Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: September

It doesn’t really matter what Apple did or released this month, since September 2008 will go down in infamy as the month of the bloody awful Microsoft adverts. First we had this mini masterpiece staring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld:

Unfortunately, the campaign was cancelled before the third instalment in the planned trilogy materialised. Then we had this simply stunning homage to Apple’s own ‘Mac vs. PC’ adverts:

Google’s Chrome browser appeared with a little comic book but no OS X version, despite being based on the Apple-sponsored open source WebKit. Sergey Brin would later describe this as “embarrassing,” bless him. The nightly builds of WebKit passed the Acid 3 browser tests, while Safari’s share of the browser market continued to increase, in part due to the iPhone version.

The plaudits for Apple’s top brass continued to pile up, with Steve Jobs making #4 — and Jonny Ive #70 — in Vanity Fair’s ‘100 Leaders of the Information Age’ list. But there was no love for Kane Kramer, who it turns out invented the iPod back in 1979. After helping Apple with the legal case, all he had to show for his efforts — apart from a doubtlessly generous consultancy fee — was a complimentary iPod which broke after eight months. (Although I suppose he should be grateful it didn’t burst into flames.)

OS X 10.5.5 and Adobe Creative Suite 4 were both released, as was Spore, which turned out to be a bit disappointing after the novelty of creating races of walking penises wore off.

Fresh from backing down to China, iTunes was in for more flak from both Frank Zappa’s window — whose beef appeared to be the use of lossy compression — and AC/DC — who had a new album out and so needed the publicity to counter general apathy among the music-buying public.

But the big news of the month came at Apple’s September the 9th ‘Let’s Rock’ special event. The new nanochromatic iPod Nanos were unveiled, looking just like Internet heartthrob Kevin Rose said they would. The new design marked a return to their original long-and-thin form factor, with wide screen and shake-to-shuffle gimmick. Also launched were the new iPod Touch — which we were later to discover is really a bit of a screamer in the CPU department — and a very slightly revamped iPod Classic. iTunes 8 was released, with a new visualiser and the Genius Playlist feature, which analyses your music library and then recommends which songs you should buy next from iTunes. The iPod shuffle also got updated colours to make them look more than ever like Opal Fruits Starbursts. All in all this represented a solid evolution of the entire iPod line. Apple’s share price fell on the news.

But no sooner was one special event over and done with then rumours started about another in October, focused on the MacBook range. Oh, and the The Beatles on iTunes rumours reappeared. Would anything come of these? Tune in again tomorrow — same Mac time, same Mac channel — to find out.

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