Apple Introduces a Line of iBooks For Him

by Ron Krabbies
November 26, 1999

Since its introduction last summer, Apple's effeminate iBook has been a clear best-seller among little girls age 7-12. Fashioned after a Hello Kitty purse Steve Jobs reportedly saw in a store window and fell in love with, the iBook has a curvy, candy-colored case and a nifty carrying handle perfect for little hands and weak girly arms. It sports a super-sharp 8-inch active matrix screen, 8 megs of RAM (expandable to 16), a 92 MHz Motorola processor, and comes with Barbie Fashion Designer and Strawberry Shortcake's Productivity Suite pre-loaded. The unit has been a hot seller thanks to its sub-$5000 price tag.

Having sold two iBooks in the last six months, one to nine-year-old Jennifer Haines and the other to eleven-year-old Sally Cooters, Apple now is going after the often-ignored male market with a "souped-up line of laptops that will be more man-friendly," according to Apple interim CEO and Barefoot Messiah, Steve Jobs.

"We want to create a line of portables that guys will be proud to show off in the board room or the sports bar," Jobs told a crowd of Mac enthusiasts at this year's AppleByte Conference in Palo Alto, CA. "We want to continue to build on Apple's already strong reputation for color and style, while opening up computing to males, who are sometimes overlooked."

That's a tough task to undertake in an industry that has long been almost exclusively dominated by women. It's sadly well-known that since the beginning of computing, most computers have been designed by women, for women, while men and boys have been left out in the digital cold, told to go build things and lift weights while their sisters and wives studied mathematics and programmed software. With Jobs' recent announcement at AppleByte, that could all change if Apple successfully opens a door for males through its portable computer market.

After a brief introduction period in which the audience at AppleByte was subjected to mind-altering peyote gas and given shots of tequila, Jobs unveiled the new line of iBooks For Him to the ooohs and aaahs of the freshly loyal Mac users in attendance. The iBook For Him Basic, which sports a 350 MHz Motorola Processor, a 9-inch active matrix screen and Mr. Beezle Bub's Shaving Pro 2000 software, dons a boxy black case and a fold-out make-up mirror on the top, "for shaving with Mr. Beezle Bub," explained Jobs. The unit will retail for $3999, a USB port and space bar can be added for an extra $50.

The iBook For Him Plus cranks up the processor speed to 400 MHz and adds another inch to the active matrix screen, "perfect for guys who want to show that theirs is bigger," quipped Jobs. In addition to Mr. Beezle Bub's Shaving Pro 2000, the Plus model comes with Raggedy Andy's Little Black Book contact manager software and a Hot Wheels desktop theme. The case is a three-tone black, silver and gray, and includes a zipper pouch on the side, "for condoms," according to Jobs. The Plus will retail for $4999 and includes both a space bar and a USB port.

Finally, the iBook For Him Pro Plus Extreme, for guys who want to show off the latest and greatest in manly Apple technology, comes with a macho 450 MHz Motorola processor, a beefy 64 megs of RAM and a robust 9.5-inch active matrix screen. The unit ships bundled with all the same software found in the Plus model, in addition to a Backstreet Boys spreadsheet application and guy-friendly games such as DakinCo's "Garfield's Great Lasagna Hunt" and BoysToo Software's "G.I. Joe Fights Sexual Harassment and Prejudice". The case is an industrial polished aluminum and titanium compound and features hard lines and sharp corners. A USB swiss army knife is also included, and there is a small drawer for survival gear and a compass.

All three models in the For Him line include simple pictorial setup instructions and on-screen wizards to help walk guys through their computing experience. Most of the wizards feature "Mr. McMann," a robotic cowboy character who lends a helping hand and a dose of dirty humor that Apple feels guys need to help them relate to computing and see how it could be relevant to them. "We are almost beginning a new millennium," Jobs reminded the audience, who had forgotten, "and it's time America stopped shutting its boys out of science and technology." The physical design and color scheme of the new iBooks belies this mission. Gone are the curvy, colorful days of computing's vaginocratic past, replaced with dark, manly colors and rectangular form factors that appeal to men and boys.

Some in the industry, however, don't share Jobs' noble vision of a future where boys can use computers on par with girls. Semi-retarded PC Computing columnist John C. Dvorak commented on Thursday's Silicon Spin that "Jobs lives in some sort of fantasy universe parallel to our own where nothing quite makes any sense and clowns probably pilot space shuttles," while Leo laporte of ZDTV's Screen Savers said, "Jobs has finally lost it…and Mac users are following him to the nut house by the hundreds."

What these people don't understand is that Apple thinks different. Jobs has a vision that many of the old-guard in the industry find crazy, nutty and fruity, like a delicious bowl of Apple Jacks*. But the high tech industry is built on innovation and revolution, not stagnation and sedimentation. Apple has dared to dream a bold dream of a future where a boy can grow up to be the CEO of a high tech company and a man can use an Apple computer without feeling it's an indication of diminutive penis size. And for those efforts, I for one applaud Apple and stand behind the bold decision to market computers to males.

It's about fuckin' time.

* * *

Ron Crabbies writes from the New Bedlam Home for the Incontinent and owns voting shares in Apple Computers.

*Apple Jacks Cereal is a product of General Mills, Inc., and is not affiliated with Apple Computers.

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