My two cents’ worth: News Director Jim Dalrymple unchained me from my keyboard for a while over the holiday season. With all that spare time on my hands, I decided to design the perfect Mac. A modular Mac, if you will.
I won’t get into processors (only Apple, IBM, and Motorola know where that’s going) or form factors (the Apple Design team is THE best at this, bar none). But imagine the following functionality rolled into the fastest, best-looking desktop Mac ever made.
My proposed modular Mac would come with expansion bays similar to the PowerBook line. A desktop Mac with such a design would overcome criticisms Apple has faced for the lack of CD-RW drives in its Mac line, for example. With an expansion bay, you want a CD-RW drive, you buy a CD-RW module and plug it in. Need a DVD drive? No problem. Zip drive. SuperDisk drive. Floppy drive. You name it; you can add it. Apple could manufacture the various expansion modules and sell the desktops with one expansion bay or two (the “high” and “low” ends if you will).
According to my original plan, the expansion bays would also fit in the latest high-end PowerBooks. This would save money for end users who need/want both a desktop and portable. And it would allow Apple to offer some intriguing desktop/portable bundles.
Anyway, my modular Mac would have no PCI slots. None. Instead it would offer a port for an expansion chassis based on “split bridge” technology. Under my theory, the split bridge technology compresses the PCI bus “image” down to a thin serial cable running at multiple Gbps, and recreates the signals in the expansion chassis. Apple and/or third parties could then offer PCI chassis in three, six, or higher flavors.
Again, this would save end users money. The price on desktops would be reduced. You wouldn’t buy a chassis until you needed it. And Apple could quell the complaints about a lack of PCI slots for power users. And who knows? Perhaps under this scenario the modular Mac could be fanless and the expansion chassis built to cool itself.
My modular Mac would also have two USB 2.0 and FireWire ports. There would be Bluetooth support. And it would sport the controversial Apple Display Connector (ADC). However, as my friend Tom King has suggested, Apple would share the all-in-one cable concept and adapter with other PC vendors to make it a new standard.
Since all these ideas (some are original, some cribbed from others) would save desktop real estate and potentially reduce cable clutter, my modular Mac would have a wireless keyboard and wireless, optical, multi-button mouse.
Meanwhile, Apple, feel free to use any and all of these ideas. Just send me one of the first modular Macs and a Cinema Display for my efforts.