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Telling Fact From Fantasy In the World of Apple Rumors 91

Posted by timothy
from the step-one-make-sure-you're-awake dept.
Harry writes "In recent years, fact-based reporting about Apple and its products has been almost completely overwhelmed by gossip, predictions, and speculation — an amazing percentage of which is embarrassingly wrong. I've put together a guide to figuring out which scuttlebutt is almost certainly fiction, and which has a shot at jibing with reality."
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Telling Fact From Fantasy In the World of Apple Rumors

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:08AM (#26797479)
    Sorry, couldn't resist. ;-)
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:48AM (#26797947)

      I would suggest that you price any other companies computer Spec for Spec It doesn't matter if you think the spec is important to you or not. (including Size, Weight, Dimensions, Video Camera,Keyboard type...), in general try to custom build the Mac Model. You will find the price of the Mac, will be about the same price as the competitors.
      That said. Apple has a limited line and there are a lot of gaps for what people want in a computer, So the Apple may not be the best value for them. But as for its price their prices are competitive. (Don't include home built boxes, as you rarely add your labor to the price, and you pay for just the parts)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by risinganger (586395)
        imo there is a certain amount of truth to that but generally only at a products release or update. Apple don't tend to change prices unlike many others (take Dell for example), so while I tend to agree that the cost difference between different companies isn't great, it does tend to grow in favour of other companies the longer Apple leaves a product update.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Done, thanks for having me do this again. It's always a good exercise to double check and see if the apple delusion-ists are correct this time. Unfortunately once again apples products came out more expensive for equivalent products.

        I spent 10 min comparing apples store on the website using 20 and 24 in imacs and 20 and 24 inch dell xps all in ones. Obviously you cant get them identical but similar machines had the XPS dell's (which are already overpriced) coming in at a few hundred dollars cheaper.

        But h

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "I spent 10 min comparing apples store on the website using 20 and 24 in imacs and 20 and 24 inch dell xps all in ones. Obviously you cant get them identical but similar machines had the XPS dell's (which are already overpriced) coming in at a few hundred dollars cheaper."

          Well, a couple hundred dollars isn't much of a difference....

          I guess at that point, you can look at the asthetics of the iMac vs a Dell...and for that extra bit of change, you get an all-in-one stylish bit of machinery (no clunky box wi

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          Yes. I mean, shit, there I was thinking that $1,200 for 2 x 4GB sticks of 1066 RAM for a MBP was reasonable. I mean, it's not like those same sticks can be bought from other suppliers for $600, right?

          Aww, hell.

          But what do we know - remember, Apple products are competitively priced! And they don't gouge you on extras and upgrades!

          (Cue Fanbois wailing "But /everyone/ knows you never buy memory from Apple, you upgrade it after the fact and throw the memory that you paid Apple an exorbitant rate for in the f

      • by daveime (1253762)

        Yup, those 1 button mice can be hellish expensive.

        All you can find these days is cheap-and-nasty 2 button mice with scroll wheels and handy single click double click buttons.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        I would suggest that you price any other companies computer Spec for Spec It doesn't matter if you think the spec is important to you or not. (including Size, Weight, Dimensions, Video Camera,Keyboard type...), in general try to custom build the Mac Model. You will find the price of the Mac, will be about the same price as the competitors.

        Of course, this places disproportionate value on certain things that are very uncommon outside of Apple. Like, for example, form factor.

        However, for example, if all yo

      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @01:05PM (#26800083)

        You will find the price of the Mac, will be about the same price as the competitors.

        Essentially true for the base model, when they are launched. And then it goes down hill, because the Apple specs are practically obsolete before its updated, and then on top of that, they grossly overcharge for upgrades.

        For example, Take a look at the base 24" iMac. It comes with 2GB of RAM... it costs $150 to go to 4GB. You can easily buy 4GB outright for LESS than it costs to get an extra 2GB from Apple.

        Another example... Hard drive... it starts with a 320GB HD. They want $300 to upgrade to a 1TB drive. You can get a 1TB for $100-150 outright. With Apple its $300 and that's on top of whatever they valued the 320GB at.

