Nostalgia is a funny thing. I miss ’80s music with the passion of a die-hard fan, even though I was never around to experience it. I also miss things I know I hated at the time they were happening. Along those lines, now that the iMac’s old design is rumored to finally be getting a revamp, artists are exploring a more retro approach to a 2020 iMac — and the nostalgia is real.
One of my favorites so far is this iMac mock-up by London-based designer Xhakomo Doda that takes its inspiration from the iMac G4. It brings the design right up to date, complete with razor-thin bezels and a Space Gray metal construction. Somehow, it made me miss the quirky, oddball design of the iMac G4 from 2002, even though I never owned one.
Doda’s design has a lot of fine details that nod to Apple’s past, present, and future. The all-in-one, Anglepoise-style design is right out of the iMac G4 playbook. That design was actually inspired by the sunflowers in Steve Jobs’ garden. The rounded corners of the display, meanwhile, are reminiscent of the iPad Pro, with its sweeping curves and flat sides. It is a clever way to bring a classic design right into 2020.
The mock-up’s keyboard, meanwhile, appears to be an entirely flat sheet of glass, with a virtual keyboard displayed on top. While the new Magic Keyboard appears to right the wrongs of the butterfly keyboard era, we also know Apple has patented glass keyboards and surfaces that can give tactile feedback to mimic the shape and feel of keys — could a keyboard like this be in the pipeline?
The final element is the mouse, which Doda imagines as taking a break from the flat, slab-like form of the current Magic Mouse. I know several Mac users who complain of getting repetitive strain injuries from Apple’s slimline mouse, but Doda’s imagining takes a more traditional shape — while retaining the invisible buttons Apple’s mice are kitted out with.
The G4 was the first time technology had advanced enough to allow Apple to play around with a flat-screen display. It was the first time miniaturization had become sophisticated enough to let Apple stuff an entire computer into a bite-sized monitor stand. After the runaway success of the iMac G3, Apple had enough cash — and confidence — to make another bold, innovative computer in the shape of the G4. There is even one in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Sadly, we are not sure Apple would ever revive the iMac G4 in quite this way. Returning to an old iMac style would suggest that not only is the current design a misstep, but that Apple is all out of ideas for the future. Still, Apple has patented stranger concepts — an iMac made from a single sheet of curved material is one such idea we know the company is at least considering.
We are not holding our breath for the iMac G4 to make a comeback any time soon, but I know I certainly would not mind having one of these retro-futuristic computers sitting proudly on my desk at home.
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