The Northern Spy
CUPERTINO, California--Apple today announced the release of a new package designed to enhance its "digital hub" strategy. Bearing the name iGeekLife, the new offering combines hardware and software components, some entirely new to the industry, and all of which will position Apple for dominance in a variety of digital sectors.
Noted brokerage agency Meryl and Finch immediately raised Apple's stock to "significantly outperform" and set a target price of $200.
Hardware Components of iGeekLife:
iPlanetoid is the lynchpin of a new interface between Macintosh computers and the rest of the world. Connected to the Mac via both FireWire800 and USB 2.0 the egg-shaped device has breakout interfaces for FireWire, USB, MIDI, VOIP, game ports, T-video I/O and ADB. "iPlanetoid can connect anything. It's the spokes, front fork and framework for our digital hub," enthused Esther ("Hubba-Hubba") Abbott, Apple's newly appointed associate vice president of interfaces.
What to connect to your shiny new iPlanetoid? Try aiPodaPhone, a sleek new folding wireless device with QWERTY keyboard and control wheel, 640 by 640 screen,120G drive, and running a full OS X. The aiPodaPhone is a combination wireless cellphone/modem, Palm-killer PDA and (wait for it) iPod, all rolled into one. Why the prefix "ai" rather than just "i"? The device contains a sensitive circuit that learns to associate your moods with whom you call or what you play. Once taught, it automatically tries to dial the right person and/or play the appropriate music to match the owner's current state of mind.
When not recumbent in the iPlanetoid cradle, alternate connectivity is available via Apple's new GreenTooth, successor to the older and slower BlueTooth. Kids need to ask for one of these the next time they put an incisor under their pillow.
aiPodaPhone will be backed up by iSat, Apple's recently launched satellite network system that already allows wireless desktop access to remote content and will now provide the infrastructure for the new portable communications units. No official at either company could be induced to comment on street speculation of a possible buyout by Apple of struggling AT&T. On the other hand, the Spy does give some credence to the rumour Apple plans to buy NASA so they can vertically integrate satellite hardware engineering from planning through product deployment and maintenance. Reportedly Steve Jobs will rename Cape Canaveral, calling it the iPad and using it for future product launches.
"You ain't seen nothing yet," Abbott gushed. "The iSat networked iPodaPhone is only the first of many exciting new toys we will release for Apple's loyal geeks." Although Abbott declined later comment, rumour has it that within minutes of the iGeekLife announcement Apple shut down three web sites speculating on other products and launched suits against their creators, one reportedly a six-year-old-girl. Reached by the Spy for his reaction, Steve Wozniak confirmed that he had offered to pay the girl's legal fees." "This is the most honesty on the iPlanetoid I've seen," he told us.
Don't tip Apple legal, but the Spy has it on good authority that one of the upcoming products is iVirtual, a combination of virtual reality glasses, earphones and gloves that, among other things, allows wearers to use a PC but have sight, sound, and touch translated on the fly so the user actually experiences Mac OS X. Special circuitry would automatically send some 70 000 w*nt*l viruses and trojan horses to dev/null, ensuring the virtual reality simulation is true-to-life. The chief target audience is frustrated business igeeks forced to use inferior computers at work who may now subversively comply with IT wishes, getting their jobs done while undergoing transformative computing experiences.
On the Software Side
is a new suite of applications built on the underlying aiEngine and designed to make life easier for the yuggie. First out of the box is
GarageCam, a revolutionary new program that not only reads formatted text aloud in any of a dozen user-selectable voices, but also produces animated videos directly from the text. "GarageCam," said Abbott (emphasizing the italics as she spoke), "will revolutionize the way book authors and playwrights work." Asked about the potentially disruptive effects on hospital routines of animated medical reports, Abbott refused comment except to observe that "in any paradigm shift the end results can be different from what anyone expected along the way. That includes us."
MyWord! is Apple's long awaited full-blown writing tool. Built from the ground up with the latest in state-of-the-art DWIM technology, MyWord! is capable of taking the writer's outline of a letter, term paper, or Broadway play and automatically fleshing it out to a finished work. The Spy found the resulting prose somewhat wooden but gave it higher grades than just over half his student papers. With the addition of corrective "hints" supplied to first iteration, the program was capable of significant improvements on subsequent passes. Apparently a later version will include the capacity to test the output on author-selected virtual audiences and rewrite the work to accommodate the feedback. A second draft submitted to oft-hoaxed vanity press PublishAmerica scored a contract offer by return eMail.
Meanwhile, aiMuse does for music and poetry what MyWord! does for prose. Enter a few descriptive words or hum a tune into the iPlanetoid-enabled iMicrophone subunit and aiMuse will produce anything from Haiku to a fully orchestrated pop music complete with appropriate lyrics. By midmorning of the first hour following release of iGeekLife, the four hundred twenty three top-selling iTunes were generated by aiMuse. Shrugging disinterest, Abbott declined to respond to a question about the future of the conventional music industry.
Apple also introduced a sample plug-in to take advantage of the suite's tight integration. Termed iKeanote, the programmette takes a slide presentation and assembles from its various parts both the speech text and a video recording of the author reading same, obviating the necessity for speakers to attend conference meetings. Since the typical attendee has already deduced the real reasons for conferencing at vacation destinations, most iKeanote output is expected to be played wirelessly to their Planetoid units for recording while the owners lounge poolside.
CodeBuster is iGeekLife's third aiEngine-enabled software component. As delivered, it has two operating modes (though others can be added via its extensible architecture). In "forward" mode it takes advantage of the myWord! engine. Feed CodeBuster a problem specification and it churns out analysis, documentation, and finished code in the user's choice of Modula-2, Object Pascal, or Objective C, then compiles the code to machine language and tests the output against the original specifications. "Apple has generously decided to leave intermediate generation plug-ins for handle lesser languages to third parties," Abbott replied in response to a question on Apple's output choices.
CodeBuster's "reverse" mode is even more interesting. Supply it with finished machine code, and it will generate first a fully commented and documented high level language source, then the planning documents and problem specification for which the code was the solution. "No one will have to write a line of code again," Abbott told the Spy in an exclusive after-the-press-conference interview.
Seen in Passing
Flash: The Spy has just learned that SCO has written a CodeBuster plug-in to scan the entire code base of Linux and compare with SCO's UNIX. "If we find just six consecutive characters in common anywhere in the two, we'll have the smoking gun we need to bring down IBM," enthused SCO Senior VP of lawsuits April Fu.
--The Northern Spy
Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Trinity Western University. He's written two textbooks and several novels, one of which was named best in the science fiction genre for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.
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