        Yet another example... $150 to upgrade to a 8800GS? What the fuck? A 9800GT is $130.00 outright for crying out loud, and is a much stronger card. And they want $150 to UPGRADE to an 8800GS?

        Ok... its an all in one... so sure, maybe the video card is a bit trickier... I get why a 9800GT might not be an option. But I shouldn't have to pay $150 to upgrade to an 8800GS. $50 over an HD2600pro, tops.

        Apple gouges on upgrades 'nuff said.

        So how about an actual product comparison:

        Apple 24" 3.06 vs Dell XPS 24"
        bluetooth on both
        gigabit on both
        built in camera - 1.3MP vs 2MP
        built in mic - on both
        wifi - apple gives you b/g, dell b/g/n
        4GB ram on both (apple upgrade / dell default)
        750GB drive on both (apple upgrade / dell default)
        24" screen - lets assume they are equal - who knows
        built in speakers - lets assume they are equal
        optical - dvdrw vs bluray
        cpu - cor2duo in the apple, dell gives you a quad
        video - 8800GS 512MB vs 9600M GT 512MB - i think the dell's is better
        os - osx vs vista ultimate

        Ok... so the dell all-in-one is equal or better in each spec, how about price:

        iMac 2449.00 vs 2199.00 [ dell XPS one 24 (product)red ]

        so its $250 less, comes with a quad core, blu ray, wireless n, better video card, and a better camera.

        Oh, and the dell has a TV tuner too.

        Dell win hands down. Not even a contest. Apple's not in the ballpark.

        Worse if we can drop the 'product (red)' thing, which drops the bluray drive, and gives us vista home premium, the dell is $1899, still markedly better than the Apple, and now $550 less.

        Maybe not all Apple's are overpriced... but this one, at least IS.

        • B/G/N (Score:3, Informative)

          by daveywest (937112)
          All current Intel Macs include the 802.11n (draft) enabled as a default.
        • by JiveDog (871841)
          You forgot something when comparing the systems.

          Dell runs Windows or Linux.
          Mac runs OS X, Windows and Linux...all native. No need for VMs.

          Keep your TV tuner, I'll stick with my Mac.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            You forgot something when comparing the systems.

            Dell runs Windows or Linux.
            Mac runs OS X, Windows and Linux...all native.

            I didn't forget it.

            First... you want to add Windows to your Mac?... add another ~$200 to it.

            Face it, unless you want/need OSX, that 24" Apple imac is shit value for the hardware.

            Of course, if you want/need OSX then it doesn't matter how shit the value is because you don't have any real choice. Its either get an Apple or strike out into the land of Hackintosh. (But remember, if you do stri

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You're absolutely right. This is the downside of Apple's limited number of models and the relative infrequency of hardware refreshes. Add to that the fact that the product price never get's lowered and it's easy to see why in many people eyes Apple is overpriced.

          To be fair. At this moment the iMac is the worst value in Apple's lineup and is listed as a strong DO NOT BUY in MacRumour's Mac Buyer's Guide. It's long overdue for a refresh. Once the next hardware refresh occurs (rumours say March, but who knows)

        • by RedK (112790) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:10PM (#26804755)
          The iMac 24" comes with an S-IPS panel screen. Your Dell comes with a cheap TN Film. There's your price differential right there. It's also nice you falsely claimed the Mac didn't have 802.11n and got modded up anyway.
          • by vux984 (928602)

            The iMac 24" comes with an S-IPS panel screen. Your Dell comes with a cheap TN Film.

            Interesting theory. Too bad its clearly WRONG.

            The 20" model has 160 degree viewing angle, and is clearly a TN panel... but then so is the Apple 20" so no winner there.

