We have recovered the spectacular, and failed, Power Mac G4 Cube

We return for another week with Apple Vintage, a section in which we will travel to the past with the intention of paying a small tribute to the products that Apple has been launching throughout its history. Today we’ll go back to the year 2000 to take a look at one of its most blushing pages; we’re talking, of course, about the Power Mac G4 Cube, a device with a sublime design but whose excessive price ended up translating into a sales disaster.

We are back, one more week, in Apple Vintage, the retro section of Applesupportphonenumber in which we will recover the products that have marked the evolution of Apple to become the company we all know today. Today we will open the trunk of memories to dust off the failed Power Mac G4 Cube, a compact computer that boasted an exceptional design, but whose excessive price ended up being a complete commercial failure.

We have recovered the spectacular, and failed, Power Mac G4 Cube
We have recovered the spectacular, and failed, Power Mac G4 Cube

Designed by Jony Ive himself, the Power Mac G4 Cube was announced in July 2000. It was presented as a product halfway between the iMac and the Power Mac G4 , which combined the benefits of both: the design of the first, without ignoring the power and possibilities offered by the second. A commitment to the business market, as an answer to those who demanded a machine pleasant to look at, with more options when choosing a monitor.

Its great appeal lay precisely in its avant-garde design, which stood out for its cubic body measuring just 20 x 20 x 25 centimetres, wrapped in a methacrylate casing. Although it had internal support for this, it did not have fans ; instead, it used a cooling system that worked by convection.

The small cube housed a 450 MHz PowerPC G4 processor , although it was possible to configure it to 500 MHz at the time of purchase; the base model had 64 MB of RAM PC-100 SDRAM that could be expanded to a maximum of 1.5 GB, and an Ultra ATA hard disk of 20 GB . The standard graphics card was a ATI Rage 128 Pro 16MB SDRAM , but on request of the buyer, it was possible to replace it with an NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 32MB.

One could digress as far as the video card is concerned. Although the video card is user accessible and therefore replaceable thanks to its standard AGP port, there was not enough space for full-length cards due to the small size of the equipment .

The truth is that, in practice, the Power Mac G4 Cube was practically as versatile as its big brother, and despite the fact that it lacked PCI slots, had 3 RAM expansion ports , one drive port AirPort , two ports FireWire 400 , 2 USB ports 1. 1 dual channel, VGA and ADC outputs , 56k modem and one port Ethernet 10100Base-T .

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One of the most common complaints from many customers was related to the absence of conventional audio inputs and outputs. The popularly known Cube , included an external USB amplifier with headphone output, and two speakers manufactured by Harman Kardon.

The part dedicated to the optical drive was also not going to lag behind, and it was decided to implement a somewhat conventional DVD player and CD writer, vertically slot-loaded.

Frankly, the Power Mac G4 Cube wasn’t even close to becoming the success Apple had hoped it would be . Looking back, the general consensus around its smash hit is that Cupertino didn’t properly assess the market, turning the Cube into an expensive luxury computer, instead of having conceived it as a cheaper iMac, lacking a monitor. There is no doubt that the $1,799 that initially cost – exactly $200 more than the cheaper Power Mac G4 – became the real scourge of the computer.

It was never officially discontinued , but in July 2001, in a vain attempt to make the world forget the huge setback it caused, Apple suspended production indefinitely. Today, thanks to its exquisite design, it has become a cult object, so much so that it has been exhibited at the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

That’s it for today. In 7 days we’ll continue with our particular review of Apple’s successful history. Don’t miss it! If you’d like us to dust off a particular product or if you have one at home that you’d like us to include in future deliveries, we invite you to share it with us.

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