CEO, and Apple board member Larry Ellison stepped down from the Apple board as well as from his Oracle responsibilities this month to accept the position of Attorney General with the Bush administration, replacing John Ashcroft, who is undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army Hospital for chronic rabies. Ellison's place on the Apple board will be taken by legendary inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.

April 2002: On April Fool's Day, Apple turned 26. Seriously, the company was founded on April Fool's Day. Well, maybe not seriously, but seriously or foolishly, it was. And the Apple One computer released that year was waggishly priced at $666, the Number of the Beast from Revelations. I don't like to complain, but it's hard to parody a company that was built on pranks. But hey, that's why I get the big bucks.

May 2002: New PowerBooks were revealed this month, sporting the same features and design as the old PowerBooks, with two exceptions. They are impossible to tip over, and they will do 15 miles an hour on level pavement.

June 2002: The human race was gripped with terror as an epidemic of people being replaced by emotionless clones of their former selves swept across the globe. The situation became truly intolerable when Kevin McCarthy started running through rush-hour traffic shouting, "You're next!" Total annihilation of the human race and replacement by alien clones spawned from space-borne spores was averted only when the last iPod was crushed to dust. ...or WAS IT?

July 2002: Distressed that QuickTime has failed to catch on in the white-hot music download market, Steve Jobs decided that the name was the problem, and polled his lieutenants for a new name for the ten-year-old media technology. Leading candidates: FastTime, QuickerTime, AmericaFirst, QuickMusicStealer, HarryPotter, iQuickTime, Hey Norm, and Microsoft Media Player. The (predictable) winner was iQuickTime, and under the new monicker the Apple technology quickly rocketed to dead last in the market.

August 2002: Since taking over Motorola's microprocessor division and changing the product numbering scheme, Apple has released the G5 and the G6 processors, skipped the G7 out of concern that its political implications might offend Apple's core constituency, briefly released a G8 before realizing that it sounded a little too much like Gates and withdrawing it, announced but never shipped a G9 (no reason given), and this month finally brought the processor numbering scheme in line with operating system version numbering scheme. Walter Mossberger of the Wall Street Journal lauded the move, saying, "Apple rules, dudes!"

September 2002: Mac OS X 10.2 was released, the first version of OS X to boot as the default operating system on all new Macintoshes. Some of those new Macintoshes also featured the blazingly fast G10 X.2 processor, rumored to crunch away at a speed in excess of a gigaHertz, although nobody knew anybody who had actually seen one of these speed demons.

October 2002: Quick stats. As of the first of the month, the Opera browser was available on 215 different platforms, including dial telephones, stone axes, and every version of BeOS. Coincidentally, there were also exactly 215 open source projects underway on SourceForge to clone HyperCard, each with exactly one developer.

November 2002: Macworld magazine announced the winners of the 2002 Eddy Awards. Apple Computer swept most of the product categories. As new Editor-in-chief Chris Breen put it, "If it weren't for Apple, we editors would all have to go out and get real jobs. I've been out there and, trust me, it's brutal. We owe Apple big time."

December 2002: Unable to forgive Microsoft for trying to steal the education market from Apple last year, Steve Jobs flew his private jet to Washington this month and presented Bill Gates with his personal check for $600 million—the current value of Microsoft's 1997 investment in Apple—in exchange for that stock certificate.

Michael Swaine is Editor-at-Large for Dr. Dobb's Journal. He can be contacted at mike@swaine.com.


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