            I can't say for sure what the XPS one 24" comes with but its got the expanded viewing angles that means its using at least a *VA panel. For all I know it could be IPS too, especially since one of Dell's more popular 24" panels is the 2407WFP which is IPS. I wou

            • by RedK (112790)

              The 2407WFP and more recent 2408WFP use PVA panels from Samsung, which are cheaper than S-IPS panels. This also isn't the norm, as their consumer screens are all TN Film, and they make a point to say PVA or IPS when a screen uses those panel types, which they don't for the XP 24". The specs on the Dell are actually very awful, or very wrong (I'm guessing wrong). Directly from their site: Wide Viewing Angle (up to 89 degrees). What does that even mean, is it horizontal or vertical ? Even they don't use

              • by vux984 (928602)

                The 2407WFP and more recent 2408WFP use PVA panels from Samsung, which are cheaper than S-IPS panels. This also isn't the norm, as their consumer screens are all TN

                I thought the big dell ultrasharps were all IPS. Now that I'm digging it appears some are and some aren't. With changes between revisions in some cases.

                Yes their consumer screens are all TN. (Although this is the direction apple seems to be taking to now.)

                The specs on the Dell are actually very awful

                No worse than the specs on Apple's imac online

              • by MojoStan (776183)

                their consumer screens are all TN Film, and they make a point to say PVA or IPS when a screen uses those panel types, which they don't for the XP 24"

                Apple doesn't either [apple.com] for their 20" (TN) and 24" (IPS) iMacs.

                The specs on the Dell are actually very awful, or very wrong (I'm guessing wrong). Directly from their site: Wide Viewing Angle (up to 89 degrees). What does that even mean, is it horizontal or vertical ? Even they don't use that notation on their monitors. 90 degrees means not even 45 degrees each side in the usual notation.

                Are you too dense to figure out that 89 degrees times 2 equals 178 degrees? From the iMac's specs [apple.com]:

                • Typical viewing angle
                  • 20-inch models:
                    160 horizontal
                    160 vertical
                  • 24-inch model:
                    178 horizontal
                    178 vertical

                Neither Apple nor Dell list panel technology in their iMac and XPS One specs, but it's obvious which ones are TN (20" models) and which are IPS or *VA (24" models).

          • Does it even really matter? Most people surf the Net and wordprocessing. I have an iMac and a bigger/better quality LCD for my PC. If there's a difference in the pannels between the two, I don't really care wether for gaming or movies or otherwise. Maybe someone in commercial GFX design cares, but most people buying iMacs aren't.

            • That isn't the point. The claim is that Macs are over priced which is the debate, not the fact if the specs are for your needs or not. There is the perception that somehow Apple is getting a much higher profit/PC then other companies aka Making their products more expensive then the rest of the market. While it is more the fact that Apples limited product line leaves gaps for individual needs.

            • by vux984 (928602)

              Does it even really matter?

              It matters for a debate on relative hardware value. If you were comparing honda wheel nuts to porsche wheel nuts, and the porsche ones are triple the price, you might conclude that the porsche ones are 'over priced'. However, since the Porsche ones are made of Titanium instead of Steel -- you can still argue whether or not you actually need titanium ones, but its no longer a case of simply paying more for the same thing.

              Same goes for a TN vs IPS/*VA panel. If the Mac comes with a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fred_A (10934)

          For example, Take a look at the base 24" iMac. [ ... ]

          Nobody bloody cares. People who want a Mac get a Mac, people who want something else get something else. It's all out there in the stores. Nobody's forcing anyone.

          And Sony laptops are overpriced too. It's a scandal. What's the government doing about it ?

        • $500 to avoid windows is cheap at twice the price.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            $500 to avoid windows is cheap at twice the price.

            Paying an extra $500 just to spite microsoft is hurting your bottom line a lot more than it hurts theirs.
            And you can avoid windows by just formatting and installing linux when it arrives. That avoids windows and keeps the $500 in your pocket.

