Apple WWDC: The 64-Bit Question
In the eye of a speculative storm, what's the likeliest scenario for Apple's biggest platform shift since the original Power Mac?As we count down the days until the launch of Apple Computer Inc.s freshly refurbished Worldwide Developers Conference, the level of Mac intrigue seems to have reached yet another high-water mark across old and new media. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the companys user base, the appeal of its product design, its underdog status in the platform warsand its own penchant for secrecyApples next moves have long inspired a level of interest out of all proportion with its market share. And on the eve of a rumored harmonic convergence between Mac OS X and 64-bit computing, the Mac grapevine has twisted into even more complex shapesfueled, ironically, by an anti-rumor campaign thats been draconian even by Apples high standards. Back before the Internet boom, when my old alma mater MacWEEK cornered the market on unsanctioned Apple dish in the era of Sculley, Spindler and Amelio, the picture was clearer. We were the main U.S. outlet for advance info on the company and platform; hence, the provenance of most reporting was clear, and accountability was easy to assign. Apple might not have welcomed all of our reporting, but we were a known quantity and a discrete force to be reckoned with.
Even then, we had to be careful about an "echo effect" when our own stories-in-progress were repeated back to us as confirmation. I remember placing a call one evening to Japan about reports Id heard of a new Apple laser printer based on a Fuji-Xerox engine, then hearing the same details the next morning from a source on the East Coast. I was excited to have received confirmation of the facts (as well as some speculation Id ventured about the new printers positioning)until I gleaned that my second source had received his information from the Japanese contact Id phoned 12 hours earlier.