With the introduction of the amazing new "Apple Pro Keyboard"
(welcome back, full-sized keys) and the "Apple Pro Mouse" by Apple
at Macworld New York, came something so new, so different,
amazing - the new Power Macintosh G4
Cube. Yes, it's only about 8" square. Yes it's a G4. Yes, it
does look like the NeXT Cube (well, sort of, it is a Mac, it's
silver, and it's only a small fraction of the size of the
This new computer is most likely Steve Jobs' idea, almost a
reincarnation of his NeXT Cube. The G4 Cube is essentially a
monitorless iMac with a G4 processor and several other options. All
you have to do to use it is plug in the power adapter, plug in the
monitor, plug in your phone line (and/or ethernet network), and
turn it on. That is four steps to set up your new G4 Cube.
Pretty easy for a supercomputer.
After you have bought tons of PCI cards for your new computer,
figuring it must have at least three slots, you will look at the
back and notice there are none. No PCI slots. There go your plans
to use all those new cards, and there go quite a few people
possibly interested in the new G4 Cube. They are doing what they
did to the Macintosh IIsi and LC back in 1990, purposely crippling it so it
doesn't hurt the sales of the faster models, in this case the
The G4 Cube does come with some great improvements, like the new
Apple display cable, which integrates all of the previous cables
into one that plugs right into the back of your computer. You may
be wondering what that little slot in the top is. No, it's not for
toast. It's for a DVD or CD! The new G4 Cube has a CD drive mounted
vertically so that you can just drop your CDs in like it was toast
going in a toaster. Pretty cool.
The G4 Cube also features a separate power supply, which reduces
case size. It, like the iMac, uses Apple's "special" air cooling
system, which means no fan, just a bunch of slots on the top (hello
out there, Apple, remember the 128, 512, and Plus? They had slots too, yet still
overheated). The parts that tend to get warm are positioned around
a centre column with vents at the top. The G4 Cube comes complete with new digital stereo
speakers from Harmon/Kardon.
After thinking about all its features, you might be wondering,
"Who the heck is gonna buy this thing?" It's for those who buy for
looks, those who bought the Twentieth
Anniversary Macintosh and the Macintosh TV, those who want the coolest
looking thing on their desk.
If you want to be practical, you can buy a much more expandable
G4 for $1,599, so the G4 Cube is
just not worth buying. Without the PCI slots, it is a Mac IIsi with
a high price.
Mac of the Day: Centris 610, introduced 1993.02.10. This was the Mac we used when we started Low End Mac in 1997.
May 23 in LEM history: 00: A computer I understood - 01: Mac: A dream fulfilled - 02: PowerKey - 03: 12" PowerBook better than 15" TiBook - 05: The First Macs - 06: What's in your workspace? - Picking the right laptop - Sun has set on the G4 - 06: Running your notebook using flash memory - 08: MacBook holds its own against Dell and HP