Tangerine Fusion

Why Macs Don't Look Generic

- 1999.12.24

New PCs from manufacturers like Compaq, Sony, and Gateway have gained some stylish design elements. Even the horrid eOne, with its copycat design and upgradeability (limited by how big a sledgehammer you have), looks better than a beige metal box. However, these PCs all share a common trait: the optical drive. (I'm calling the CD-ROM drive, CD-RW drive, DVD-ROM drive, or DVD-RAM drive the optical drive for simplicity.) All these computers' optical drives seem to have come from the very same manufacturer.

Lets take a closer look at such a drive.

There is the tray, sometimes covered by a flimsy flap. There is the headphone jack. There is the rectangular eject button. There is the volume dial. There is the "Busy" indicator light.

All in all, it looks dull and geeky. Why am I mentioning this in reference to stylish new PCs? Because they all have dull optical drives!

Apple, on the other hand, insists on making the entire computer look good. Ever since they started using optical drives, even when they had iffy CEOs, Apple still made internal optical drives look good on the outside. The new iMac's slot loading optical drive proves Apple's commitment to a good looking drive has become even more extensive.

Finally, Dell has introduced the WebPC - possibly the first PC that has a good looking optical drive. Could this be the major turning point in computer design? Probably not. A small touch that shows how PC manufacturers are finally adopting Apple's concept of relentless attention to details? No. They're not that smart. But at least the people ignorant enough to buy a PC will have computers that don't look as bad as they used to.

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