Mac Happens

Wanted: Custom iMacs

1999.09.14 - Evan Kleiman

"All you get is 32 megs of RAM? Only a 6 gigabyte hard drive? But I want more!" you say when you order your iMac.

Many people I know, including me, have said this when buying a new iMac. For many, the iMac has several shortcomings and flaws. However, fewer people have complained about problems when ordering a Power Mac G3 or G4. Why are so many more people satisfied with them than an iMac? The answer is simple: more choices.

When you go to the Apple Store, at <http://store.apple.com>, and order a G3 or G4, you get your choice of a few different models. If you don't like these models, you can mix and match configurations to create your dream computer.

So I suggest that Apple make built-to-order iMacs. You go to their site, pick your color, software, hard drive, etc. Of course, they could also have a few base configurations to start out with.

First, a low end model, complete with a 300 MHz processor, a 6 gig hard drive, and 32 megs of RAM. This would be plenty for a student, or a simple workstation. (Sound familiar? It's today's iMac scaled back to 300 MHz.)

Another model could be a little faster, with a target audience of game players. It would have a 366 MHz processor, 64 megs of RAM, and a better video card. An ATI Rage 128 with 16 megs of VRAM perhaps. Also, possibly include a game pad to go along with it.

Next, a third model with power users in mind. This should have a 400 MHz processor. Maybe 64 megs of RAM, and an 8 gigabyte drive. A 16 or 17 inch monitor might also be in line.

The last model I would suggest is an upper end model for graphic designers who don't really want to spend all of the money on a new G4. It should have a 433 or even a 450 MHz processor, and possibly even a G4. Definitely a 17 inch monitor, and a better video card. Also, I would throw in a 10 gig drive and give it 64-128 megs of RAM.

I would also offer an opportunity to mix and match your components, because many people want a 17 inch monitor but don't really need a large drive. And, also introduce an iMac in that platinum color of the new G4. This will make the iMac appeal more to people who are looking for a professional computer without having to spend a lot of money.

So, in the end, I guess, with mix and match iMacs, you could say Apple will have there own salad bar with all of their fruity computers.

  • For a counterpoint, see Gilding the iMac Lily, which argues that Apple has to keep the iMac line uncluttered. dk

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