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The unexplored history of translucent Apple design

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:30 AM

Post your comments for The unexplored history of translucent Apple design here
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#2 User is offline   ConnorMeeblings 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:54 AM

I've had a 2011 iMac and a 2006 (intel) iMac and I'd have to say while the anodized aluminum looks very sleek, the white iMac looks more like one solid piece. I guess because it doesn't have the black bezel, but even being 6 years old it's still a nice looking machine.
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#3 User is offline   krugdm 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:11 AM

I still have my old graphite Power Mac G4. It doesn't work, but the case looks so cool, I can't stand to part with it.
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#4 User is offline   Inkling 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:39 AM

I was glad to see translucency go. I thought it was ugly, particularly in those bright, gum-drop colors.

Designers of all sorts play a game with us. They create something outlandish and somehow make it a must have (i.e. bright translucents). Once sales begin to slacken, they come up with something different (white), rendering that former must-have into a must-not-have. Not me. I prefer function over form and some classic and enduring over a fad.

Ingrid Bergman once made an interesting comment about the dress she wears when she first appears in the 1942 film, Casablanca. It was so classic in its design, she said, she could wear it again in almost any film at almost any time and still appear stylish.

We need more of that. To Apple's credits, many of their current products are attractive, classic designs that should age well.

Apple's only current silliness is an obsession with thin. Desktop computers, for instance, don't need to be as thin as the next iMac will be. That much thinness merely makes them harder to built and harder to fix.

The primary reason I've not upgraded my MacBook to a MacBook Air is the latter's hardly better battery life. I'd rather have a MBA was a bit thicker with twice the battery life (perhaps as a EL-Extended Life model). Thin is worthless. I'm not going to use it to cut bread. Knocking a quarter-inch off the thickness matters not at all when I'm going to be carrying it around in a case thick padding. It'll still be the same thickness.
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#5 User is offline   uliwitness 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:50 AM

What about the PowerBook ... was it the 5300 or which one ...? One of them had a clear plastic section on the lid under which you could put differently-colored pictures.
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#6 User is offline   bonaccij 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:16 AM

And - how could we forget the Lombard and Pismo PowerBooks - with those gorgeous translucent keyboards??? OR the original iBooks with all that translucent toilet seat goodness??? Yeah... they did a lot of translucents...
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#7 User is offline   ezylstra 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:16 AM

Quote

What about the PowerBook ... was it the 5300 or which one ...? One of them had a clear plastic section on the lid under which you could put differently-colored pictures.


Maybe the 1400?
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#8 User is offline   jpellino 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:48 AM

Yes, 1400. Best keyboard among PBs.

We also have a translucent Newton.

Quote

What about the PowerBook ... was it the 5300 or which one ...? One of them had a clear plastic section on the lid under which you could put differently-colored pictures. Maybe the 1400?

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#9 User is offline   quakerotis 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

Still have my working Power Mac G4 from 1999. sweet machine that has had several upgrades running a G4 @1.25gz.

It still acts as a jukebox.
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#10 User is offline   Swift2 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:38 PM

I just sold my Quicksilver G4. The power supply blew out a couple of years ago, and I found one online for $100, and carefully -- very carefully -- worked my way through the switch. The thing is diabolical in some ways. You MUST have this length of screwdriver, Phillips # and all, to take off the units. Luckily, I got a pdf online that was the instructions for the tech repair. The kind of job where you worry over not stripping threads and making repair impossible. In the end, I got it changed and put back, and yet... no boot. I carried it into the Apple Store. The genius looked inside, took it in the back, and came out and hit a reset button and voila! Nice work, he said. Just clean the dust. And he blew out the dust and gave it back. It worked, and I sold it a few months later for $400. As long as it's alive, it does the job. It's Power PC, so no upgrades. I think I keep it for memories.
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#11 User is offline   icerabbit 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

Great article that precedes most of my Apple exposure / experience and a nice reminder I should fire up the bondi imac and cubes again :)
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#12 User is offline   blecch 

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  Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:29 PM

I've always really liked the eMate 300 design! :D

I also rather liked its integrated AppleWorks-like Newton Works software!! Fabulous stuff.

I swear there was another Apple laptop which had some translucency before the iBook, but maybe I'm just thinking of the eMate...

The G3 "Molar Mac" actually has a rather attractive, er, back side that evokes the Power Mac G4.
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#13 User is offline   richard2178 

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  Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:16 AM

Translucent plastic IS ugly and so was the original iMac. And, yes, can't agree more that Apple's obsession with making wafer-thin computers is now bordering on the pathological.

I bought a Mac Mini for Apple's OS (I couldn't take the stress of using Windows any longer), NOT because I wanted a tiny, silver box for a woman's make-up desk.

Time for Apple to bring back normal-looking machines that can be maintained/upgraded by the user. Many people would switch to Apple if they did.
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#14 User is offline   richard2178 

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  Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:56 AM

The fawning sycophancy towards Steve Jobs is nothing short of nauseous. Even if Jobs did have the idea for translucent plastic in the iMac, are we really meant to believe that this was a spark of genius? No, of course not, because Jobs didn't have the idea - BUT IF HE HAD? - then, yes, we would have been told that this was the masterstroke of a genius the likes of which the world will never see again.

Jobs could NOT program, let alone design or build computers. Steve WOZNIAK created the first Apple computer, turning Jobs - a nobody at the time - into a billionaire. Jobs spent his whole life stealing from others, creating an image of himself that bears no resemblance to reality.

It was Jonathan Ive, a British designer, for example, who, along with others, created the look of the first iMac and the first iPod, not Jobs.

Smartphones were NOT Jobs' idea either. IBM came up with the first smartphone in 1993, the "Simon Personal Communicator". And there were PDAs with phones, too, at that time.

It's the engineers and others who do all the work. CEOs told them: stop making smartphones, so they stopped. Then a CEO said: make a new smartphone, so they did.
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