Aperture is becoming The Matrix

Earlier this week, Apple released Aperture 1.5, an incremental update whose new features make the photography program more flexible and appealing a wider audience. Now, with the release of (count 'em) 7 software updates, Apple's iLife and iWork suites are now fully integrated with Aperture as well.

Weighing in together at over 130 MB, iWeb 1.1.2, iPhoto 6.0.5, iMovie HD 6.0.3, iDVD 6.0.3, GarageBand 3.0.4, Pages 2.0.2, and Keynote 3.0.2, holy frigging crap, now provide direct access to your Aperture library's moist, chewy goodness. We were racking our brains about what GarageBand has do to with pro photography until our buddy Pyondor called and was like "dude, interactive podcasts" so we had to hurt him.

Isn't it, like, super-creepy though? Granted all the iApps are tightly integrated anyway, but they were more like members of one of those little communes where the friendly hippies innocuously hang around doing yoga all day. Now Aperture 1.5 swaggers in with its $299 price tag and its swanky-ass black box and starts bossing 'em all around.

Sure, you could argue that pictures drive Apple's whole user experience. True, a Mac without pictures would be like a Zune without Microsoft's DRM...oh wait...never mind. Still, we feel like we have reason to single Aperture out for the creepy factor. It's not like DVD Studio Pro is cozying up to iWeb or anything. Integration with seven iApps. It's like Apple wants Aperture to take over from Mac OS X and control all of your programs. What's next, Chess?!

Oh yeah, you could choose a photo from your library to use as a background on the chess board! That'd be nifty.

Uh oh.....

Leaked Screenshot: Final Cut WebEdit

Editor's note: We don't normally post our own rumors here, preferring to crib them from other sites and rip on them, but this one was too good to pass up.
Yesterday, Apple released a preview of their forthcoming update to .Mac Mail. Check out the preview and you'll see that the new web site looks strikingly similar to Apple's own Mail program bundled with Mac OS X.

Today, an AtAT2 reader, who identified him/herself only as "Sparklefluff," sent us this screenshot of another Apple program being ported to the web, Final Cut Pro. Check it out:

(click for the full-size version)

Sparklefluff maintains that Final Cut WebEdit is still in early Alpha-stage development. "Right now it's just running on a beefed-up QuickTime Plugin and a whole helluva lotta Ajax, but it's gonna be just like the real thing, only hella slower."

What would be the merits of running Final Cut Pro inside a web browser, you ask? Hmm, good question. Oh! You're a videographer on the go who doesn't always have access to your own computer. Yeah. Or you're stuck without your Mac and need to edit on a Windows PC. Wait, Final Cut Pro on Windows? Whoa.....

Apple: "I Just Wish It Came In Green"

Apple unveiled an impressive redesign of their web site today coinciding with their latest pro-environmental push. Stung by criticism from environmental groups over allegations of toxic and pollutive manufacturing processes, Apple has taken the bold initiative of completely overhauling their environmental policies. While Apple had previously advertised a "holistic approach to the environment," including the digitizing of numerous posters of Mount Rainier to save paper, (archive of old site explaining this here,) their latest efforts take this initiative much further.

The campaign centers around the slogan "I Just Wish It Came In Green," promoting their newest environmentally friendly initiatives while whimsically poking fun at the dearth of green-colored Apple products. Apple's new web site is even simpler than before and pays homage to the tireless workers who manufacture the bulk of Apple's hardware products. Clever new sections discuss Apple reducing "iWaste" and promoting an "iPush" for further environmental initiatives. Apple has even jovially tweaked its iconic logo with a green Granny Smith skin.

Navigating the new web site, it becomes apparent that Apple has launched a bold campaign indeed, as they appear to have quietly suspended the sales of the newly-released 2G iPod Nano and Shuffle in favor of their 1G counterparts. Rumors have it that the 2G models aluminum casings required a more toxic manufacturing process and so manufacturing has been put on hold until the process can be refined. It is unclear why the same fate seems to have been suffered by the MacBook Pro as well, however, nor what ramifications this may have on the Apple-Intel transition.

Hold on, this is completely ridiculous. Dropping the new iPods AND MacBook Pro just because of Greenpeace?! Wait...ohhhhhhh...

