Newsletter #442 Preview: Are Mac Styles in a Rut?

May 18th, 2008

Although Apple has the reputation of delivering cutting-edge designs, particularly when it comes to the iPod and iPhone, they’ve been extremely conservative with their personal computers.

The most radical styling exercise was probably the first flat-panel iMac, with its flower-pot base and articulated swinging arm. In retrospect, it wasn’t a barn burner when it came to sales, particularly when you compare it to the original pear-shaped iMacs.

Today’s iMac, though elegant in its aluminum clad fittings, is actually pretty conservative. It’s basically a stylish computer display with the guts carefully inserted in a way that doesn’t add significantly to its bulk. Aside from moving from plastic to aluminum, however, recent styling exercises for the iMac have been minimal.

The always-forgotten Mac mini was a neat variant on the PC theme, using basic note-book parts in a case that struck some as half a Cube. I suppose Steve Jobs can’t get away from that design, since it’s been duplicated in large part with the Apple TV, AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.

In fact, a recent suggestion for a mid-range expandable Mac desktop calls for a thicker version of the Mac mini. But doesn’t that simply get you a Cube all over again?

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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