      • (Don't include home built boxes, as you rarely add your labor to the price, and you pay for just the parts)

        My major issue with the Mac line was the relative difficulty (or impossibility in most cases) to create homebrews. PC lines have always had much greater support for personal customization, and the price of labor, frankly, I don't see how an hour or two of my time could possibly be worth more than the hundreds of dollars I'd spend otherwise.
        I've just also never been a fan of declaring my entire case a blackbox either.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Well, funny thing... before I bought my HP dv9500, I did precisely this... I compared it, feature by feature, to the 17" Powerbook. Both were direct from manufacturer based on customizable web site builds. Of the things I cared about, the HP exceeded the Mac in every area except one: the Mac has both Fw800 and Fw400 ports, while the HP just the Fw400 (on 4-pin, sure, but it's for my camcorders, so that's fine).

        The result: the Powerbook was $2999, the HP was $1280. Not even a contest -- Apple goes down in fl

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        That said. Apple has a limited line and there are a lot of gaps for what people want in a computer, So the Apple may not be the best value for them. But as for its price their prices are competitive.

        I'm reminded of one of the first scenes in Fargo about the TrueCote treatment. "We don't want that." "Well, you see, it comes from the factory that way."

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        OK. I took your advice. I looked at Apple, Dell, and HOP because they were the first ones that came to mind for on-line ordering. I've never done this before or bought any of the brands I looked at, so I'm not a fanboi. The results:

        Apple iMac 24"

        • Cost: $2199
        • CPU: 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
        • RAM: 2GB memory
        • HD: 500GB hard drive
        • DVD: 8x double-layer SuperDrive
        • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory

        HP IQ800t -- This is 26", not 24".

        • Cost: $1939
        • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T8400 [2.26GHz, 3MB] -- This
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:52AM (#26798009) Homepage Journal

      but Apple's use of Intel chips and similar chip sets validated the comparisons. Outside of OS X what we have is cutting edge cases: packaging. Apple is the mastery of packaging and marketing. Throw in a long standing and in some cases deserved following and the die is set.

      That isn't to say there is some value in packaging. Yet this what happens is that there is this great disconnect. I follow and post to various mac forums (being an owner on an iMac and two iPods does let me get away with it) where the same people who one day berate Alienware (insert name of any PC specialty maker) for charging high prices for essentially fancy cased machines will drag you into the dirt arguing why the case on the new "mac xxx" is so revolutionary that it deserves exception.

      The primary problem is that too many in the Mac community still fail to recognize that Apple isn't just about computers. They go out of their way to ignore the boards on the site dedicated to the iPhone and Touch. Yet from those products one can see why much of the Mac hardware is what it is. Is Apple big enough to create a multitude of products for both the Mac enthusiast and the music/phone consumer? Considering the state of Mac I think they aren't. While I laud them on continued extension of OS X I am really annoyed at the hardware I am forced to run it on. Apple goes to no end to stomp anyone trying to use their hardware or software in ways they don't approve yet at the same time refuse to fill the void that is being called out by these upstarts.

      Apple put themselves into the same position IBM was in, they have a common hardware platform in Mac with the rest of the PC world. Their market is ripe for a competitor. It is only a matter of time before one surfaces who doesn't just back down. Apple's reaction will be interesting once OS X cannot be held to just Apple made computers. Frankly they should license it to very specific ranges on computers to fill the void in their product line they refuse to fill themselves. Create a system of "OX X" certified with real enforcement. Will it happen, no but it is nice to dream.

      Macs are like Harley Davidson, only a fool buys them new. Get them used and save yourself the expense. Exploit the irrational expectations that some of the community have for having to have the newest item, this years new case. You will get a good machine and have the very same experience except you can look at your bank account and feel good about it.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Macs are like Harley Davidson, only a fool buys them new. Get them used and save yourself the expense."

        Well, you're a fool ONLY if you are limited in your financial resources.

        There are a lot of people out there with lots of disposable cash, even in these economic times. A few thousand dollars to drop is pocket change to them. So, it really is as easy for them to buy a new Harley or loaded Mac as it is for you to buy a slurpee at the local quickie mart.

        That's largely the segment that these companies are

        • by Hyppy (74366)

          That's largely the segment that these companies are marketing too....those and those just below them that 'wanna' be that wasteful.

