For as long as Apple has shipped its “QuickSilver” Power Mac G4s, there’s been a readily apparent design shortcoming that has been the bane of parents and teachers. The open access to the speaker transducer inside the Power Mac G4’s front panel offers a tantalizing target for prying fingers or a poking crayon. Such damage would make the Power Mac G4’s one speaker all but useless. It’s a good quality speaker, and it’s worth protecting.
I’ve lived this nightmare. I have three kids of my own, ages 2 to 7. While my office has been undergoing a remodeling for the past few weeks, my QuickSilver edition Power Mac G4 has been on the kitchen table. Its relatively public access has made the G4 a source of constant fascination to my little ones, especially when I fire up the latest game. Unfortunately, the magnetic personality of the Mac is as tactile as it is visual for my kids, and their hands are as drawn to the case as their eyes are to the screen. I’ve often caught little fingers exploring the opening for that speaker as one of my brood absently watches what’s on the monitor. A stern warning is enough to keep the fingers away for a while, but inevitably they’ll come back.
Difusi Corp.’s Speaker Grille Quicksilver G4 Collection. The Collection is comprised of two different grilles manufactured of clear acrylic material. Up until this week, you had to buy them as a pair, but if only one will suffice for you, you can buy them individually for about $10 each. I received the pair, however.
One grille uses long horizontal holes, while the other incorporates three separate circles in a clover design. The grilles’ faces are a slightly larger diameter than the entrance to the Power Mac G4’s speaker hole, and the base of the grilles are just a bit smaller. Also included is a small sheet of neoprene cut into three strips affixed with an adhesive backing. Wrapped around the base of the grille, the neoprene serves as a snug gasket that holds the grille in place without defacing the Power Mac. To install the grille, apply the gasket to the base of the grille cover, then slide the cover into place. It’s as simple as that. The speaker grilles fit almost flush to the opening of the Power Mac G4 and offer a handsome customized look without reducing the fidelity of the speaker.
While the clover pattern may still offer openings small enough for someone determined enough to jab a pencil or pen into, it’s enough to prevent casual accidents. And the horizontally hatched grille will prevent fingers or other objects from hitting the speaker. The grille pops out with easy effort, but offers enough protection to keep anyone but a determined vandal from jeopardizing your G4 speaker’s safety.
The grilles I looked at will only work with “QuickSilver” Power Mac G4s — the first series of Power Macs to feature the open speaker configuration. As this article was posted, Difusi indicated that it’s working on new sets designed for the new line of dual-processor Power Macs, as well as eMacs and Apple Pro Speakers. Difusi hopes to have those new grille sets out in the next few weeks. And if you have already purchased a new Power Mac G4, you might have noticed it ships with an optional speaker grille. Difusi said that its grilles are better manufactured.
Sure, I could have cut a piece of foam or taped a chunk of corrugated cardboard to the front of my Power Mac, but I still want my system to look nice. To that end, the Speaker Grille Quicksilver G4 Collection sports a simple well-executed design and is well worth the money for the peace of mind it offers.