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New hardware designs...where to go?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
First off, I hope I'm putting this in the proper forum. It might need to be in General Discussion? Mods, feel free to put this in the proper place.

I'm sitting here tonight, looking at my LCD iMac, thinking about the iBook (see my thread in General Discussion) and mulling over most of Apple's current stuff.

Honestly...HOW are they going to top some of this stuff?



The iMac is perfect, IMO. The design allows for screen size changes with no redesign to the body (unlike the CRT "jellybean" iMacs).

Jobs wanted the drives mounted horizontally to allow for higher speeds and all.

That chrome arm (and the variety of positions it allows the screen to be in) is pure genius and quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen, computer-wise.

Honest to goodness, how will Apple ever improve upon - or top - this design? They can make it faster, with bigger hard drives and all, of course. But I'm talking specifically about the industrial design.

I defy anyone here to do a mock-up that would trump the current LCD iMac.

All the above kinda goes for the iBook too, now that I think about it.

AND the Titanium PowerBook (how much skinnier could it get and still exist?).



Have you noticed the lack of "mock up" galleries and efforts as of late? We can't top this stuff, people!

I'd give anything to leapfrog 2-3 years into the future (2005 or 2006) and see what Apple has in their lineup then!



Thoughts? Has Apple gotten as cool as they can get and hit the ceiling on design/functionality?

How much "flat" can you make an LCD? How could/would you improve the current iMac, strictly from a design standpoint.
post #2 of 56
The Pro Towers have a lot of room for improvement. At present, they seem more like a stopgap than anything really cool. Almost everything could be improved: Processor speed, memory bandwidth, connectivity (USB 2, Firewire 2), noise level, system buss, etc. It's hard to imagine buying a dual gig now & still loving it in 4 years like my Jan'99 Blue & White. I want a new system next year, but not anything I've seen yet.
post #3 of 56
I've heard the 970 is in fact ready to go, but Ives and Jobs are still scribbling on napkins to nail the case design.
post #4 of 56
The towers can be improved a lot, maybe a move away from the generic appearance of a tower. I remember seeing the "G5 Sphere" mock-ups, but not in a while.
post #5 of 56
I liked that picture of the xserve looking powermac that was floating around here about 5 months ago.
post #6 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by iBrowse:
<strong>The towers can be improved a lot, maybe a move away from the generic appearance of a tower. I remember seeing the "G5 Sphere" mock-ups, but not in a while.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I have a feeling though that the Pro Towers will always be a "tower".
post #7 of 56
When I'm horny for new design concepts, I sometimes go to <a href="http://www.applele.com" target="_blank">applele</a> for a fix. Not too much great going on there these days, though.

As for non-tower towers, here's the Applele tower concept that matches the salad bowl iMac pretty well:

post #8 of 56
I think the next trick will be to bring Apple style to an affordable, light tablet computer.

No joke -- whether it's an supplement to your current computer (a-ha!), or a whole new product line (hmmm.), it's surely in the pipeline.

Otherwise (and except for the tower, which is design limbo), I agree, Apple has the look of their products down to a science. I can only think of tiny improvements, along with the eternal desires of Thinner and Lighter.

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: Hobbes ]</p>
post #9 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by tonton:
[QB]When I'm horny for new design concepts, I sometimes go to <a href="http://www.applele.com" target="_blank">applele</a> for a fix. Not too much great going on there these days, though.

As for non-tower towers, here's the Applele tower concept that matches the salad bowl iMac pretty well:
<hr></blockquote>

Looks like my Honeywell Air Filter!
post #10 of 56
grr! DP.

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: Hobbes ]</p>
post #11 of 56
For those interested in learning more about liquidmetal, here's the site...

<a href="http://www.liquidmetalgolf.com/index/index.cfm" target="_blank">http://www.liquidmetalgolf.com/index/index.cfm</a>

 

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post #12 of 56
over here in germany, we had about 80 years ago the discussion: form follows function? function follows form?

what IS a computer?

problem with an apple is (never believed, i had to say this!), it wants to be an all-in-one, or as we say here: an egg-laying-wool-milk-swine.

an apple computer is a lifestyle component: my Cube would fit perfect in a household, beside my stereo and my tv set.