Set your Macs to f1.5

So Photokina has come and gone (actually at this writing it technically hasn't started yet) and with it came Aperture 1.5. Apparently the One-Button Pro Camera was delayed at the last minute.

Aperture's latest version has plenty of new nerdy features and improvements--these are listed here--but more importantly, it now works on new Macs with integrated graphics, e.g. the MacBook and Mac mini. Previously, Aperture would not install at all on these systems, (version 1.0 would also call your mom a ho in the process; this was removed amid the shake-up preceding version 1.1.) We expect adoption of the program to significantly increase now that it can actually run on more than half of Apple's product line.

This move will allow Aperture to compete more effectively with Adobe's Lightroom, which has always worked on all Intel Macs as well as many G4s and G5s, but is still in beta development. Not to be outdone, Adobe today released a fourth beta of Lightroom and rechristened it Photoshop Lightroom, which sounds a lot like a Red Hot Chili Peppers album.

Anyway, we're not really digital photography enthusiasts here. The bulk of our digital photography in the past month has been in Photo Booth, trying to make Vanilla Ice self-portraits. Still, from our untrained eyes, it's looking like Aperture finally has the cojones to whupp some mad budonkadonk, as any Apple product should.

Photokina: Apple Releasing One-Button Camera

Here's our rumor round-up for Apple's big pre-Photokina announcements tomorrow:

Notice that picture of a camera lens on the picture of Apple's event invitation? Yup, you read our title right. Word on the street is, Apple is releasing a new professional-grade camera tomorrow to compete with the Canon EOS-1D and Nikon D2X. It's got just one button. Using "double-clicking" and Aperture integration, it provides all of the same features as today's professional cameras. Sounds like Steve is still smarting from the release of the multi-button Mighty Mouse and wanted to make his mark again.

Speaking of Aperture, a new version of Apple's photography app may be forthcoming. Sigh. Sorry, normally we foam at the mouth at the mention over any one of Apple's products. but Aperture just doesn't do it. Maybe it was the initial 1.0 release that Ars Technica up and whaled on. Maybe it's that the program isn't supported on half of Apple's line-up. Maybe it's because Macromedia Lightroom, ahem, Adobe Lightroom, is arguably a much sweeter program. Hopefully Apple will change our minds tomorrow.

According to our buddies at MacRumors, MacBook Pros are expected to get Core 2 Duo chips, clocked up to 2.33 GHz. We also anticipate hard drive options to 160 GB, maybe a MacBook-style redesign, with square keys, pop-out hard drive, magnetic lid, plus FW800 on the 15" model. Sounds good to us. Expect the same oddball 3 GB memory limit as the new iMacs. We're also hoping for a Sudden Liquid Sensor, but we're not holding our breath.

In other news, Microsoft will officially announce the Zune's price of $229. The Zune has Wi-Fi and an FM radio. Jeez, why does Microsoft feel it has to price the Zune below a comparably-sized iPod? Oh yeah. Because it sucks.

That's enough for now. If we can break away from playing Redline, we'll be sure to post updates on Photokina tomorrow. Well, after the 7th Heaven premiere. Hey, shut up.

Apple Fixes Non-Problem

Remember when that dude at that nerd conference said he used his m4d l337 sk1llz to hack into a MacBook over AirPort? There was a big banana over an apparent security hole in Apple's AirPort software and plenty of FUD to go around...until it turned out to be fake. The guy had actually used a non-Apple device driver with the h4x0red MacBook. In other words, he unlocked his Ferrari and put the keys in the ignition before stealing it.

Not one to be detained by problems with AirPort security, Apple has released an update to unlocked-door-and-ignition-key-proof their software. Security Update 2006-005 fixes every possible damn problem left for those bored hackers to think of. According to MacCentral, Apple conducted an internal audit--whoa! Scientology alert!--and found two potential vulnerabilities in the AirPort software. Something to do with stacks overflowing; we got a craving for pancakes and stopped paying attention. All this, and yet "no known exploits exist for the issues addressed in this update." It's like changing your Ferrari's oil after changing...oh never mind.

Still, we feel fortunate that Apple is going the extra mile to make their computers as bored-nerd-resistant as possible. Suppose there's a vulnerability in Photo Booth that lets someone input malicious code by putting meticulously crafted bunny ears behind your head. Don't worry, Apple's already on it.

