iMac: A Critic Casts his eye to the Future

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Date: Monday, July 30th, 2001, 12:26
Category: Archive

I have a confession to make. I just bought an iMac. Don’t worry, it isn’t for me, not this colorful little daisy. Once a man goes Powerbook he doesn’t go back. This is for the sales staff. Staff that has never really used a Mac before, and in general, has little computer experience. And you know what? For a person who has never cared for the iMac, I am impressed.


I have a confession to make. I just bought an iMac. Don’t worry, it isn’t for me, not this colorful little daisy. Once a man goes Powerbook he doesn’t go back. This is for the sales staff. Staff that has never really used a Mac before, and in general, has little computer experience. And you know what? For a person who has never cared for the iMac, I am impressed.

It arrived the other day in a nice little box, marked up top with Apple Refurbished. Now that refurbished products carry the same warranty as factory fresh you might as well save the money. As this computer was for inexperienced users, I thought I would approach it as if I too were inexperienced. The iMac popped right out of the book and if you follow the manual you are set up in only a few minutes. Easy.

Next up was software installation. I took off the newbie cap and loaded this thing up with everything. When I was done, I put the cap back on and tried to do some basic things. Connect to DSL via PPoE. Not so hard with the ISP information sheet sitting in front of me. Set up email client for multiple accounts. Again, not so hard with the ISP data sheet right there. In fact, the hard part was setting up the new email addresses in the Earthlink Web Hosting control panel via a web browser. That was Earthlink’s lousy instructions and not the iMac’s fault.

Ok, so we have internet access, email functionality, and what not. How about printing? I’ll need to share this with the network, so lets be newbies and use Mac Help Center. Viola. In 3 minutes or so I had the Epson 900 shared between all the computers on the network using the iMac as host and Apple’s own USB Printer Sharing.

Now a quick backup of all of our new work data. How about we make a CD? Boom. In it goes, up it comes on the desktop and done. Although Toast is really easy, ANYONE can figure out Disc Burner. And all of this in one little unit that has four cords: USB for printer, USB for keyboard/mouse, power cable and Ethernet cable for internet access. All of it ties together in one nice little loop that runs down the side of the desk.

Of course, it has been two hours at this point and my eyes are getting really tired from the CRT. Did I mention that once you go Powerbook you never go back? Everything should be LCD. And this brings me to the future. The future of the iMac. It can easily be what the cube was intended to be. A beautiful and compact desktop design. All Apple needs to do is slim it up with an LCD. It will have captured the elegance of the Cube at that point and with one less wire: no monitor cable. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you could eliminate the other cables too. You would be left with a simple and elegant little desktop with no clutter.

Is this going to happen? Rumor says that Mac OS 9.2.1 is speeding towards completion. Why update software that has not yet been officially released? Well, to support new hardware of course. Despite the push towards OS X, until 3rd party software is up to speed, Apple knows it has to support OS 9. So 9.2.1 will be hardware only support, much like 9,2 has been so far. That hardware will be a new form factor iMac and the long delayed Oynx Ti Book Rev. B.

These machines should be as easy to use as their current counterparts. And I think that consumers will eat them up. Apple has a bright future ahead of it, full of another six months of impressive new hardware introductions and growth in a slowing industry. It is certainly a good day to be a Mac head.

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