Apple ends manufacturing of Energy Mac G4 Dice

July 3: Today in Apple history: Apple stops making Power Mac G4 Cube

July 3, 2001: Apple suspends manufacturing of its Energy Mac G4 Dice, some of the notable busts in Apple historical past — and the primary main flop following Steve Jobs’ wonderful return to the corporate.

Though Apple leaves the door open to presumably reintroducing the remarkably clear G4 Dice at a later date, this by no means occurs. The fashionable pc is outmoded by Apple’s improve to G5 processors after which to Intel Core-based Macs.

Energy Mac G4 Dice: Nice pc, however a bust

The Energy Mac G4 Dice represented a change in path for Apple. Computer systems just like the ultra-colorful iMac G3 and iBook G3 grabbed a great deal of consideration upon Jobs’ return to Cupertino. They immediately completed their mission of differentiating Apple’s {hardware} from the beige containers that different private pc corporations constructed at the moment.

However designer Jony Ive and others had been eager to go in a brand new path with Apple design. Their new imaginative and prescient birthed the smooth, austere, quasi-industrial aesthetic Apple continues to discover to at the present time (though the colourful M1 iMacs launched in 2021 look like one thing of a throwback to the corporate’s extra playful designs).

A pc formed like a dice appeared to carry a bizarre fascination for Jobs, though he by no means discovered nice business success with one of these design. The G4 Dice harked again to the NeXTcube, a pc Jobs created throughout his wilderness years exterior Apple. That machine additionally achieved solely restricted success.

Produced a decade earlier, the NeXTcube was Steve Jobs' first attempt at a cube-shaped computer
Produced a decade earlier, the NeXTcube was Steve Jobs’ first try at a cube-shaped pc.
Photograph: Wikipedia CC

A transparent dice constructed for velocity

No person denied that the Energy Mac G4 Dice seemed putting.

Relatively than a typical tower, it took the type of a 7-inch-by-7-inch dice of clear plastic that seemed prefer it was floating in midair, because of its clear base.

It additionally operated in near-total silence as a result of it was cooled by air convection as a substitute of a fan. And it featured a touch-sensitive energy button, an early instance of the tech Apple would later use for the iPhone.

One thing that I very a lot preferred about it was that it continued Apple’s mid-Nineties pattern towards expandability. Homeowners might entry the Energy Mac G4 Dice’s inner elements simply by the underside of the machine. It even sported a pop-up deal with to assist with this. (By comparability, Apple’s subsequent Macs have been an excessive problem to open up, not to mention broaden.)

When it comes to each specs and worth, the Energy Mac G4 Dice packed fairly a punch. It began at $1,799 for a fundamental mannequin with a 450-MHz G4 chip, 64MB of reminiscence and 20GB of storage. A dearer Apple on-line retailer unique — retailing at $2,299 — boasted a extra highly effective processor and further storage and reminiscence. You had to purchase your personal monitor, too!

Placing the G4 Dice on ice

One of the print ads for the Power Mac G4 Cube
One of many print adverts for the G4 Dice.
Photograph: Apple

Regardless of all of this, nevertheless, the G4 Dice by no means appealed to quite a lot of hard-core Apple followers. Positive, they could have beloved it, nevertheless it merely didn’t ring a bell with on a regular basis clients.

Though Jobs referred to as it “merely the good pc ever,” Apple solely bought round 150,000 models complete — simply a 3rd of what the corporate had forecast. The pc’s iconic look did be certain that it popped up in a couple of 2000-era Hollywood motion pictures, although.

The breathtaking design suffered its faults, although. Apple sustained a dangerous PR blow when some clients reported tiny cracks showing within the G4 Dice’s clear plastic casing. (If you wish to purchase a second-hand Energy Mac G4 Dice right now, you would possibly need to examine for this.)

Apple places the Energy Mac G4 on ice

In Apple’s press launch on July 3, 2001, it wrote that the G4 Dice was being “placed on ice.”

“Dice house owners love their Cubes, however most clients determined to purchase our highly effective Energy Mac G4 minitowers as a substitute,” stated Apple advertising chief Phil Schiller in a press release. Apple acknowledged that there was a “small probability” an upgraded mannequin would arrive sooner or later, however admitted that, “there aren’t any plans to take action presently.”

Apple didn’t want to attend too lengthy for its subsequent huge hit, nevertheless. A pair months after placing the Energy Mac G4 Dice on ice, Apple launched a bit of product referred to as the iPod. We expect the remaining!

Do you bear in mind the G4 Dice? Depart your feedback and recollections beneath.

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