BUT: an apple computer is also sold as a tool - a typewriter, a calculator, a drawing sheet-

so:
WHICH FUNCTION TO FOLLOW?

is it a hub? is it a tool? what kind of tool?

depends of software, depends of your lifestyle-

probably, for pro users, the "virtual" machine would be a concept: you have different sheets (have you heard of electronic paper?), you can place on your desk, at the wall, you can take with you (have you heard of MITs/Negropontes concept of the "traveling cubical"? you wear a badge, the room identifies, where you are and which docs you need: e.g. leaving a meeting, all datas of the whiteborad are automatically transfered to your workspace-).

maybe we see in the near future lots of tiny pieces: a tiny place, size of a crystal case, where you can place your dvd - and datas are available. a keyboard. a headset. glasses, beaming screens on your retina (25 years ago i never believed, people dare to wear - sonys first were orange! - headphones in public- why not data glasses? more intimate, more personal computing).
everything wireless, no protocols etc (who says rendevouz?), instant on. question is: has a computer it's "natural" habitat UNDER the desk? or can you think of some hardware, where everything has its own place: the keyboard, the dvd, the monitor is in reach, the "bzzz"things are "somewhere"?-

for household usage, we will see nothing. the goal has to be the total integration/assimilation in your lifestyle - wireless, of course. instant on, foldable, small but usefull.

i agree: the actual imac is desing at its best.
i agree: a tablet computer is a/just one possibility.

BUT:
for marketing reason ("oh, is this an apple on your desk?"), the "virtual machine" is not a good concept - or do you recognize the brand of a piece of paper? how do brand a laser-beamed projection on the wall?

things will get smaller, easier to use, i like the idea of "lego bricks" - not the peecee concept of screwing things up/together, but to have different elements connceted automatically.

i'm surfing the iNet with my ibook on my knees, via bluetooth it has a connection to my sony t68i somewhere in my pockets - i don't have to think about protocolls, connectors, cable length, switches, blablabla. imagine, you can "brake" of the tft of a powerbook, so the "machine" is just the keyboard. put a very small (pda size) on it when travelling. a bigger one for bigger jobs. a wireless connection to your tv/big screen, when needed. the harddrive is extern, the keyboard has just some gigs of ram-

there is lots of space for new, innovative design - depends on availability of technology

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: k_munic ]</p>
post #13 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>
Honest to goodness, how will Apple ever improve upon - or top - this design? They can make it faster, with bigger hard drives and all, of course. But I'm talking specifically about the industrial design.

How much "flat" can you make an LCD? How could/would you improve the current iMac, strictly from a design standpoint.</strong><hr></blockquote>

It think we unfortunately have to wait for some drastic innovations in technologies and / or material (Liquid Metal) before we see completely new industrial designs for Macs. Until then, only minor revisions of current models will see daylight. The only exception from this rule is the PowerMac tower. This translucent look definitely has to go. My guess is, that the next PM case will be either white or titanium.
Personally i'd love to see a design which takes the opposite direction from the "all-in-one" concept. A PowerMac which is made of separate components with the size of portable CD-players or even smaller. These small boxes should be easily attachable to each other with a special connector (no cables) and thus you could configure / update your system any time whe way you like.
post #14 of 56
Liquid METAL. Hmmm. Nice link!!!

Watched the movie.

I think the Powerbook would benefit most! But can you get much thinner? 3/4 inch? Half? Dunno. Leave it to Apple.

All metal cast iMac? The current design is going to be hard to trump!

Though I think the most could be done with the 'power'Mac towers. A 970 intro'? I'd love to see a stunning cube-esque design. Make the inches bigger for expandability, put the brick INSIDE and give it a quiet fan, too much to ask?

The current tower design is functional and superb with it. However, it looks the most tired and 'hotch potched' design at Apple after the 'eMac' (which looks like a Bastard child. Not bad. Could have done better!)

Lemon Bon Bon

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: Lemon Bon Bon ]</p>
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post #15 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>
Honestly...HOW are they going to top some of this stuff?

Have you noticed the lack of "mock up" galleries and efforts as of late? We can't top this stuff, people!
</strong><hr></blockquote>
Actually I like many of the mockups a lot more, compared to Apple's designs... (iMac that is - El Capitan 0wnZ)
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post #16 of 56
Yeah, I know whut yer mean. 'Specially on dem eMacs...

LEmon BoN Bon
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post #17 of 56
While the new iMacs are brilliant they are far from perfect. Here's a list of possible improvements.

Eliminate the fans for a quieter working environment.

Speakers should be built into the display for proper stereo imaging without wires and extraneous objects cluttering up the desk of our AIO mac.

Built-in adjustable video camera.

Built in sub-woofer.

Ports on the front where you can actually reach them.

Ability to rotate the screen... How else are you going to mount it upside down under your kitchen cabinets?

Digital integration with home theater components. Our 'digital hubs' currently only support analog stereo over a minijack or stereo USB output.

