The new addition to the Macintosh family,

The new addition to the Macintosh family,

The iMac: An Apple innovationApple was definitely thinking different when it created the new addition to the Macintosh family, the iMac. Its creative design and refreshing departure from the computer industry standard of boring beige boxes is gaining this marvel many optimistic reviews. This new personal computer, which is pronounced eye-Mac the i stands for Internet, combines the computer and the monitor in one unit making it, in effect, an updated version of the original one-piece Macintosh. That makes the iMac ideal for people who want to conserve desk space. The iMac looks different:The iMac is housed in a translucent, two-tone plastic case that is aqua and white.

Apples industrial designers describe the colors as Bondi Blue and Ice. The iMacs chief industrial designer, a New Zealander, said the diaphanous blue-green color reminded him of the water off Bondi Beach near Sydney, Australia. Although Apple executives first discouraged speculation about alternative color schemes for the iMac, the company later succumbed to the popular demand by adding four new flavors, grape, lime tangerine, and strawberry.

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The mouse, the keyboard and even the power cable are translucent, too. The mouse is esthetically pleasing to the eye, but its slippery hockey puck shape has ergonomists shaking their heads. The iMacs mouse is perfectly round and 3 inches in diameter by 1 inch thick, compared with Apples standard 4-inch-by-2 -inch mouse. Because its shape and size make it difficult to orient, theres a risk users will grip the iMac mouse tightly, forcing their hands into a stiff claw. Over time, that extra pressure could increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, a disease marked by pain in the wrist and small muscles of the hand. The vitreous nature of the plastic on the iMac allows the user a blurry view of the internal components of the computer, which are arranged in most computers are neatly as a childs bedroom.

The translucency of the iMac forced Apple to tidy up the components, making seams, welds and circuit boards more appealing. The idea that the see-trough plastic used in the iMac is fragile is quite deceiving. In fact, Apple used a polycarbonate composite that is also used to make bulletproof glass. Its the toughest computer weve ever built, says Tom Bogar, the iMac product manager.

The iMac works different:The iMac acts different from most computers. Like all current Macintoshes, it uses the Mac OS 8.1 operating system software, which is incompatible with more than 90 percent of all other computers. The Mac OS still sets the standard for ease of use and innovation, and it is arguably a superior choice for the consumer and education audience that Apple hopes to impress with the iMac.

Apple is confident that the iMac will stop these people from switching to the Windows operating system, but others are less certain that the iMac will be sufficient to win users back from Windows. The iMac has a modest hard disk drive (four gigabytes, half the capacity of many new computers), but it lacks a built-in floppy disk drive or other removable media, like disks, for backing up files. Apple contends that the 1.

44-megabyte, 3.5-inch disk drive is a thing of the past and that putting one in the iMac would have made it last years machine. Instead, Apple left a hole called a Universal Serial Bus port that allows a customer to attach storage devices to the iMac.

There are, or will be, several disk candidates for the U.S.B ports, including a conventional floppy disk drive; a high-capacity cartridge drive, like a Zip or Sparq; a high-capacity Superdisk drive that stores 120 megabytes on a cartridge but that will work with todays 1.44-megabyte disks, or even a rewritable CD-RW drive. The iMac costs different: At a suggested retail price of $1,299, the iMac is Apples first attempt in years to compete in the hotly competitive market for consumer computers.

Because of the floppy disk and printer issues, however, a more realistic price for the iMac is actually closer to $1,500, more expensive than some comparable Windows machines, but then one can also argue that the Mac deserves to cost more because it is more technically elegant and easier to use than a Windows machine. Its a consumers choice, but in my opinion the iMac is just a fad, a marketing ploy, like the new Volkswagen Beetle, to lure consumers to a shiny new product that deals mostly with aesthetics and fashion. BIBLIOGRAPHYLewis, Peter H. Computers dont have to be square http://www. iMac NewsPage- About This Mac.

http//www.mactimes.com3newspage/1999/19990314_stevejobs.can.shtml.Steel, Suzanne.

Apples jellybean-like iMac is transforming computer fashion. Financial Post (National Post), v.1 (62) Ja 899 pg C5. Words/ Pages : 779 / 24

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