Now I will admit that I am an Apple fan boy, but when it comes to beautifully designed computers Apple is the one that hits the mark. Now most of their computers are pretty wonderful, but I think there are two that were absolutely the best.
This first computer was introduced in 2002 and was a ground breaking design for computers of that era. To be honest the computer looked like something from the future and something not even close to anything being put into production at the time. I still think that even today nothing will look more beautiful and more futuristic than it.
I am talking of course about the iMac G4. This was the first Apple Computer to have a flat screen LCD screen integrated into the design. And boy did they integrate it. I also have to say the clear plastic on the edges if the screen and the speakers and on the key board just made this product look so clean and just all around awesome. But they didn’t just give the people a flat LCD screen but put it on a chrome arm that rotated on the dome base! Holy crap! It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I bought one recently from someone and I play around with it so much that I forget that it’s a computer. And who could forget the playful hidden CD tray than came out of the front, it was to die for. The iMac G4 had personality that you just didn’t find in PC’s made by Dell, Gateway, Toshiba, or IBM. And that’s whats makes this computer my favorite out if them all. Now the screen attached to the arm fell out of the next design mainly because there was no need for it other than aesthetics. The biggest problem I had with it was getting to the actual computer itself. To upgrade anything other than basic RAM and Hard drive needs, it was a huge hassle and extra care on your part.
The second computer design that came out of Apple that rocked my world was something I would have bought before the Mac Mini had I known about it. The Mac Mini G4 was the first Apple Computer I ever bought and man did I love it, but before that ultra-compact desktop computer was made with a G4 chip…there was another. The G4 chip was implanted within a cube…a G4 Cube. This looked so neat when Steve Jobs revealed it in 2000, but when you first look at this you laugh and think, “what the hell did they make a toaster for?”
The G4 Cube was designed to be compact and run quietly, which were both accomplished. The computer ran without a fan by using air flow from the top than ran through the cube and out the base. A convection based cooling system…truly genius. Another awesome feature was the ability to access the entire computer by flipping it over, pressing on a handle, and pulling it out! And the CD-ROM drive was on top of the computer which made it look even more like a toaster and gave it some personality. But this extremely accessible computer was bound to have some problems. For starters all of the ports are on the bottom…that wasn’t a very good idea in anyway, shape, or form. Another thing that killed it was you had to buy a monitor for it when it was already very expensive and the current PowerPC G4 tower was the better option. In the summer of 2001 the project was put on ice and would later resurface with it’s more successful cousin, the Mac Mini.
I always follow the philosophy of form follows function in my design and I think most of the people at Apple probably do the same since the are building functional computers that also look like works of art. But obviously with some of the form choices some of the functions won’t function as smooth as intended. The G4 Cube had a beautiful form, but poor functionality. The iMac G4 had both good form and function.