Exclusive: Apple Plasma Displays to Rock MWSF (is this the Apple television?)

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Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 12:22
Category: Apple TV, Macworld Expo, Television

[Note: This post was originally published on January 6, 2006.]

A funny thing happened when I walked into the convenience store this morning: as I was grabbing my usual breakfast sandwich (sausage, egg and cheese on a english muffin if you must know) from the warming rack at Wawa (a favorite shop for those in PA/NJ) the guy re-stocking the rack whispered something to me. I was wearing my Apple logo’d sweatshirt, so he says “so you like Apples, huh?” to which I replied “yeah…” not knowing where he was going.

He went on to tell me that he had a friend who had a friend who knew something about a new and special Apple announcement that was going to be made on Tuesday’s Macworld Expo keynote address in San Francisco. Sandwich Man (not his real name) elaborated that this was an announcement that he hadn’t seen reported anywhere on the Web. Intrigued, I asked him for more…

Sandwich Man proceeded to tell me that Apple was about to rock the consumer electronics world again with an entirely new product line that they’ve never sold before. After some prodding he told me that Apple would announce two new widescreen HDTV plasma displays at Tuesday’s keynote address at Moscone.

“Plasma HDTVs?” I yelped.

“Not so loud,” Sandwich man replied.

“The shift manager is the former Asteroid PM from Apple and I don’t want him to hear me!”

We shuffled over to the coffee bar where I pressed him for more. He went on to say that Apple would release 42 and 50-inch widescreen plasma HDTVs loaded with DVI-HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) and VGA Inputs.

Most will shiver at the thought of built-in HDCP because it limits the capabilities of their products. Sandwich man tells me that “High-definition digital video content is restricted to DVD quality on non-HDCP video outputs.” Bummer.

“But why?” I ask.

“Because it’s more than a run-of-the-mill plasma” he says.

Walking over to the prepared foods area he mumbles that the new plasma displays are powered by Intel’s newly announced Viiv multimedia technology as he pretends to re-organize the salads. Picking up a chicken, cherry and walnut salad (my other favorite Wawa item) he mentions that it will run Mac OS 10.4.4 for x86.

Almost dropping my Ken’s salad dressing, I exclaim “No way!”

“Way” sandwich man says.

I can tell he’s getting nervous telling me so much, especially now that a few of his co-workers notice that he’s been talking to me for a while. Nervously he asks me “Would you like me to ring that up for you, sir?” I play along and walk with him over to the register.

“How much will they be?” I ask.

“$25.99 and $32.99″ he mutters.

“For a sandwich and a salad?!” I practically yell.

“No. Ahhh, just forget it man” he says in disgust.

“You don’t get it, do you?”

Mildly confused I ask him if there’s anything else he can spill about the new plasmas. Sandwich Man nervous stuffs a few soft pretzels into my bag and tells me that the new sets will feature built-in Bluetooth and Airport technology. “… and the new 12-button remote with LCD display will blow you away” he says.

“Will it include a keyboard and mouse?” I ask.

Rubbing his thumb and index finger together tells me that these will cost extra, in Sandwich Man code.

Not wanting to wear out my welcome, I thank him and grease him with a little New Year’s present (the least I could do). As I walk away he says something really bizarre:

“Hey AirMac, I’ll see you on Tuesday!”

Whatever that means…

Apple television mockup: Tabletis.com

Update 2006-0106: The story has been has 1,000+ Diggs and 140+ Digg comments!

REVIEW: Garmin StreetPilot 2720 Portable GPS (Updated)

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Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 11:34
Category: Consumer Electronics

Garmin StreetPilot 2720As an unabashed gadget geek, there’s one toy that I’ve managed to resist for years: GPS. You see, I have this weird thing about commuting – I don’t like it. No, let me make that clearer, I detest it. Sitting in traffic or spending a lot of time driving across creation is one of my least favorite things to do. So much so that I’d rather move closer to the office than commute.
Because of my short commutes (usually between 10 and 20 minutes) I’ve never really had the need for a GPS system. I know where I’m going because I drive the same route every day. But reading Rob Parker’s review of the Quest 2 from Garmin on 14 November got me thinking that maybe there’s something to this whole GPS thing after all.
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REVIEW: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

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Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 09:53
Category: Mobile Phone

Motorola ROKR iTunes PhoneThere was a point in time where I carried around three plus electronic devices at a time and loved it – and that was before the invention of the portable MP3 player. Sure, I could be described as a geek, but at times it was part of my job.
Like may people, I have greatly simplified what I like to carry around and an MP3 player has quickly zoomed to the top of that list. Carrying a mobile phone has become a necessity. Carrying around a Palm organizer/PDA has slipped down the list, but staying organized with my calendar and contacts is still a priority. Am I really supposed to carry around three devices in my bag? Arguably, I am a good candidate for one of these devices that combines phone, music, and organization, in that order.
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