I’m definitely not a big fan of dial-up Internet, in our ever-evolving Broadband and WiFi age. But in a pinch, it’s saved me a couple of times while traveling (obviously not with an iMac) or through a painful broadband service transition at home.
A modem is also good for sending faxes directly from your computer. OS X has for quite some time had this ability pervasively integrated into the Print… menu. In Tiger: File –> Print … –> PDF –> Fax PDF …
With today’s new iMacs, Apple appears to be removing the modem as a standard feature. Instead, the “Built-to-Order” options on the new iMac’s technical specification show that a USB Modem may be purchased separately. The bottom of the main iMac page states it is priced at $49.
On a brighter side, both new iMac configurations come with WiFi-G and Bluetooth built-in. The $199 Airport Extreme base station has always had a modem port which you can configure with any ISP, for primary or near seamless back-up connectivity.
Through buying the USB Modem or using an Airport base station, iMac modem users of tomorrow still have options available to them. But Apple is further nudging us toward Broadband. After all, they’ve got ABC shows to sell us :)