by Ron Krabbies
October 14, 1999
Many said it was impossible. Many said it couldn't be done. Many said it defied the laws of nature, physics, and Michigan. But Apple thought different. Apple thought it could be done. Apple pissed into the wind, you might say. And do you know what? It paid off big time. Earlier this week, Apple finally unveiled it: A brand new color of iMac!
If you need to take a break to get some water, have a smoke, or jerk yourself off to orgasm (I did all three when I heard about it), go right ahead. I'll wait.
Doo-dee-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-dee, dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-dee, doe-dee-doo-dee-doe-doo-dee-dee, deedle-deedle-dee-dee-dee-dee doo, doe-dee-doo-dee-doe-doo-dee-dee, deedle-deedle-dee-dee-dee-dee doo--
Oh, you're back. Good. Now, hold onto your iMice, because I've got even more exciting news for you. I didn't tell you before because you would have probably lost control of your bodily functions right there, like I did when I heard. The new iMac will be $200 more expensive than the previous models! Woo-hoo! It's about time apple started listening to its customers and gave us what we want: A more expensive computer in a different color. This newer, more expensive computer is expected to be a big hit with first-time computer buyers, children, and retards attracted to shiny things.
So what's new about the iMac? Too much to mention here. First of all, as you can see from the picture above, there is no monitor. Instead, the new 60-pound, gun-metal gray iMac is egg-shaped with a handle and a USB port on each side, making the iMac twice as portable and twice as expandable as previous models. Also gone from the new iMac is the cumbersome, confusing power cord found on previous models of iMacs and all Windoze PCs. The new iMacs run completely on wireless electricity; a standard Apple is currently working to set. Specifications for the new standard should be released around the second quarter of 2024, just in time for OS X.
One thing that was below-par in the original iMac was its sub-standard, hockey-puck shaped mouse that had no orientation whatsoever and was too small for most grown male hands to use. With the release of the new iMac, however, Apple has addressed these concerns and completely re-designed the iMac mouse: It is now gray, even smaller, and completely spherical in shape. I swear, once you rest your palm on the 1-inch3 iBall you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Apple's hot new mouse doesn't have a button, but instead comes with a USB port for adding as many buttons as a user wants. A gray USB mouse button sells for $400 on Apple's web site, but you can buy two for only $400 more.
Another minor quibble I had with the orginal iMac design: If you're like me, you kept your previous iMac under your desk when you used it so you wouldn't have to listen to its noisy cooling fan. Well, Apple has responded to this issue by thinking completely different--the new iMac has no cooling fan whatsoever! As the gossip goes, Steve Jobs asked his engineers one day, "What's the noisy cooling fan for?" All the engineers looked at each other and shrugged. One spoke up and said, "It's my first week, and I'm only 12, but haven't computers always needed cooling fans?" All the other engineers backed away from him. "That's not thinking different!" Jobs roared, bitch-slapping the young engineer and firing him on the spot. From that day on, Apple made a commitment to not waste a single cent cooling any of its computer components, not even the power supply. The result: Hot damn! Don't touch the case with your bare hands, as the melted plastic may stick to certain types of skin, and don't leave the new iMac running for more than two hours unattended, as fire may result. These new iMacs promise to be almost as hot as the line of PowerBooks that spontaneously burst into flames in the early '90s!
Indeed, the iMac is one hot little machine, but it comes with something that's downright cool: Mac OS 9. In keeping with Apple's tradition of releasing a new operating system every three weeks, Mac OS 9 combines the best parts of Mac OS 8.6 with Mac OS 8.61 to bring you a completely unique computing experience. Some dialog boxes have been reworded and the caption buttons are a little bit bigger, leading to a fairly steep learning curve for many Mac users, but most should have it mastered by the time Mac OS 9.01 (expected to include a new color-scheme and have a longer boot time) is released in two weeks.
Enough about the specifics: What's it like to use one of these new machines? Well, the new, monitor-less iMac is much easier on the eyes than previous models, the iBall works great once you add a USB button, the machine can double as a space heater in chilly rooms, and the half-sized keyboard is touch-typable if you go slowly and watch your fingers. Don't plan on typing any numbers, though, as the digits 0 through 9 have been left off the new keyboard to address design concerns, and the power button, once inconveniently located at the top-right edge of the keyboard, is now right next to the letter J in the middle, where you can't possibly miss it.
All in all, I think the new iMac is the computer we've all been waiting for. I recommend it for everyone from first-time users to seasoned 3D programmers to grizzled hackers. It's a little machine for a lot of money, and yes, it's Hot with a capital H! Ouch! Don't touch it!
Ron Krabbies is Apple's senior press release writer and owns voting shares in Apple.
Previous MacSide Articles:
- The new G4 PowerMac: A supercomputer for Grandma.
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