Editorial: Spin cycle
By David Leishman
Marketing in the world of technology-related businesses rarely engenders much humor. Other than light-hearted ad slogans, Steve Jobs’ satirical jabs at competitors during keynote addresses, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s famed ”
monkey dance,” there aren’t many occasions in this arena for a smile, let alone a real laugh.
So, it’s hats off to Intel for providing the most cockamamie
since Apple’s unfathomable Performa nomenclature.
Intel — which is far and away the leading supplier of chips for PCs, with 80+ percent of the market — has decided to follow in the footsteps of Apple and AMD by proclaiming that “megahertz don’t matter.” Copying the little guys has gotta be embarrassing.
The company will reinforce this belated strategic move by migrating its chip names away from chip speed ratings. Starting with its next generation Pentium M chip for notebooks, till now charmingly known as “Dothan,” the company will use class/series designations that mimic BMW’s naming structure — 300, 500, 700 — to differentiate its chips. The second and third numbers in a given series will refer to features such as clock speed, cache size and bus speed.
Which sounds fine until you read the rationales behind the change. According to Intel’s VP of the sales and marketing group, it’s because “a single metric cannot define everyone’s measure of goodness.” Or, as
Internet News reports: “Intel said higher-numbered processors in a lower series will sometimes outperform lower-numbered processors in the series above, while identical numbers for desktop and notebook processors may represent very different feature sets.”
Huh? Uh oh. Anyone who ever tried to determine by model numbers the differences in components within the
line of Macs knows Intel’s scheme will land it in a world of hurt. “So, madam, do you want the PC with the 345, the 502 or the 730 CPU?” I wish
were still alive to draw the accompanying cartoon.
As a Gartner report put it: “Intel’s aim is reasonable, but its execution is flawed. Higher numbers indicate more features, not more performance, and users will inevitably be confused.” And for a punchline, “We predict that Intel will be forced to change the numbering to represent relative performance.”
In other words, megahertz do matter.
Why else would Steve Jobs break with Apple’s “we don’t talk about unreleased products” rule to crow that Power Mac G5s would reach 3.0 GHz by the end of this summer? Because now his machines are nipping at the heels of Intel-powered PCs in speed ratings, and could overtake them in the next 18-24 months.
Which is certainly ironic, if not downright funny. It should even bring a rueful smile to those who long clamored for Apple to move to Intel chips.
iPod mini won’t be available worldwide until July
Apple announced Thursday that its iPod mini won’t be available worldwide until July, about three months later than it had originally anticipated. Apple said that stronger than expected demand in the U.S. has constrained supplies through the end of June. Apple now anticipates that its production will be ramped up to meet worldwide demand in the July quarter.
Apple ships the single processor Xserve G5
Apple releases iPhoto 4.0.1 update
Apple VP Ron Okamoto on Worldwide Developer Conference
Apple releases iChat 2.1, with AIM Windows video support
Apple offers Xgrid Preview 2
Apple updates Wireless Keyboard and Mouse firmware
Griffin ships SightLight for iSight
Griffin Technology announced that it is shipping the SightLight, a light specifically designed to fit around Apple’s iSight Webcam, which is powered using the same FireWire connection used by the iSight. It provides a diffused light source which Griffin said evens out shadows caused by inconsistent directional lighting and can also help iSight users in low-light environments.
Imation launches USB 2.0 Swivel Flash Drive line
Olympus unveils DS-2200 digital voice recorder
LaCie drops price on 22-inch CRT display
ViewSonic ships two new LCD displays
Adobe discontinues FrameMaker for Macintosh
Adobe Systems announced this week that it will discontinue FrameMaker for Macintosh next month. The decision to stop FrameMaker development will not come as a surprise to most users; Adobe last updated FrameMaker for the Mac almost two years ago when FrameMaker 7 was released. FrameMaker for Windows and Solaris will continue to be developed, according to the company.
Pangea’s Otto Matic, Bugdom 2 go 3D
iTunes to feature The Grateful Dead’s live performances
Making the most of free .Mac and other user group news
Roxio ships Toast with Jam 6
LimeWire 4.0 coming in May
Around the Web
iDrum demo released
Art Gillespie of Bitshift has released a demo version of iDrum, a drum machine for Mac OS X. It can be used as a standalone application, or as a plug-in for Logic Pro/Express and GarageBand. It’s very cool and is available exclusively on this OS X Audio page; you’ll need to scroll down to the eighth post on the page to find the link to iDrum.
The Mac’s ‘most historic switch’
Apple to redefine customer service?
Comcast to purchase TechTV
DVD burners double capacity
FireWire getting hot & wireless
MP3 surround sound
Battle for the living room