I love my G4 but this list could go on forever...
post #18 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by Lemon Bon Bon:
<strong>Liquid METAL. Hmmm. Nice link!!!

Watched the movie.

I think the Powerbook would benefit most! But can you get much thinner? 3/4 inch? Half? Dunno. Leave it to Apple.

All metal cast iMac? The current design is going to be hard to trump!

Though I think the most could be done with the 'power'Mac towers. A 970 intro'? I'd love to see a stunning cube-esque design. Make the inches bigger for expandability, put the brick INSIDE and give it a quiet fan, too much to ask?

The current tower design is functional and superb with it. However, it looks the most tired and 'hotch potched' design at Apple after the 'eMac' (which looks like a Bastard child. Not bad. Could have done better!)

Lemon Bon Bon

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: Lemon Bon Bon ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah...I think a liquidmetal cast iMac and eMac would look f**king awesome.

 

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post #19 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by k_munic:

...for marketing reason ("oh, is this an apple on your desk?"), the "virtual machine" is not a good concept - or do you recognize the brand of a piece of paper? how do brand a laser-beamed projection on the wall?

[<hr></blockquote>

Maybe as we're walking around with goggles on typing in midair accessing a virtual keyboard, we'll be required to wear a helmet or jumpsuit or something with a big Apple on it. Or maybe it's an Apple pendant that is synched via bluetooth to the CPU and won't let you into the computer unless you're weaing it - security and advertising!

Incidentally, you've got some interesting thoughts, k munic.

fish
post #20 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by dfiler:
<strong>While the new iMacs are brilliant they are far from perfect. Here's a list of possible improvements.

Eliminate the fans for a quieter working environment.

Speakers should be built into the display for proper stereo imaging without wires and extraneous objects cluttering up the desk of our AIO mac.

Built-in adjustable video camera.

Built in sub-woofer.

Ports on the front where you can actually reach them.

Ability to rotate the screen... How else are you going to mount it upside down under your kitchen cabinets?

Digital integration with home theater components. Our 'digital hubs' currently only support analog stereo over a minijack or stereo USB output.

I love my G4 but this list could go on forever...</strong><hr></blockquote>

ports on the front are TOO ugly!

proper stereo speaks wouldn't work because of their thickness, there are limitations when creating sound. Also a built in sub-woofer?! it would rattle the cd too much, not to mention your whole desk, that is why you put it on the ground in the corer or something.

build in video camera isn't a bad idea, also a build in mice beside it would be good, assuming it could pick up reasonably well
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post #21 of 56
My wishlist for the towers:

1. 2 FW2 ports and 2 USB2 ports on front of machine
2. 4 FW2 ports and 6 USB2 ports on the back
3. Integrated surge supression
4. Back of computer separate from motherboard door, so cables don't swing down with door. Not sure how to do this, but it would be cool.
5. More HD bays
6. Cardreader for digi camera cards on front.

My wishlist for Powerbook:

1. Better hinges
2. 2 firewire2 ports
3. Sturdier design
4. removable media bay
5. bluetooth
6. av out like ibook

The hardware IS pretty darn awesome, though!

geez, I can't spell tonight!

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: browncow ]</p>
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post #22 of 56
I don't think of the tower as in limbo, it's the best tower case money can buy for a near perfect balance of access, expansion, and size. It's not as pretty as it used to be, but it's still the best looking tower case on the market despite that. No real problems.

The books? Nice, but the white direction of the newest low-end is just too white. Something less shiny and more silvery might be nice for the iBooks.

TiBooks could stand a little ruggedization, but the demands of maximum screen size in minimum enclosure more or less guarantee a flat box. At least Apple's flat boxes are clean, though I'dlike to see them a bit darker.

The iMac is a great A-I-O shape with superb ergos. However, it'd be nice to rework the insides to accomodate user accesible optical and HD bays, RAM slots, a CPU daughtercard and an AGP slot. This would surely mean a larger base, but if a 19" widescreen mac were to materialize a slightly larger base wouldn't be at all out of place. Perhaps something oval rather than round, to accentuate the wideness. Maybe even built-in flat panel speaker drivers to either side of the display.

This buyer will not buy a desktopp machine without a minimum of CPU, GPU, and end user accessible drive replacement/upgradeability. A PC card slot wouldn't be too far out of the question either. Something to deal with USB2/3 firewireXYZ or whateer else comes down the line.
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post #23 of 56
PS, the iMac arm rocks, time to migrate it over to the standalone displays.

