Tessera: What's in a Name?

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Linguists of the world unite! I want to append yesterday’s note about the stories that generate the most of your feedback. PowerBook and Mac sightings are probably the biggest feedback generators closely followed by anything related to code-names. Our story on the new PowerMac G4, code-named Tessera, (“New Desktop G4 Enclosure due at Macworld“) was no exception. Following are some of your conspiracy theories on the origin of the code name.


Linguists of the world unite! I want to append yesterday’s note about the stories that generate the most of your feedback. PowerBook and Mac sightings are probably the biggest feedback generators closely followed by anything related to code-names. Our story on the new PowerMac G4, code-named Tessera, (“New Desktop G4 Enclosure due at Macworld“) was no exception. Following are some of your conspiracy theories on the origin of the code name.

There could be a much more simple explanation. The most obvious always being the most plausible: tessera (tesserain modern day Greek) just means four, as your Merriam-Webster already hinted at. . So, the iMac will have a G4 processor (below the 733 MHz mark). [Luc Dubois]

tessera might relate to the tesseract, a four dimensional unfolded cube. i can’t speculate too much how this might apply to a computer product, other than it would certainly have something to do with folding in onto itself, as the 20th anniversary mac did. [J. Lurie-Terrell]

1. a small tablet (as of wood, bone, or ivory) used by the ancient Romans as a ticket, tally, voucher, or means of identification.
there are plenty of tablet rumors about the new iMac. the latest ones i have heard involve Wacom as well, but are sketchy at best.
2. a small piece (as of marble, glass, or tile) used in mosaic work.
there is supposed to be a sort of colored paneling to the new iMac. the technology used to create the hideous dalmatian and flower power models will probably be recycled. personally i like the theory of a school or business having its name/logo printed on the machine.
”In Italian Tessera means card or small rectangle (which has four corners in fact).” This seems interesting that the new iMac has gone from “round” to ”cornered” [Alex Cook]

You’ve probably heard this already, but “tesseract” is another word for a hyper-cube: what a cube is to 3-dimensional space, a tesseract is to 4-dimensional space. Just another conspiracy theory to go along with the demise of our beloved Cube. [Joel Dabrowski]

What if it shares the latter meaning? This would comply with the “digital hub” strategy: A small mosaic tile that fits in seamlessly with others to create a beautiful whole. [Roland Riepel]

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