Mac Musings

Fujitsu's iMac Clone

Daniel Knight - 1999.10.30

Fujitsu PlicheFor the past week or so, Mac web sites have been looking at the new Fujitsu Pliché computer and comparing it to the iMac.

As you can see from the photo, there are some obvious similarities: all-in-one design, the round speakers below the monitor, the rounded shape, and even the use of color.

But there are several differences, not the least being that is uses a 12.1" flat panel display (like the iBook) instead of a traditional monitor like the iMac. Other differences: colors are more subtle, plastic isn't translucent, and it doesn't run the Mac OS.

I wanted a few more facts before I commented on the Pliché - and I just found them on

model        screen   weight size (HxWxD)       
Plus 9" CRT 16.5 lb. 13.6"x 9.6"x10.9"
SE 9" CRT 17.0 lb. 13.6"x 9.6"x10.9"
Classic 9" CRT 16.0 lb. 13.2"x 9.7"x11.2"
Col. Clas. 10" CRT 22.5 lb. 14.5"x 9.9"x12.6"
20th Anniv. 12.1"FPD 14.9 lb. 17.2"x16.5"x10.0"
iMac DV 15" CRT 34.7 lb. 15.0"x15.0"x17.1"
Pliché 243 12.1"FPD 17.5 lb. 14.1"x 8.9"x12.4"
(width and depth may be reversed on Pliché)

Based on these measurements, the Pliché is about the same size as the long-popular Color Classic, although a bit lighter, and far more compact than the new iMac. In fact, my guess is that once flat panel displays drop far enough in price, the Apple will abandon traditional tubes in the iMac. In that respect, the Pliché foreshadows where the industry is going.

And that day may come sooner than expected. This past week, Cnet posted Notebook, screen makers agree on display standard. Instead of everyone having their own standard for how their display will mount and connect to a graphics subsystem, there will now be a standard. This means a computer company can buy screens from another source should their usual supplier be out of stock. In the long run, it means turning the flat panel display into a commodity, increasing the supply, and reducing costs (due to competition).

Will or should Apple sue Fujitsu over the Pliché? Only Steve Jobs and the lawyers know, but I'm hoping Apple will see that the Pliché is different enough from the iMac to leave it alone.

Why? Because Fujitsu doesn't just make computers; they also make flat panel displays. In fact, they originally designed the Pliché (the original version went on sale before the iMac, but didn't resemble it) to create a larger market for their screens.

And if Apple stays on good terms with them, Fujitsu could be one more source for displays for the iBook and PowerBook.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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