Mac Pro gets Tha Chillz

First the MacBook Pro got an SMC update for running too hot. Then the MacBook got an SMC update for mooing. Now the Mac Pro gets one to "adjust fan behavior." This was a surprise. We hadn't read about any heat-related or bovinity-related issues on the Mac Pro.

The SMC, short for Sucka MC, is the chip that controls power and fan management in the computer. Previous SMC updates have changed the thresholds and speed curves for the computers' fans.

Having used a Mac Pro briefly ourselves, we were stunned by how quiet it was. If anything, it was the hard drive that seemed to be making most of the noise. Maybe the SMC update makes the fans pulse in inverse to the read-write cycles of the hard drives to cancel noise. That'd be super awesome! Seriously, like, totally badass.

Or, maybe the Mac Pro was mooing at a high frequency, pissing off Tim Cook's hounds and causing pain in Phil Schiller's old wrestling injury. Whatever the reason, we think these updates are getting a little out of hand. Maybe Apple should get back to making fanless computers again. They sold pretty well last time, right?

Happy Birthday As the Apple Turns!

On the rainy night of September 20, 1997, a Performa 6400 checked in to Massachusetts General Hospital with contractions just 0.000000005 seconds apart. After 18 hours of intense painful labor, the Performa and its lover Jack Miller welcomed a new baby into their home. As the Apple Turns was born.

Growing up in impoverished times, with Uncle Gil having wasted precious little cash on a nasty telethon habit, As the Apple Turns beat the odds to win an unheard of 5-Star rating on iReview. Smarts, style, sass, and an obsession with Buffy brought millions of viewers.

Old age has not been kind to As the Apple Turns. As Jack tended more to his other children, As the Apple Turns grew distant. Risky behavior--including the fathering of the illegitimate love child you're reading now--led As the Apple Turns to fall into a coma on October 12, 2005.

Still, we salute thee, As the Apple Turns. Without you, our lives would be filled with sorrow. That or we'd watch a lot of Smallville and stuff...

Pirate of the Year: J Allard

Avast! In commem-arr-ation of thar Talk Like A Pirate Day, we've circled arr wenches and cast a-starboard arr grog to take arr Pirate of the Year awarrd seriously. At thar last minute, a new playarr has emarrged. Behold, thar winnar of my boo-ty, J Allard of Microsoft:

Here's what he said in arr rival ship Engadget:
"And so we'll do H.264 playback as well, because there's a lot of content out on the web for video iPods. Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those."
A Microsoft VP that encarrages arr piracy trade certainly deserves an awarrd! Congratulations, Allarrrrrd!

From the Island of MSFT Toys

We feel obligated to post on the Microsoft Zune, especially after ripping on the 2G iPod nano's slow transfer speeds. Here's our round-up of what we've learned about it since its announcement last Friday:
  • Unlike some other projects, e.g. the Xbox, which were designed in-house, Microsoft bought an off-the-shelf Toshiba design for their player. (link)
  • The main feature that differentiates the Zune from the iPod is built-in Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi does not allow you to download songs wirelessly, but does allow Zune-to-Zune sharing. This allows you share any song with another Zune user for three days and three playbacks. With the Zune expected to become 2-3 percent of the installed base of portable music players, it remains to be seen if this will prove useful outside of the Microsoft Campus. (link)
  • The Zune's Wi-Fi sharing wraps songs in special DRM software to restrict playback. Every song you share--regardless of where you got it from--is wrapped and carries the three-play-three-day limit. This behavior has been compared to that of computer viruses. (link) It's also in violation of the Creative Commons license. (link)
  • Curiously, content using Microsoft's own PlaysForSure DRM technology for Windows Media Audio, as used by Napster 2, Real Rhapsody, and Yahoo Music, is not supported at all. The Zune will only play DRM songs from Microsoft's forthcoming Zune Marketplace. Perhaps not coincidentally, Real has since announced that it will stop using PlaysForSure and Windows Media Audio. (link)
  • The Zune is expected to ship in time for the holiday buying season. Microsoft was expected to announce its pricing on Friday but did not and still hasn't. They may have been surprised by the price-drop of Apple's 30 GB iPod. (link)
  • Emboldened and enriched by the $100 million settlement with Apple over the "Zen Patent" (we discussed this earlier at Vintage AtAT,) Creative Labs is expected to set their lawyers' sights on the Zune next. Meanwhile, Apple can kick back and keep selling millions more iPods. (link)
  • J Allard, Microsoft VP and the leader of the team at Microsoft that developed the Zune (we assume he doesn't work for Toshiba,) said in an interview that he expects customers to rip their DVDs and use the Zune to watch them. (link)
  • Finally, Shaw Wu, every Mac nerd's favorite analyst, ripped the Zune for being 'bulky' and 'underwhelming.' He also said that the Zune's real-world battery life may be only 3-6 hours due to the electrical demands of the Wi-Fi radio. Oops. (link)
So it looks like Microsoft has created an unprecedented opportunity to be sued, not once, not twice, but three friggin' times! Let's recap:

1. The Zune's Wi-Fi DRM is in violation of the Creative Commons license,
2. The Zune's interface is in violation of Creative Labs' Zen Patent, and
3. Microsoft has directed its Zune buyers to use DVD-ripping software, potentially in violation of the ever-loved Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Three times, and this doesn't include the usual stuff over dead batteries or scratching cases. Sounds like it's time to buy us some stock! Woop woop!

Tim Cook Project

Crazy Apple Rumors Site, our leading Apple think-tank, is doing a study on how to "sex up" Apple number-two Tim Cook should Steve be fallen by some kind of, um, nuclear-terrorist-asteroid-truck-virus thing. Anyway, here's our submission:

Nano's Got a Secret

Have you seen the wild new ad for the new iPod nano? Dig the hypnotically quick motion of the dancers and the song's sweetly hyperactive beats? Clearly Apple is eager to emphasize the new nano's state-of-the-art performance and speed, and according to three early reviews, this couldn't be more true.

...SIKE! iLounge, TUAW, and Playlist are all reporting that the new 2nd-gen iPod nano has been curiously showing dramatically slower transfer speeds relative to the previous model. One iLounge test found the new nano took more than twice as long to copy 2.58 gigs of stuff. This could mean the difference between doing iTunes syncs during a #1 and having to wait for a #2.

TUAW speculates that the nano's new chipset is to blame. Remember when iPod chipmaker PortalPlayer announced that they were single and looking after Apple callously dumped them over IM? Well it looks like Apple's new twinkie Samsung just isn't putting out like PortalPlayer did.

Of course, this issue only matters for the select few who change their iPod's library all the time or use their iPod as a hard drive. Most users won't notice the difference. Still, in the interest of accuracy, may we suggest a different theme for Apple's next commercial? Perhaps they can use Usher's "Nice and Slow."

Dvorak Celebrity-Endorses Spammers

We were browsing through PC Magazine's web site today (hey, shut up) and found this puzzling advertisement for a recent John Dvorak opinion column:

Sure it's Dvorak, but still.

Push-Pull Amp: Does the new Shuffle have it?

The first-generation iPod Shuffle was roundly praised for its excellent sound quality. The notable quality came from a "push-pull" amplifier design, similar in concept to those in audiophile-quality tube amps. Apple did not advertise or even acknowledge the presence of the unique design--perhaps because other iPods didn't have it--and it was PC Magazine's Bill Machrone who proved its existence empirically, using a software oscilloscope. (You can read his excellent article on it here.)

To understand how a push-pull amplifier works, picture the amplifier as a tiny see-saw and transistors as cute little field mice. In a push-pull amplifier, the see-saw has a mouse on either side, pushing it up and down. With each mouse carrying the other's weight, the wave motion of the see-saw is nice and smooth, no matter how fast or high they go.

In a conventional single-ended amplifier, there's a mouse on one side and a big piece of cheese on the other. The mouse pushes up on the see saw and then gravity takes it back down. This works OK with everyday use, but at slow-moving, high-jumping levels, the mouse gets lonely and has to eat some cheese to cheer up. Hence, you get a distorted wave.

We're eager to find out if Apple kept this excellent design for the new 2G Shuffle.

The New iPods: A Rational, Post-RDF Analysis

Note: AtAT2 Editor-in-Chief Paulo Rodrigues puts on his serious face to discuss the new iPods released this week.
"5.5G" iPod
The newest video iPod is an under-the-skin revision that gains better battery life for videos, a brighter screen, more capacity in the high-end model, and a lower price. A decent feature bump, no doubt, but otherwise, the 5.5G iPod is little-changed from the 5G iPod released a year ago. The white model's fundamental design: silver back, white front, squarish screen above and wheel below, is essentially identical to the original iPod released 5 years ago. Its iconic design, which looked weirdly cool in October '01 and hipper than anything in Summer '03, now seems almost dated. Black-finish models have helped give the design legs, but can't help forever. Price drops have helped too. Five years later, the new top-of-the-line iPod is now $50 less than the original iPod and only $50 more than the cheapest 3G model from when its popularity exploded.