          Fixed that for you. A better value is a better value, no matter what your level of disposable income. Just look at most self-made millionaires (there is an article somewhere on the Goog): they tend to drive their 10-year old midrange sedans into the ground because it makes more sense than spending 5-6 digits on "bling" every other year.

          • by RedK (112790)
            You say that as if there's no value in the design and esthetics of Apple computers. To some people, having a nice aluminium computer is more important than having a cheap plastic casing.
      • by BerntB (584621)

        Second hand Macs are expensive, AFAIK. Mechanical quality is high, etc but they mostly are quite expensive. but You pay for the UI and integration and the hourly cost is quite insignificant. Is it worth it? Depends on usage. My new Mac will be bad economy for me -- I mostly use Emacs, Ffox/Opera and bash.

        This is not a flame (I don't know you and have no idea how you are on average), but my honest opinion.
        The worst Mac fanatics I've seen under a decade are the extreme haters/trolls. They really go out of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by necro81 (917438)

        Outside of OS X what we have is cutting edge cases: packaging. Apple is the mastery of packaging and marketing

        you say that like it's nothing?

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'd differ on the point of OS X. OS X is one of the crown jewels that Apple has, and it can be argued that it as well as the iPod saved Apple from bankruptcy.

        OS X is one of the better operating systems out there. I can't think of any glaring weaknesses that are evident in the OS. One of the biggest arguments in its favor (and also applies to Linux, BSD, and other UNIX variants) is that companies who write for OS X understand the user/administrator privilege model and don't try to make every app on a syst

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phroggy (441)

        Macs are like Harley Davidson, only a fool buys them new. Get them used and save yourself the expense.

        As someone else pointed out, second-hand Macs tend to be expensive. I definitely recommend checking out the available options (the Clearance section on the Apple Store web site is great, and PowerMax is a reliable seller of used Apple products) but buying new is often a better option. I'm typing this on an iBook I bought used from a friend who was upgrading to a MBP, but the other three Macs I've owned were all new, and the older used models that were available at the time would not have been good options

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Macs are like Harley Davidson, only a fool buys them new.

        That's such an odd statement, as both Harleys and Macs are expensive to buy used. They have a premium over other used goods. You're not going to get a cheap used Mac unless you're willing to get something a couple of generations old. A used Honda? Sure, it starts losing value immediately. A used generic PC? Those are practically being given away.

    • by goodmanj (234846)

      Sorry, couldn't resist. ;-)

      I believe you have just committed a terrorist act. Deliberate forum sabotage is a dangerous game, my friend.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:09AM (#26797487) Journal
    After signing a contract with Michael Jackson to put the entire Beatles catalog on iTunes, he picked up his iPhone Nano to call Jay Z and confirm that he would be starting a record label with the rapper. At the same time he was trying to multi-task and he hit "send" on an e-mail firing Justin Lang from the "I'm a Mac" commercials on his $800 MacBook Pro. At that point he accidentally swallowed his iPhone Nano, choked on it and died.

    The scariest part? Watch the stock fluctuate to each of those headlines.
  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:19AM (#26797597)

    Apple products overview
    =======================
    Pros:
    - It looks cool
    - It sounds cool
    - It probably smells cool
    - It probably even tastes cool

    Cons:
    - It's expensive
    - It lacks features initially

    Any rumour about an Apple product where the details of the rumour fall outside this list is false.

    • by rarel (697734)

      Apple products overview
      =====================
      Pros:
      - It looks cool
      - It sounds cool
      - It probably smells cool
      - It probably even tastes cool

      Cons:
      - It's expensive
      - It lacks features initially

      What nerds actually gives a damn about:
      - Will it blend?

      Any rumour about an Apple product where the details of the rumour fall outside this list is false.

      TFTFY ;)

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      You forgot the last con:

      -for every Mac you buy, Steve Ballmer deflowers 4 virgins (with the same chair, simultaneously).

  • Clue: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NoTheory (580275) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:26AM (#26797687)
    Consumers don't care about apple rumors. They can't buy rumors.

