iMac: The Volkswagen Beetle of the personal computer
By Jim Dalrymple
columnist Jim Heid disagrees with those that think the iMac is old and has run its course. Heid compares Apple’s iMac line to the Volkswagen Beetle in his latest
“Apple’s iMac is the Volkswagen Beetle of personal computers, an affordable Volkscomputer whose cuddly, round-cornered design has turned it into an icon. And like the venerable VW, the iMac has staying power. Through frequent improvements, Apple has kept the iMac fresh for nearly three years now.”
Heid recently had the opportunity to test one of the new Flower Power iMacs. While complimentary on the hardware, he was a bit harsher on the flowery design of the computer.
“My test iMac SE wore the new Flower Power color scheme, which emblazons portions of the computer’s case with posies. Apple’s manufacturing process gives the floral design a rich, layered look, but this is still one flowery computer. I felt the same sympathy toward it that I feel when I see a poodle humiliated with ear bows. And I say this as both a poodle owner and a gardener. The front of the computer is an elegant white, but Apple continues the flower show with the on-screen desktop pattern, which looks like a shower curtain my mom threw out in 1971.”
The author did find the iMac faster than Apple’s new Titanium PowerBook in opening programs like Microsoft Word. However, when it came to importing MP3s, the PowerBook showed its dominance.
“Neither result was surprising,” said Heid. “Word’s performance depends largely on clock speed, while iTunes gains a boost from the G4 chip’s Velocity Engine circuitry.”
Since their release, Apple’s new Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs have been loved or hated by Mac fans — there doesn’t seem to be any in between. But, Comparing the iMac to its Windows counterpart, Heid says there’s no comparison.
“Some pundits say the iMac is getting long in the tooth and Apple needs to pull a fresh consumer-oriented rabbit out of its hat. Three years is a long time in this business, but no Windows computer provides the iMac’s mix of performance, versatility, simplicity and design elegance. Even in its advanced age, the iMac is a superb consumer computer.”
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