Fortieth Anniversary Mac (somewhat seriously)

Continuing the discussion from The Mac's 40th Anniversary:

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have a Talk thread (pre-Discourse, I assume). But since I can’t see anything without opening my mouth, here are some comments:

In 2016, shouldn’t that be a 40th anniversary Apple II?

Which, come to think of it sounds like a really cool hobbyist project. Maybe take a Raspberry Pi and equip it with an Apple IIGS emulator, a 15" LCD screen and build it into a modern 3D printed enclosure. Bonus points if it can emulate a GS’s connectivity options like Ethernet (cards exist for this), external storage (emulate floppy, HDD and CD via disk images and/or USB devices)

But since it is now 2024 and a 40th anniversary Mac is a theoretical possibility, what do you think should be in it? To keep the discussion serious, suggest things that Apple might actually do, in a way that pays homage to the Mac’s legacy.

And since I’ve asked the question, here’s my answer:

  • Must be an all-in-one device. Including an internal power supply. A variation on the current iMac enclosure, but in some retro-Mac colors would be cool:

    • Must have a 7-color Apple logo on it
    • Maybe beige (boring, but Mac-standard until the iMac was invented)
    • Maybe a color polycarbonate shell (homage to iMac G3 designs)
    • Maybe with mirrored or burshed-aluminum surfaces (homage to PowerMac designs)
  • Must, of course, be offered in high-end configurations. Since this sytem won’t be cheap, it’s pointless to offer it in low-power configurations, since the public will (rightly) call it a waste of money.

    To me this means it must be a choice of M3 Pro/Max/Ultra processor, along with the corresponding RAM and storage options.

  • A mechanical-switch keyboard that captures the look and feel of Apple’s best keyboard: the Apple Extended Keyboard II. Make this keyboard have the same weight/dimensions, but give it a modern USB/Bluetooth connection and the current layout (function and media keys).

    I realize that the Alps keyswitches used in the 80’s are no longer made, but I guarantee that Apple could convince a keyswitch manufacturer (Cherry or Gateron, probably) to provide/design a modern switch with a similar feel.

    I would buy that keyboard right now, if someone would make it.

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It was sort of funny that Apple did the Twentieth Anniversary Mac for Apple’s 20th anniversary, not the Mac’s 20th.

I agree that it should be an all-in-one, but I think a new industrial design would be entirely acceptable, much as the Twentieth Anniversary Mac didn’t look like anything that came before it.

We’re not quite there yet, but I’m sort of imagining a large—maybe 32-inch—screen that sits on a desk by itself, perhaps propped up from the back. The keyboard and mouse should match the industrial design and be wireless, of course, all in the service of it feeling like it’s nothing but screen. An iPhone-level camera in the bezel would be necessary, of course, and Face ID would be built in.

Moving into highly speculative features, what if some of the gestural control sensors from the Vision Pro were embedded in the Mac’s bezel, so it could detect your hand motions and respond appropriately?

You’re thinking of a showcase for future tech, like an automaker’s concept car. While I was thinking of a retrospective of the past 40 years.

Both really cool, but completely different.


The first sentence in the article:
“Today marks Apple’s fortieth year in business since being founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne on 1 April 1976.”

Yeah, I was more channeling what the Twentieth Anniversary Mac did, with some risky decisions in terms of industrial design. Bose speakers and a leather palm rest!

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