I was amazed to see cases for the latest MacBook computers that are nearly identical to the G3 Series, which was released by Apple from 1998-2000.
These cases from iSkin.com are a testament to the incredible design and power that those swoopy black machines (WallStreet, Lombard and Pismo) brought to Mac users, even while ushering in the current trend of completely identityless product names.
But, since these are cases for current MacBooks,
what does this say about current Macintosh product design?
It has been a recurrent thread of mine that Apple has sort of lost its design sense while pushing every higher in the technology side of the products- specifically the multi-touch ability in the iPhone and iPod Touch, the video playback in all iPods with screens, etc. The emphasis at Apple has certainly been consumer electronics in the past few years and the importance of design innovation in the Macintosh line of computers is reflected in Apple’s recent name change, from Apple Computer, Inc to Apple Inc. They dropped “computer” entirely.
Is this a harbinger of things to come?
Witness the incredible innovation on the PC side of laptops with internal cellular capability, fingerprint security, tilt/swivel laptop/tablet designs, ultra low weight machines, laptops with Blue-ray or HD DVD players, and even burners inside, dockable systems that let a user connect to all the gear on their desk in seconds, as opposed to having to manually plug in more than a half-dozen cables.
Witness even the change from rear-mounted ports (that leave your desk visibly free of wires when the computer screen is in use) to side ports that make your laptop look like a fire engine on duty- hoses and cables plugging in everywhere. Ugh.
There will be a day when Apple does return its attention to the design of their computers. When they again show the innovation and creative design sense they gave us at the end of the 90’s.
When that will be, I do not know.
But I do know, from accessories available today, that those products were so powerful that their design sense, look and feel still affect us today. Otherwise iSkin wouldn’t make a Pismo PowerBook look-alike case, and there wouldn’t be enough of a market for them to keep making it as long as they have. People still long for the creativity shown in the G3 Series PowerBooks.