17 and 19, no problem; 22-23? Could probably be dealt with using counterweights and resistance. Something like this concept, but not the execution:



[ 12-19-2002: Message edited by: Matsu ]</p>
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post #24 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>

(LCD iMac, iBook)

Honestly...HOW are they going to top some of this stuff?

I'd give anything to leapfrog 2-3 years into the future (2005 or 2006) and see what Apple has in their lineup then!
</strong><hr></blockquote>

From a design standpoint, I am not a big fan of LCD's when it comes to Brightness/Contrast. LCDs can and will win this area adventually, but I haven't been the biggest fan so far. But what's worse is running an LCD at different resolutions. And last time I checked you can't upgrade the graphics card on an iMac, so when you want to play game X, and you can't run it well in resolution Y, what options are there really left???

(That might just end up being my reason to buy an eMac, for the tube...)

However, I must admit, the iMac and the iBook are sweet. If I bought an ibook today, I'd choose a 12" option, the 14" doesn't feature a bigger keyboard, and the 12" ends up being smaller (2" can be a lot on a mobile device.) [but I sure as hell wouldn't pass up a powerbook]


I think a real cube-esque device actually has demand. What else will you put in the digital living room? A Cube allows potential for an AGP and a PCI slot, and Apple's usually come with only 1 optical drive anyway... Plus Window's Cube's are starting to exist with exactly all that... and then you can add your own Display Device... Plasma/HDTV anyone???

You can get cheap 17" Sony Trinitron refurbished monitors from a store I frequent, currently under $49 for 17", $79 for 19"...

And LCD prices are only going to drop...

Upgrading Graphics cards is a good idea...
post #25 of 56
Apple seems to notice little things that no other manufacturer would even bother to change.

For example, they bettered the Rev A. of the FP iMac when they removed those tiny screws on the sides of the 15" display.

I suspect the most of the hardware will remain unchanged for another year or so, perhaps except for subtle changes in the tone of silver, white and chrome.
post #26 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by k_munic:
<strong>over here in germany, we had about 80 years ago the discussion: form follows function? function follows form?

what IS a computer?

....ETC....
there is lots of space for new, innovative design - depends on availability of technology

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: k_munic ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Thank you very much k_munic for a great post and a most welcome perspective. I've been battling the desire to be up with the latest on the TiBook, because I have a Pismo PowerBook G3 500 with max memory. The form is in fact more useable on a daily basis when moving from place to place, the curves, the "bulk" makes for a better grip, and I already have a zillion attachments, from Zip250, DVD, HD, even SuperDisk (remember those?) and extra batteries, so is the "Form" . I don't need reminding about the G4 or the screen, which I love, but I'm talking day by day use on the road. At home, I, too, am a Super Cube user with a Cinema Display so I'm covered there. I, too, love the little iBook and I keep a 500 purchased in Japan for my Japanese DVD's.

[ 12-17-2002: Message edited by: Cubit ]</p>
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post #27 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by tonton:
<strong>When I'm horny for new design concepts, I sometimes go to <a href="http://www.applele.com" target="_blank">applele</a> for a fix......:

</strong><hr></blockquote>

Thanks for the Applele site. I somehow had missed this Japan Apple site and am grateful to you for it
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post #28 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by Lemon Bon Bon:
<strong> But can you get much thinner?</strong><hr></blockquote>

How about a tablet computer, made using the circutry-on-LCD technology Samsung (?) announced recently. Use intergrated bluetooth for peripherals, and intergrated AirPort for networking. That could be 1/2 a centimetre!*

Barto

*I know this stuff is ~5 years off, but so was flip-chips, liquid cooling for portables, LCDs, etc. etc. at some point.

[ 12-18-2002: Message edited by: Barto ]</p>
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post #29 of 56
actually, i could see them going with an encased OLED style shell in the future. that way you can customize the look of your mac just like your desktop.

that would take the cake for personalizing your machine.

besides, you could have your tangerine on the weekends and be back to grey/black at work.

-alcimedes
post #30 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by alcimedes:
<strong>actually, i could see them going with an encased OLED style shell in the future. that way you can customize the look of your mac just like your desktop.

that would take the cake for personalizing your machine.

besides, you could have your tangerine on the weekends and be back to grey/black at work.