Today's 5.5G iPod is filled to the rim with features that would spin the head of any 1G iPod. A bright, sharp color screen, video playback, photo viewing, long battery life, and huge drive capacity have all been added to the iPod in increments over the past five years. However, the ever-expanding feature set has pushed the iPod out of its original market for many. Consumers looking for a simple and easy-to-use portable music player are now typically better served by the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle.

What the iPod needs now is a new "killer app" that will drive prospective Nano/Shuffle buyers back to the big daddy. With the iTunes Movie Store, many are expecting video playback to be that app. Maybe, in the future, that dream will come true; on the 5.5G, it's not quite ready for prime time. Disagree? Watch The English Patient on that 2.5 inch screen, and then we can discuss it.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to dish hate on the iPod. In its market, it's the best game in town. As full-featured music players go, it's the best out there, and at $249, it's now value priced. Kind of like a minivan.

2G iPod Nano
The key to the design of the new iPod Nano is the implementation of what worked well in the previous Nano (flash storage, small size) and the elimination of what went horribly wrong (rhymes with matches breezily.) By reverting to the iPod Mini's scratch-resistant aluminum case design, Apple thwarts a customer attrition problem from those frustrated by their 1G Nanos that scratched to the point of being unusable. It also reminds Wall Street once again that this is the new Apple, the Apple that actually learns from its mistakes and moves forward.

The design of the new Nano is sleek and fresh--an iPod mini on a Fresca diet--if not groundbreaking. It's still the same basic size and shape. Like the 5.5G iPod, the value equation of the 2G improves significantly with a doubling of storage capacities vis-a-vis the 1G nano. It also sports a dramatic boost in battery life to 24 hours, an improvement that should, in theory, make battery replacements less necessary for aging Nanos.

The pricing structure of the Nano is, shall we say, curious. $149 for a 2GB in Silver. Okay. $199 for a 4GB in Silver, Green, Blue, or Pink. Sure. $249 for an 8GB in Black. Whaaa? From a marketing standpoint, it doesn't make any sense to restrict the 8GB model to one color. I'm not complaining about putting a higher price on Black. Apple can and clearly does pull off charging premium prices for premium colors. (See my article Black MacBook to Paris Hilton: I'm hot. for more on that.)

However, it's not like the black MacBook has a 4 GHz processor. 8GB of storage capacity in a thin, light flash player is a big deal, and it does not make sense to pitch a hot new capacity in a single, ostensibly polarizing color, while offering more choice in lesser Nanos. Never mind that you can now get a black 8GB Nano and a black 30 GB iPod for the same price. Just think of all the affluent girly-girls who would surely want a Pink 8 GB model. Maybe there are supply issues with high-capacity flash memory. Maybe Apple has an ingenious master plan. We'll have to wait and see.

At any rate, while it's really an evolutionary redesign at best, the 2G Nano nevertheless brings the best features of the Mini and 1G Nano together to make what looks like Apple's best midrange iPod to date.

2G iPod Shuffle
This is the one new iPod that's really exciting. The old Shuffle was a pretty neat product that was inexpensive and had great sound quality, but was overshadowed when the Nano and especially its $149 model came out. The new Shuffle blows them both out of the water and into orbit. It's a stunner.

Not much larger than a dollar coin, it's less than half of the size of the original Shuffle, while not sacrificing any capacity or battery life. With a slickly integrated clip, the 2G Shuffle sports an industrial design that says "whoa, nice remote, so what kind of player do you have?" Weighing less than the fat in a Filet-o-Fish, the 2G Shuffle w/clip should prove a most convenient way to take music with you, dispensing of the need to lug an armband or carrying case.

The new Shuffle is not without compromises. With no space for a USB plug, the 2G Shuffle actually runs USB backwardsly into its headphone jack, requiring a special USB-to-miniplug dock for syncing and charging. This reduces the shuffle's utility as a USB flash drive, though most users probably won't mind. It also remains to be seen if the new shuffle sports the same excellent audio quality as its predecessor.

