Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh: Apple’s ugly duckling has no place in its exquisite design book

Apple’s latest design book has not gone unnoticed, they have decided to collect in it twenty years of work with more than 450 exquisite photographs, as much as its price. The work begins with the original iMac, which is the first product to be launched with the supervision of a Steve Jobs reintegrated in the Californian Company, and it arrives until today, picking up an accessory like Apple Pencil.

Being more specific, it should be said that what is recorded is the work of Jony Ive, responsible for the industrial design of the brand all these years. The book is available in two sizes, 13 and 16 inches, and in none of them can we find the protagonist of this article, which really is the first computer, devised by Ive: Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Better known as TAM and appeared in 1997, this computer is a very strange device in the history of the company of Cupertino, also a complicated element to sell for its high price and short availability: they asked for $7500 for it and created 12,000 units.

Twentieth-Anniversary-Macintosh
Image Source: Google Image

Apart from aesthetic and technological tastes, for obvious reasons the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh has become a collector’s item.

What is undeniable is that this device was ahead of many things of what the computers of the future were going to do: it introduced the flat screen, it was really an all-in-one computer, and it had an integrated quality sound system, With the intention of consuming multimedia contents.

The LCD screen was a great novelty, in fact it took five more years for the Mac line to receive it. It was also remarkable in its weight and dimensions, was a priority for Jony Ive: an iMac G3 that would hit the market a year later, weighed double.

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Why does not it appear in the book?

There is no official reason, but we can see that the book is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, and this product was brewed without its supervision. Besides, it was a computer for which I did not feel any affection, quite the contrary.

If we see it from the point of view of “products designed by Jony Ive”, the Twentieth Anniversary Mac itself is the first computer that created for Apple. It is time to comment that Jobs returned to the mark in this period and it is said that he even went through the head dismissing Sir Jony Ive. The rest of the story, fortunately for Apple, you already know it.

The last reason we can evaluate is purely aesthetic, and is that this TAM looks nothing like what had to come later, its design language is too different is instantly clashed with the selection of the book.

Twentieth-Anniversary-Macintosh
Image Source: Google Image

TAM, this is the grandfather of the iMac

It’s not particularly nice, but at a time when computers were giants, an all-in-one like this was ahead of many things

Some say that the iMac is the spiritual descendant of TAM, reasons are not lacking. Others see it as a half-cooked prototype with some good ideas and unreasonable price: to give you an idea, the team came to install it with all kinds of luxuries, and they did a demonstration for you to start using it.

It became a tricky device to watch, a toy for executives, who even had its moments of “product placement” in well-known series and movies : ‘Seinfeld’, ‘Batman & Robin’ and the most recent ‘Sons of Men’. All this does not mean that this is a special gadget in Apple’s history and we have to learn to give it your site.

In essence we have a computer like the ones we like now, with almost all the elements in the same place, except for a large external module that is nothing more than a subwoofer signed by Bosé – also the power supply. The sound system was no joke, a Bosque Acoustimass that was completed with speakers on either side of the screen.

Plastic was abused to be a fairly expensive device, here an effort could have been made. In its central area we found a door that hid the CD reader that left the disks in a vertical position. As for the lines of design, all very rectangular, with the buttons scattered in a debatable way.

As for connections, there were interesting things to note as the possibility of placing both TV and FM radio. Apple wanted this to be a center to see and hear all possible content, still far from the digital 100% of today, but there was the strange proposal. It came standard with a remote control and the trackpad could be separated from the keyboard, many years before the Magic Trackpad existed.

Too bad they did not remember it in the book, but regardless of the reasons, no one can deny TAM the fact that it is another product more ‘Designed by Apple in California’.

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