-alcimedes</strong><hr></blockquote>


Really? That seems very un-apple to me. They go with consistancy, with trust in the Apple ID team...not with the end user (Hence, no skins/themes in most apple apps). I could, however, see Dell doing that (but someone like Alienware would have to do it first).
post #31 of 56
yeah, but flowers and polka dots? at least OLED skin would be cool.

although i see what you mean about a consistant image.

although if they're the only computers with a skin that can change while you look at it, well, that would would be unique and identifying.
post #32 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by alcimedes:
<strong>yeah, but flowers and polka dots? at least OLED skin would be cool.

although i see what you mean about a consistant image.

although if they're the only computers with a skin that can change while you look at it, well, that would would be unique and identifying. </strong><hr></blockquote>

yeah, flowers and polka dots...I see what you mean. Didn't it take Apple like two years R&D to get that stuff right? It is a shame they stopped with flowers and polka dots, they could have made some really interesting designs...

Also, point taken re skin being unique and identifying. I just think it has the potential to be very tacky. Just like, IMO, most iBook case mods are very tacky.
post #33 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by alcimedes:
<strong>... besides, you could have your tangerine on the weekends and be back to grey/black at work.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Or grey/black on the weekends and be back to tangerine at work.
post #34 of 56
an OLED screen with a liquid metal case would set apple up for some SUPER thin cases.

You could even switch to a touch keyboard so you don't need as much depth (though i think i heard somewhere most users like to have some responce when they type)

...there are problems with making a case thinner then the already super thing TiBook though:

special slot loading drive, special hard drive, and cooling the processor becomes a real feat i believe

the main thing is that the more thing a laptop becomes the less volume the battery can have, thus the less amount of energy it can store without getting bigger (Length and width, not depth)
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post #35 of 56
The PM and iMac definitely need a couple FW and USB ports on the front.

When I was in Japan a couple weeks ago NEC was running some interesting ads on TV. They showed people holding what might be a PDA sized device but it was a totally transparent, thin sheet. On this was a color video screen about four inches diagonal. Of course, it was all fake (Maya or something). However, it looked kind of cool. Nothing visible but the display.
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post #36 of 56
What do u guys thing of this ?

post #37 of 56
[quote] The PM and iMac definitely need a couple FW and USB ports on the front. <hr></blockquote>

like the U.F.O (aka iRise)....as soon as the price point hits 99 bucks, i'll pick one up...make digital camera and camcorder and palm pilot use easier....

like how the ports are covered when not in use...g

<a href="http://www.xtrememac.com/formac/ufo.shtml" target="_blank">here</a>

ps...how well does firewire go through a hub??? i know that some things didn't like usb hubs (my scanner, sometimes my printer....i would like the front usb and firewire, but not if i can't use it well with my camcorder)....g

[ 12-20-2002: Message edited by: thegelding ]</p>
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post #38 of 56
things on the front are ugly, apple should put the powerbutton on the iMacs monitor like their displays, that would be better then currently, and as for audio...too ugly with anything else on the fron't...they are trying to minimalize thigns standing out...thus the secret drive
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post #39 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by ast3r3x:
<strong>things on the front are ugly, apple should put the powerbutton on the iMacs monitor like their displays, that would be better then currently, and as for audio...too ugly with anything else on the fron't...they are trying to minimalize thigns standing out...thus the secret drive</strong><hr></blockquote>


i agree with you that a lot of clutter on the front is less attractive.... but...
1. i owned an iMac DVSE and the headphones n powerbutton were great in front....looked nice with the throbbing sleep lights....

2.i dont like the power button on the back/side....too 80s. as far as the power button on the monitor, i thought about that...and hehe...with that thing being so easy to move around...i dont see how thatwould be feasable unless it's really sensitive.

3. headphone jacks need to be easily accesable... i remember in the early PC days when they had it behind...made no sence whatsoever.

4. if you ask me, i want the power buttons back on the keyboars across all the desktops.
post #40 of 56
[quote]Originally posted by Hawkeye_a:
<strong>


i agree with you that a lot of clutter on the front is less attractive.... but...
1. i owned an iMac DVSE and the headphones n powerbutton were great in front....looked nice with the throbbing sleep lights....

2.i dont like the power button on the back/side....too 80s. as far as the power button on the monitor, i thought about that...and hehe...with that thing being so easy to move around...i dont see how thatwould be feasable unless it's really sensitive.

3. headphone jacks need to be easily accesable... i remember in the early PC days when they had it behind...made no sence whatsoever.

4. if you ask me, i want the power buttons back on the keyboars across all the desktops.</strong><hr></blockquote>

well the powerbuttons are very sensitive, but i guess we can't expect peopel to baby push the button...i wouldn't mind it on the front, i HATE it in the back...i would love it on the keyboard also.

as for headphones on the front, well i guess i'm not bothered by that because i constantly have my stereo hooked up and i just plug headphones into my stereo if i need to...then again it never bothers me on the G4 switchign from my speakers to heaphones oh well thats me
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