Still, at only $79, it's only a bit more expensive than the, er, iPod Radio Remote, and comes with Apple's new $29 headphones. Only $79 for a music player with art-house design and unrivaled portability? I'll take mine in Silver.

AtAT2 News: iPod Shuffle Class Action Lawsuit Filed

SACRAMENTO, California (AtAT2) -- 103 owners of Apple iPod Shuffle portable music players filed suit today in California over reported loss problems.

"At first it was working fine," says former Shuffle owner Trey Adams, one of the plaintiffs named in the suit. "Then I began seeing scratches on its casing, and within weeks it had completely disappeared."

Adams says he contacted Apple for a replacement under warranty, but was declined. "I spent $99 on my Shuffle and Apple refused to replace when the loss problem cropped up in less than a month. This will most definitely be my last purchase from Apple."

John Flanahan, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the suit, blames the loss problem on the music player's small size. "We believe Apple is fully aware of the players extreme ease in being swallowed by a pet or flushed down a public toilet, yet continues to refuse to acknowledge the problem."

Flanahan says he was initially hesitant to take on the case, but changed his mind after Apple's release yesterday of the second-generation Shuffle, which is even smaller than the original model. "Clearly Apple is thumbing its nose at its loyal customers," Flanahan said.

Meg Jefferson, another iPod Shuffle user who was forced to withdraw from the lawsuit after finding her player under a pile of dirty laundry, says she's troubled by Apple's redesigned Shuffle model for other reasons. "The metal clip is very frightening," Jefferson said. "As a mother, I am worried it could cause serious harm if clipped onto an infant's finger or an open wound."

Representatives from Apple could not be reached for comment.

The New iTV: Steve's Gone Crazy

Something is very terribly wrong at Apple. Remember last month at WWDC, when Steve delegated much of his Stevenote duty to other executives? Well today at Apple's special It's Showtime presentation, he took the crazy much much further.

First off, he comes out to give a Stevenote wearing a button-up shirt?! Then, to add injury to insanity, he gives a sneak peek at a future product?!?! Something's definitely changed him. Cue Don LaFontaine: Steve, in a world where Apples reign, do you remake the iPod, or does the iPod remake you?

Oops, that ended up sounding more like Yakov Smirnoff, sorry Don.

Anywho, the iTV--a $299 AirPort Express with video-out--will not be ready until 2007, but that apparently didn't stop SuperSteve from dropping trou and releasing it as an unprecedented 2nd One More Thing.

Don't bother looking for pictures of it on Apple's site. There aren't any. Why? I dunno. Maybe because it's not ƒ#*!@ing done yet? Luckily, there are plenty of pictures from the Stevenote floating around the Internet. We like these angles the best:

As you can see, it looks like a flattened Mac mini. Also note the internal power supply, which is a very big deal for some reason. At any rate, we'll have to wait until 2007 to see if the iTV will triumphantly soar off store shelves, like an iPod, uh, eagle, or aimlessly hang out on them, like your friend Jeff who still listens to Kajagoogoo. Or a *cough* iPod Hi-Fi *cough*.

Honestly, we're more excited about Steve's next change of attire. Our prediction? Levis out, Spandex in.

It's Showtime - Predictions

We want to be serious, just for a moment, and offer our predictions for the Stevenoucements on September 12:

New Video iPod: Weren't these delayed until next year? Oh yeah, right, we have proof of them coming. Yup.

Merom-based MacBook Pros: Weren't these delayed until next year? Still, they're the oldest products in Apple's line-up, at, er, 4 months.

iTunes Movie Store: Isn't it only going to have Disney movies? Hopefully it won't get delayed, we're dying to rock that download of Lion King 1-1/2.

Apple Cell Phone: Whaaa? Where'd that come from? Apple needs to make a crackberry, not a Chocolate-killer.

Well, gee whiz. If everything else is delayed, what the heck is His Steveness to do? iLife '07 sneak preview? Gag us with a spork.

No, this can mean only one thing. Serious booming voice: The Newton is coming back, and it will be for movies what the iPod was for songs.

Wow, punditry is fun! Join us next week when we predict Apple buying Ford. Dvorak, your time is up!

Welcome Apple Discussions Visitors!

