Some go back in time and list the best rock’n roll songs of all time, or the best One Hit Wonders. Luke Dormehl came up with a list of the 20 most important Macs of all time. What’s missing from all these lists is a favorite topic: The Worst Macs Ever.
The Mac turned 35 years old this week and what better time to reminisce on the glory days of yesteryear than a list of the best Macs ever? Everyone has their favorites, but what about the worst Macs? To be fair, almost any Mac from yesteryear is the worst when compared to today’s Mac line. Through the years I’ve had my fair share of Macs I could not wait to get rid of.
Here are a few:
Macintosh Portable – OK, this wasn’t mine. It was my father’s first portable computer and it was heavy enough that I couldn’t lift it (how old do you think I am?). My father had a Compaq portable, too. He called it a luggable. It was outrageously expensive, crazy underpowered, and while it looked pretty cool, using the term portable was laughable.
20th Anniversary Mac – I was a teenager when this one hit the streets. I thought I saw one on Seinfeld once. My father didn’t buy one because expensive and underpowered. $9,000. Seriously. He was a bargain hunter.
PowerBook 100 – Alright, this one does not belong on a list of The Worst Macs Ever, but I’m sure you wanted to know about my first Mac. This was it. $999 at Businessland; some kind of close out deal. I told you my father was a bargain hunter.
iBook – Yes, I owned one of these, too. Not the plastic iBook that looked like a real notebook. This was the candy colored clamshell notebook inspired by the very successful iMac of the late 1990s. The claim to fame? Wi-Fi.
Mac mini – Today’s Mac mini is a beast by comparison to the original in 2005. Remember the PowerPC chip? That was before the Mac went Intel Inside. I kept mine for 10 years, and much of the last five it didn’t do anything except boot up. 512MB of RAM. An actual hard disk drive inside. No Wi-Fi.
iMac G4 – My father had one of these, too, and it was, well, strangely beautiful and highly anemic considering the price tag. I’m not sure what Apple’s Steve Jobs saw in the gum drop case and the goose neck display, but he’s also the guy who loved the hockey puck mouse on the first iMac.
I could add a few others to the list but I preferred to mention those with which I had some experience. Similar lists have the crazy expensive Macintosh IIvi, and a couple of the clones, including the Umax SuperMac S900 (rolls off the tongue, right?). Remember Macintosh TV? I saw plenty of the LC models in school. The eMac was butt ugly, and the early Macs– Classic, SE 30, Color Classic– had a strange beauty about them.
The original Mac mini was $499. My PowerBook 100 was less than $1,000. None of those Macs compare favorably to any Mac that Apple makes today.