My Turn

The 25th Anniversary Mac

David - 2001.07.09

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

This has been bothering me, though I don't know why exactly....

Any 25th anniversary for Apple Computer products should occur this year, as Apple was founded in 1976. As 2001 is not yet over, there is still time for them to do something.* However, if you calculate from the Twentieth Anniverary Macdate of incorporation, 1977, then that would be 2002, as MacOS Rumors suggests (sort of like which is the real millennium). However, "25th Anniversary Macintosh" is a misnomer (or at the very least misleading), since the Mac was not introduced until 1984. Therefore, the Mac's actual 20th anniversary won't occur until 2004. That said, Apple clearly missed the Mac's 10th anniversary in 1994, having already missed the Apple 10th in 1986. They should have correctly called the TAM, the "Apple's 20th Anniversary Macintosh" (ATAM).

* The TAM was released in 1997, 20 years after incorporation, but a year after their planned introduction. I do not think this was a precedent setting event as Apple was plagued by cost overruns and production difficulties. Apple announced it over a year earlier in celebration of the April 1996 20th anniversary of Apple's founding.

However you look at it, the Cube was a great success for Apple since it forced them to explore the limits of miniaturization, something which will greatly benefit their newer models. It does not have to come back - it did its job by forcing Apple to think inside the box, literally! If the Cube does come back as an "Anniversary" model this year or next, The Macintoshit should be as a tribute to Apple and not to the Macintosh. I'll wait until 2004 for the Macintosh 20th Anniversary machine, which should pay tribute as closely as possible to the original 128k Mac that endeared so many of us to the platform.

Taking a cue from the Cube sales, Apple should realize there is a market for style and sentimentality alone. With this in mind, they should plan for low sales a la the Cube and budget the project accordingly. Most, if not all, of the technology already exists to make such a little machine. The only real costs would be enclosure design.

If I were Apple, I'd be planning a smaller version of the original Mac vis-a-vis the Cube technology with a built-in 10" LCD screen capable of the original resolution. It would have the option of ADC video to add a larger external monitor. If they were really smart, they would license the Mac Plus emulator and include it in the ROM, so it could be accessed at startup by pressing certain keys, much like the Mac Classic had. That way, for old time sake, you could boot up your Mac and run it in 1984 mode accessing all those old software programs you have. They could also distribute it with the original 1984 system software package (all on CD, of course).

Now that would truly be a celebration, as well as a tribute to the achievement of the Macintosh. One machine capable of running all the software ever made for the Macintosh! Hell, they'd sell a bunch of computers on that premise alone!

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