A big howdy to everyone visiting from Apple Discussions, where they have graciously linked to our humble how-to on fixing the MacBook Random Shutdown problem.

First stop Apple Discussions, next stop Apple Service Manuals. Booya!

Video iPod: Let The Fakery Begin!

In writing about the world's foremost Fortune 500 drama queen, there are but three things that can be counted on, class-action lawsuits, embarrassing nerds, and fake news.

This falls squizzarely into the last category, courtesy of TUAW, whose accusations of fakery we have to strongly disagree with:

This is obviously a real photograph. See the funky border around the image? That's from the print of the picture cuz the guy was so freakin' hard-core he used a disposable camera. And never mind the fuzzy stripe on the left edge of the iMac, the Front Row interface on the iPod that falls off the screen, the apparent inclusion of a DVD player in a deck-of-cards-sized device, and absolutely piss-poor punctuation, this picture is flippin' real man. Never mind the so-called "gaussian blur" and "Photoshop CS Tags" that some TUAW readers claim to be there.

For smearing a hard-working spy photographer--and for callously sleeping with C.A.R.S. behind our back--we're forced to put TUAW on our Enemies List. TUAW, you can redeem yourself by linking to us on your front page, like all the Home Slices have done.

No, we have no shame. Stop asking.

MacBook Random Shutdown Problem Solved!

DISCLAIMER: AtAT2 reminds our readers that many first-generation products have issues, even snazzy expensive Apple crap. For example, Ferrari has a new $250,000 car that's randomly catching on fire. Don't read into these MacBooks having problems and start predicting Apple being bought by Dell for 99 cents. Good grief.

Unless you've been wearing a Saran-wrap hat, you've probably heard the dirt on Apple's latest MacBook/Pro quality control snag. This time it's with regular MacBooks: they're randomly shutting down. The problem is widespread enough that there's now a web site inventively called MacBookRandomShutdown.com that's claiming 374 users affected at this writing. It's enough of an issue that Apple has posted a lengthy knowledge base article discussing it, and instructing customers to take their computers in to get fixed if it happens. There's more juice: AppleInsider claims that Apple is replacing both heatsinks and logic boards to solve the problem and has some sort of triage system in place to handle "business-critical" repairs, so you can get back to doing your business with your MacBook in less time.

Of course, we at AtAT2 know this problem is all a bunch of hooey. After experiencing this problem with our BlackBook, we did the reasonable thing and checked our Energy Saver settings. Sure enough:

We decided to keep it checked, you know, to save power. As for all y'all hysterical MacBook owners, You're Welcome.

AtAT2 Weekend Special: Beezer Goes To Hollywood

While rumors of an iTunes Movie Store are hotter than an Arnold Schwarzenegger...uh, nevermind..., Amazon.com opened up a can of whoop-Malus on Thursday with their own movie store. Dubbed Amazon Unbox, a subtle diss to those Franzia drinkers over at Barnes & Noble, The Beezer's company's latest offering promises online movies for $7.99 to $14.99, plus $3.99 "rentals."

Videos come in two formats together, "DVD quality" and "portable digital player compatible," which will be a big hit for us iPod owners. Oh. Wait. No it won't. From the Unbox FAQ:

"Unfortunately, our Amazon Unbox video downloads are not compatible with Apple / MacIntosh hardware and computer systems."

So all y'all Zen Vision owners, yup, all 10 of you, ROCK ON! Meanwhile, in realityland, it remains to be seen if Amazon Unbox and the Windows Media voodoo it's based on will catch on. Oh, and nice caps on the Intosh part, btw.

Meanwhile, in a tube-shaped bunker under the east wing at 1 Infinite Loop, Apple grunts are fine-tuning their own offering before It's Showtime on September 12th. Of course, we don't know for sure, but rumor has it there may be nothing but Disney movies at first. We say so what? The timing couldn't be better! You know, with the Disney-Pixar merger and all?

Lastly, unlike Amazon Unhinged, oops, sorry, putting...Apple...talking...points...down, unlike Amazon Unbox, iTunes movies will surely be iPod compatible. Whether watching Pearl Harbor on a 2.5" screen with a two-hour battery will prove enjoyable or not remains to be seen.

As the Apple Turns 2 moving to Blogspot!

Is it really happening? We'll see...
"In J. Miller We Trust"