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New Mac Pro: Insanely cool or too cool?

Simon Jary | July 3, 2013
Apple swaps the failed cube for a shiny black tube.

Mac Pro 2013 open photo Apple

I have written much on Apple's relationship with its Mac Pro desktop computer -- how it hadn't had a proper redesign for over a decade (The Mac that time forgot), why Apple hates users opening its products (The real reason why the Mac Pro was doomed), and a rose-tinted remembrance of former Apple towers (Apple towers of power - a history of pro Macs).

Apple CEO Tim Cook had been promising us Mac Pro fans (and that thing required a lot of noisy fans to stay cool) something extraordinary, and finally delivered at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). 

Unlike every supposedly "new" Mac Pro since 2003 the new Mac Pro really is something different — both in looks and features.

First, the looks — which the Apple management team was so excited about at the WWDC unveiling.

It's black. And that's a big deal when it comes to Macs, which are currently all aluminium-grey only. While black iPhones and iPads are commonplace black Macs are a rare beast. There was the 1996 Performa 5420 Director Edition and the ultra-rare Macintosh TV from 1993, which lasted all of five months before being discontinued. The first Apple PowerBooks were all a dark enough grey to be considered black but there was a big gap before the properly black MacBook (2006-8) was available. 

So Apple is making a statement by making the new Mac Pro black. It's new. It's different. It's niche. And, most importantly, it's super cool.

While most Apple products are pretty cool the new Mac Pro has only two real rivals for the coolest Mac ever.

The first was 1997's 20th Anniversary Mac (TAM), a limited-edition all-in-one system to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Apple — although it was a year late for that milestone. The Mac Pro is about five years late, but, hey

The TAM looked like a computer from the future. It wasn't beige — instead it was painted metallic green/gold. And it was one of the first desktop computers to use an LCD screen, measuring just 2.5 inches deep. Apple wouldn't make an all-in-one desktop this thin till the iMac G5 in 2004. Coolest of all, TAM even had its own start-up chime.

Apple made 12,000 TAMs, and prices started at US$7,500 but had dropped to just $2,000 a year later. It was ber cool but too expensive - a classic Apple double whammy, and one repeated with the coolest desktop ever - 2000's Power Mac G4 Cube.

It wasn't just the shape - the G4 Cube was small ludicrously small, measuring just seven inches. Its big brother, the Power Mac G4, was a 17-inch tall tower.


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