The G4 iMac Up Close And Personal ... Very Personal!

Wednesday, April 3, 2002

by David Engstrom

The more Time you spend with the G4 iMac, the more its friendly elegance grows on you. You appreciate the care that went into designing the machine from a purely 'machine as art' point of view. Apple will garner boatloads of design awards for this iMac, and they are deserved. Once again there are a few areas where physical design won out over functional design. With the first iMacs it was the aesthetically pleasing, but awkward to use round mouse. With this new iMac, the main functional problem we have found so far, is the power button being placed on the back of the base unit. This is an exceptionally inconvenient placement and I cannot figure out why Apple did not do what they have done with the rest of the flat panel monitors they sell, put the power on/sleep button on the front of the iMac's flat panel display. If for some reason they thought that this would break up the flow of the screen rim, then at least put it once again, conveniently, on the keyboard.

Ok this is a pretty minor issue on a truly stunning machine. You know how you always feel Jobs is going a little overboard at Macworld when he claims that whatever product he is introducing at the time as "I think this is the best thing we have ever done at Apple"? You feel a little embarrassed for the guy, gushing like a school girl in love for the first time. Then you get that product in your hands, and after a brief period of examination, you swoon too. Jobs is right. The iMac G4 is the best thing Apple has ever done, at least in terms of industrial design. The 20th Anniversary Mac was one hell of a good looker, but the new iMac beats it. This is coming from someone who has a 20th Anniversary Mac on his desk.

When this iMac was introduced to the Press at Macworld SF, there was a palpable feeling of excitement and, though I know that this statement might embarrass some of our more sensitive viewers, a feeling of 'love' exuding from the Apple press relations people and other Apple minions, who were there to show off and answer questions about the new arrival. And 'new arriva'l is the right sentiment. The press klatch was like a family gathering to celebrate a new birth. There was Uncle Sal Soghoian, AppleScript Product Manager at Apple, tickling the baby asking us if we would like to see it stick its tongue out (open the CD tray), and PR woman protectively gushing and telling him "no don't do that." It was great fun. During the whole expo all the set up iMacs had layers of people around them waiting to touch them and take them for a spin.

Who knows what the next 'Best thing Apple has ever done' will be .... I do know it will be fun!

Over the coming weeks we hope to bring you a series of reports on the new iMac. Links to them will be posted on the Performance Edge index.


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For some reason pictures make the base seem smaller than it really is. Over all though the iMac takes up very little space and is very light to move around ... especially if you are used to the Classic iMac or the Tower machines

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At a slightly different angle. I processed this picture before I discovered Photoshop's color correction panel ... the iMac really doesn't have this yellowish tint.

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Looking down from the top. The screen is absolutely gorgeous

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This reflects more accurately the tone on the iMac. Though they have come a long way digital cameras seem to be a little funky on how they render reality. At least our does at times

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From another angle

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Up close on the joint connecting the arm to the screen. I assume that Apple did a lot of product testing to see how these iMac would stand the ravages of use and time .. especially in the hands of children. Let's hope so!

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Another shot of the back of the iMac

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Ports on the left - : security lock hole, headphones, speaker jack, 2 FireWire ports, Ethernet port, power cable, modem port, 3 USB ports.

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Remaining on the right is the video out port for connecting a second monitor (Mini-VGA output port - requires VGA display adapter). Further along is the Power button. This is the one failing that we have found so far with the G4 iMac. The Power button is on the back of the base where it is hard to get to. It should be either on the monitor housing in the front or on keyboard.

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Looking at the back of the iMac with the power cord removed exposing it's port (middle). Also visible is the metallic bottom peeking out below

If you say "alakazam alkazoo" the G4 iMac will float about 12" off your desk ....

A close up on the vent holes. If you click on the image to get the larger version, and you look closely, you'll be able to discern the cooling fan that lies directly below the holes. Air is drawn though a series of holes that ring the bottom of the base unit and out though these holes in the top. The fan is very quiet and appears to be white like the iMac itself

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The stainless steel arm supporting the screen is very fluid in its movement and very sturdy

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The more you look at this iMac the more you appreciate the care that went into it's design ... from an aesthetic point of view. When Steve Jobs gets up there at Macworld gushing over the latest show stopping hardware/software from Apple, it is easy to say to yourself "Man he's going over the top." Then you get whatever Steve has been hawking in your own hands and you understand the reasoning behind the hyperbole .... it is justified!

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