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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

The Beatles Box Sets – the Packaging

I received my Beatles Box sets by FedEx today.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet – and I only really care how they sound – but I did open them and want to share a few impressions on how they are packaged.

First some background.  There are two Beatles box sets (i.e., The Beatles Stereo Box Set and The Beatles Mono Box Set).  One contains the stereo mixes, and the other the mono.  Several people have asked me why I would want the mono recordings.  The mono mixes are interesting because they were the top priority back when these recordings were originally released.  Great care was taken to get these mono mixes right.  The stereo mixes took a backseat.  They got less attention, and the Beatles / George Martin weren’t always directly involved.  So does this only matter to audiophiles?  I don’t think so.  In many cases, the stereo mixes involve different source tracks – e.g., the vocal or guitar are just different.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the mono set is way nicer than the stereo one.  Remember though, these are non-audio opinions – I’ll post those later. 

Stereo Set

I first opened the stereo set and was struck by a few things:

  1. The whole box is inside of a paper sleeve that looks just like the box.  My first thought was “am I supposed to put it back in that sleeve or throw the sleeve in the recycling?”  I’d rather there were no sleeve.
  2. Inside the box, the discs are stacked in two piles.  You can’t get any but the top one out without pulling out the whole stack.  Kind of lame.
  3. Each disc is in its own shrink-wrap.  Why?
  4. The covers have a white stripe and the Apple / The Beatles logo on them.
  5. No extra book, though there is a documentary disc.
  6. No Sgt. Pepper cutout sheet (though included as a page in the booklet).

All in all, I’m thinking they should have done better. 

Mono Set

  1. The sleeve is sturdy cardboard and slides off of the inner box.
  2. Once the sleeve is off, all of the discs’ spines are available to pull out the one you want.
  3. Each disc is in its own resealable wrapper. 
  4. The covers are replicas of the original releases.  No superfluous Apple logos on pre-Apple records.
  5. A nice book that talks about the mono recordings and goes into details on the “Mono Masters” disc that is included.
  6. The Sgt. Pepper cutout sheet.

Simple, yes, but much nicer than the Stereo.

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Apple vs. Cisco

John and I spent too much time this morning talking about what actually happened regarding the iPhone mark.  The Cisco PR blog states their part, though we’ll have to wait and see the whole truth when it all comes to light.

Here are a few possibilities in the wild conjecture category:

Big publicity stunt

Under this theory, they have agreed to something already, but want the publicity surrounding a possible dispute.

John favors this one.  I don’t.  Apple doesn’t need this kind of publicity and (I don’t think) would go for it even if Cisco insisted.  I don’t really think either company would behave so disingenuously.

Cisco changed the terms at the last minute

In this scenario, Apple and Cisco work together (in good faith or not) to come to terms, but Cisco overreaches at the last minute.  By this point, Jobs has to make a decision: put off the announcement of the product (as there is on way to change the collateral at such a late date) or run with it and let the chips fall where they may.  If / when Cisco protects their mark with a suit (which of course, they did), Apple makes a case for damage done to Apple by Cisco pulling out at the last minute.

This scenario is not supported by Cisco’s blog.

Apple thinks the trademark doesn’t apply

They try to work with Cisco on this, but ultimately don’t think the mark applies.  So, they decide to go with it.  The only way to resolve such a trademark dispute (without an agreement between the parties) is to use the mark and see what happens next.  Lawsuit?  OK, deal with it in court.

This seems the most likely considering given Apple Spokesman Alan Hely comment: “We think Cisco’s trademark lawsuit is silly” (from here).

I want to say again that this is all wild conjecture.  I am not claiming either Apple or Cisco is at fault here, though it looks like one of them is.

My guess is the next thing we’ll see is Apple Corps suing Apple over their name change (from Apple Computer to Apple).

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