The Macalope Weekly: The tab wars

Video killed the Mac mini star, and which side are you taking in the great tab wars of ’09? Don’t tell your grandkids you just sat on the sidelines! Finally, ugh, are we still talking about netbooks? Yes, we are.

Anatomy of a rumor

Oh, man, what’s that smell? Do you smell that? Smells like Steve Ballmer after a Microsoft developer conference.

Yeah, but it turns out it’s actually the Mac mini. OK, cheap shot taken, right? The mini is in that “not so fresh” stage and rumors have been flying for months now about an update.

Which prompted many to link to first the stills and then the video of the purported heir to the mini throne. Well, that’s that, right?! You certainly can’t fake a video!

Hmm.

OK, let’s check out the features on this puppy. Five USB ports?! Wow! That’s amazing! Why, you may ask, would it have more USB ports than any consumer-level product in Apple history? Shut your pie hole, that’s why! And nay-sayers may say "nay, Apple t’would never put Firewire 800 into thy consumer-level products. Forsooth!" Ah, but comical nay-sayer old-talking guy construct, that’s exactly what people aren't expecting them to do!

Huh?

Well, sad to say, that Macalope knows for a fact that this is not the new mini. How does he know? Because this is.

Totally. You cannot fake a Flickr feed, friends.

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“It was hell,” recalled a veteran

You may have seen that Apple released a beta of Safari 4. Wait, “beta”? Who do you think you are, Apple? Google?

Regardless, the beta generated enough nerd fever to power the mighty city of Nerdonia for forty long, boring nerd years. You can’t swing a title bar on the Internet without hitting a firmly-held belief about Apple’s new tab scheme and how it either violates or reinforces our values. Some believe the tabs are the right way to go (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball) while certain splinter groups say Har! Apple is teh sux0r! LOLZ! IE FTW! (tip o’ the antlers to the Apple Blog).

Here’s the thing, though. It’s not your title bar. It’s Apple’s title bar. Apple can do anything it damn well pleases with its title bar! All Apple needs to hear from you, maggot, is “How high should I click?! SIR!”

Now, the placement of the refresh button is insane, though, right? At least that all right-thinking people can agree on.

It’s an abomination!

Last week the Macalope said whatever a person does with a machine in the privacy of his home is between him and the Lord God. And just to prove that you can find an outlet for any bizarre fetish on the Internet, Macworld’s own Jason Snell went behind the green door and installed Mac OS X on a netbook.

Short story: like any pornography, it’s not as good as the real thing.

But what’s the real thing going to be? The Macalope agrees with Jason that anything in this class from Apple is not going to be the Mac version of OS X slapped on smaller hardware (mythical beast fluffs editor, film at 11).

One of the reasons these crappy little doohickeys (hey, you can’t say “crappy little doohickey” on the Internet!) are so popular amongst the Windows set is that most of the Windows set is running an almost eight year-old operating system anyway. Of course it’s going to run just fine on an underpowered piece of junk with a tiny screen (see you in the comments, netbookistas!). That’s not exactly working out so well for Microsoft.

Mac users, meanwhile, are used to an operating system that's not as old as their original iPods. Anything small must be of lesser power and anything small and underpowered will probably run the iPhone OS in order to be "all that."

Whatever the Apple response to netbooks looks like, we do know one thing: It’ll have five USB ports.

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