Apple’s G4 Cube Re-imagined: 2018 Edition

I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting lately, and it’s hard to believe that the G4 Cube is turning 18 later this year and that it’s now been over 8 years since one of my earliest articles was published, Reimagining the Mac Cube for the Intel Era.

Here’s my 2010 rendition of what the Cube could have looked like modernized for that era:

2013 Mac Pro

Mac Pro, 2013 – present

Considering the “trash can” 2013 Mac Pro (so nicknamed by many as it’s profile looks like a small waste receptacle), Apple did make an effort to address the lack of design and innovation since those “Think Different” days and tried to modernize their professional desktop line with a unique cylindrical design that relied on external expansion – like the G4 Cube – but the idea seemingly has fallen flat, with many professional users ultimately holding onto their old Mac Pro towers and adding internal upgrades due to the cost of buying into an entirely new form factor, while losing a great deal of expansion.

Mac Pro, 2006-2012

The only trouble with that beautiful design is that everything is basically now on the outside of the case. All of those wires and external components make for a bit more clunky experience, despite all the extra muscle you are getting under the hood and the fully dedicated flash storage (that runs much faster than the average solid state drive).

Then there’s the cost factor – as much as I like what Apple did with the Mac Pro to make it fresh in 2013, it’s taking away too much of the modular abilities and upgrade potential compared to the old tower units from 2012 and prior to justifying its high price point.

G4 Cube

2000-2001

This brings me to today, where the modern Mac Pro feels more like the G4 Cube did in its day (pricy and cool, but lacking in internal expansion options), except power users don’t have the option to buy a modern tower design.

Perhaps it’s time for Apple to rethink its strategy slightly? Maybe the Mac Pro that we see today becomes a mid-range desktop model without monitor (sorry iMac), while the Mini remains as the budget option and a modernized version of the G4 Cube arrives, bringing the latest and greatest with a return to some of the internal modular expansion capacity the old tower Mac Pros provided?

I see a modern Cube with room for dual internal 2.5″ SATA SSDs, plus the onboard dual card flash storage the new Mac Pro has along with an open full-sized 16x PCIe 2.0 GPU slot and 2x open standard PCIe slots. Thrown in a SATA 9.5mm optical drive with toaster slot just like the old days, and you are all set to turn this into one of the coolest home theater and designer pieces of the modern era. The best part about all of this is that, through some of the latest advancements, you could have an onboard GPU integrated into the logic board that would allow for a silent operation mode just like the original G4 Cube intended to provide.

That would still be small enough to pack into the 8″ Cube form factor while providing for lots of modern external expansion options.

Hardware:

  • Haswell i7 CPU at

Ports/connectivity/open bays:

  • 2x Thunderbolt 2.0 ports on the front
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports on the front
  • Integrated SDXC and a new proprietary flash storage expansion card slot on the front.
  • 1x FireWire 800 on the rear
  • 2x USB 3.0 on the rear
  • Loading BD-XL drive with Apple Blu-ray Player software

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