    The only care about what products are available. Only fanbois and panicky investors care about rumors (normal investors should be in it for the long haul anyway).

    Sort of an interesting read on why we should ignore mac rumors (and mind you i own 4 macs in my house and use them for dev, so i love 'em just as much as anyone), but otherwise a pretty pointless piece of reading.

    I guess it's still better than idle.
    • I have to disagree. Some, like I, listen to the rumors to help drive their pruchasing decisions. For example, if I found out that Apple was going to release a faster Mini, or drop the price on the iMac, or release an 64GB iPhone; depending on my goals, I may wait to make a purchase to get that 64GB version or wait until so the 32GB price drops.

      I have people all the time who are considering a new computer (or are considering making the switch) talk to me, and sometimes I can say "I've heard they are releas
    • Consumers don't care about apple rumors. They can't buy rumors.

      The only care about what products are available. Only fanbois and panicky investors care about rumors (normal investors should be in it for the long haul anyway).

      Apple's core consumers (no pun intended... also, a half decent name for a band) ARE fanbois.

      And as for buying or selling rumors - read any blogs lately?

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        Apple's core consumers (no pun intended... also, a half decent name for a band) ARE fanbois.

        Not any more. These days, Apple's core customer is a 14-year-old girl, begging her parents for an iPod Nano.

  • Maybe the reason is that there are more reporters who specialized in Apple products than actual engineers to develop them?

  • ... until the moment it appears on the Apple Store.

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7 AT kc DOT rr DOT com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @11:09AM (#26798233) Homepage

    This was a whole lot easier before The Woz joined Dancing with the Stars, now it seems the reality line has blurred.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...it's wrong.

  • FTFS:

    In recent years, fact-based reporting about Apple and its products has been almost completely overwhelmed by gossip, predictions, and speculation -- an amazing percentage of which is embarrassingly wrong.

    This has been going on for a long time [misterbg.org].

  • by iJed (594606)

    Generally anything predicted by these so called analysts is almost certainly fantasy and is usually quite obviously so.

    Some of the rumor sites (such as Apple Insider and MacRumors) have a better track record but even then are often wrong.

  • by Xtravar (725372) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @11:24AM (#26798449) Homepage Journal

    I hope the rumor about the clam shell iPhone is true... I want an iPhone (mainly for work reasons), but having a bare screen on an expensive device is kinda like... not wearing a jock strap while playing football.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      That's why I have mine in an easy-access case.

      Oh damn, is that me perpetuating the cycle that Apple users just "work around" the perfection-in-design laid out by Steve?

      (Although to be truly accurate, I dislike phones with hinges or sliding doors, so I like the form factor of the iPhone a lot, but I can see how people would like to have a way to open it out when in use to keep the screen protected).

    • by goodmanj (234846)

      having a bare screen on an expensive device is kinda like...jock strap while playing football.

      If Apple made an iQuarterback, it would have stainless steel testicles. In my experience as a serious electronics abuser, nothing short of a belt sander will damage an iPhone screen.

  • Any rumour about Apple opening up OS/X for use on generic PCs, is ALWAYS false.

    Wanting will not make it so. Repeat after me:
    Apple is a hardware company.
    Apple is a hardware company.
    Apple is a hardware company.
    Apple is a hardware company.

    Keep repeating until you figure out why they will not sell you OS/X for your white box PC.

    • Apple is a hardware company. Keep repeating until you figure out why they will not sell you OS/X for your white box PC.

      I'm sorry, but that's bs. They're not JUST a hardware company. Hell, it's deabtable if they're even *primarily* a hardware company.

      See, they also sell software.

      You can buy it without buying hardware.

      Some of it you can download for free.

      Some of it is even cross platform.

      As a matter of fact, there are very few items of Apple hardware that you can buy without Apple software. A few peripherals, and that's about it.

      Every ipod comes with Apple software built in, and is useless without iTunes - yet mo

    1. Go outside, etc.
    2. Wait for Apple to officially announce the next doohickey.

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?

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