Apple Products as Collectibles


iMac G4 I’ve been eyeing a 17 inch iMac G4 for sometime now. It’s pretty expensive at around $560 at– not that much less than a brand new Mac mini.

I have thought about putting the 17 inch iMac in my guest room for use by any guests. It is a bit of a showpiece and I wonder if Apple would ever consider doing a “Classics” line. Why not re-use the designs with updated electronics?

I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who would love an updated PowerMac G4 Cube.  Granted, the Mac mini is a successor to the Cube in some ways.  However, the PowerMac G4 Cube was meant to be a desktop between the iMac and the Power Mac.  It was not something less powerful than the iMac. (As an aside, the G4 Cube allowed easy access to the internal components — right now, the Mac Pro is the only easily user-serviceable desktop offered by Apple — I’d love to see a return to that ease.)

The latest rumors about a redesigned iMac state that there will not be a design upgrade to the 17 inch iMac.  It is probable that the lack of design upgrade spells the end of the 17 inch iMac.  However, it could serve as a test to see which hardware design people are willing to buy.  If the 17 inch iMac sales stay constant, maybe Apple will reconsider other old designs.

I know I am not the only one who views Apple products as collectibles.  If you have not seen Soyburger’s basement full of Macs, take a look at it over on Flickr.  There is something about the design and “hack-ability” of old Apple products like the eMate or the Newton that makes these products desirable long after their introduction.  These products are no longer state of the art, but command attention.


Stephanie Guertin

I fell in love with those the moment it stuck its ‘tongue’ out in the commercials. My sweetheart has a 1.25GHz version of the big-screen ones (20″? 24″? Something like.) and I just acquired an 800MHz beauty that’s going to get a hardware upgrade.


Speaking of the 17″ iMac G4: was there ever a hack to turn the monitor from landscape to portrait and the software necessary to accompany the conversion?

Kendall Tawes

I would love to see a reissue of some of Apple’s better designs. I have started to buy a few retro relics from the past too. For $30 bucks I bought a PowerBook 165c, a PowerBook 180c, and a PowerBook Duo 230. The Duo isn’t working but the 180c and 165c both work great. I don’t know why but I like the design of the 100 series PowerBooks. Even today as ancient as they are I think they look really classy and professional. The ball mouse and two mouse buttons were genius and put together very nicely.

As for the era of Steve’s return I would love to see something like the Cube or Clamshell iBook brought back but that iMac was just wonderful and if I could find a broken one I would like to modernise the hardware but still would have to run OS X of course. I will just have to wait untill I have some extra money for a project that large. For now I’m going to go back to my 165c and play some Lode Runner or Tetris.


I can’t imagine Apple themselves releasing a classic design line of products (too niche, too much R&D for little return) but I reckon there might be enough of a market out there for a third party company to offer super-upgraded old machines.

I know I’d shell out a fair bit of cash for, say, an old compact Mac with 2007 innards – imagine an SE/30 Intel Core Duo!

Wayne Johnson

I have a 17″ iMac G4 which is on loan to my mother-in-law. I know, you’ll all agree that I am the possibly the world’s kindest son-in-law. I have an AirPort card here ready for its return to our guest room since home is now wireless. For me, the design is still something unique and not just a computer. MIL uses it for mail and word processing although The Carpenters have taken most of memory thanks to iTunes. My only concern is that since she was responsible for an aesthetically pleasing daughter, she may insist that the piece of art stay in her study so that the beauty is equally shared among households.


I still have a 17″ iMac G4 that I just gave to my wife. Hard to do as I love the floating screen and the whole design. Could not live with USB 1 anymore and I needed the speed bump for Video and Photos so I bought a MacBook Pro. Will probably keep it as a museum piece when it is no longer practical to use, but it is still as cool today as it was 4 years ago when I bought it.


This is a fantastic idea. I always thought the G4 cube was one of Apple’s smartest designs. I would love to have one of those over the mac mini if the performance was up to par. And the graphite ibooks…sigh.

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