Cycle of Apple innovations

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
It just occurred to me today that Apple has come out with a totally unexpected, really cool industrial design every two years since Steve Jobs' return. Look at this:

1998 - Original iMac

2000 - Cube

2002 - New iMac

You could even say the same things about their laptops, which go between the desktop innovations:

1997 - Newer style, 14" PowerBook G3

1999 - iBook

2001 - PowerBook G4

Looking even closer, you'll note that the innovations alternate between the Pro and Consumer lines. iMac, PowerMac, iMac; and PowerBook, iBook, PowerBook. So we're due for a super cool new iBook in 2003 and a super cool new PowerMac in 2004. And 2004 is special because it's the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh.

Or maybe it's just coincidence. I think it takes, what, two years or so to design a really new product? So maybe I'm just blowing hot air

Edit: After re-reading my post, I'd have to say that only the desktops really fit the description of "totally unexpected." Their laptops have still been innovative, but they haven't had the sheer jaw-dropping impact of the desktops. And mentioning the PowerBook G3 may be grabbing at straws; it was cool but not as big as the others.

[ 06-25-2002: Message edited by: Luca Rescigno ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 2
    I must say

    I too am a history buff when it comes to researching Apple products. Lemme try to add some stuff:

    First off you said that it went iMac (98) Powermac (Cube 00) iMac (02) but what about the new B&W Powermac in 1999? Its case design was radical and impressive. I still rant on and on how its the best-ever case design due to its handles (laugh all you want, they are handy in a move!) and easy-access components. But this El-Capitan design hasn't been seriously changed since 1999, so its due for a refreshing. I predict we'll see a new case design in July, but if we don't, what we have is still as useful as ever.

    Second, I doubt we'll see a revolutionary iBook in 03. We got our revolutionary new updated iBook in 2001 (Snow). Its an amazingly rugged machine. I think an improved Powerbook is more likely--it will have gone longer without a case mod. I've said that MWNY will be a Powermac show, and that the laptops will get their day. MWSF probably will be a Powerbook show, with MW Tokyo showing iBooks. (MAYBE!)

    Also interesting is a few other patterns possible:

    Hockey Puck Mouse (iMac): July 98

    Apple Pro Mouse (current): July 00

    New Mouse (Presley?): July 02?

    I've predicted a new mouse based solely on this history, not on allenmcjones's posts. Besides, OS X can really take advantage of a 2 button mouse, and Apple knows its pro customers are tired of control-clicking on a machine. I'd say our new mouse will be designed as the current one is, for any sized hand, left or right handed.

    Also of note is the times when Apple puts in "revolutionary" things:

    --No Legacy support: Summer 98 (iMac)

    --Firewire (standard): Jan 99 (Blue/White)

    --Airport: Summer 99 (iBook)

    --Gigabit Ethernet standard: August 00

    --Multiple procs standard: August 00

    --ADC: August 00

    --Digital Amp: Jan 01

    --Superdrive: Jan 01

    I'd say we're in for some great new technology in MWNY and I won't begin to predict what--thats for you all to do!
  • Reply 2 of 2
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I agree that the iBook probably won't get a major redesign in 2003. The PowerBook is much more likely to get redesigned then.

    My predictions for how major updates will go are not in line with what this "pattern" predicts. Besides, the whole idea was based solely on my noticing one day that the Bondi iMac, Cube, and G4 iMac were each released two years apart. The rest had more to do with looking for things I wanted to find. I could have picked the dual USB iBook as a major change, or the Blue and White G3, but I didn't because they didn't fit in quite right. So I think the only reason we see innovative products like the Cube and iMac every two years is because that's how long it takes to develop one. They finish up one project, and then the creative design team moves on to the next.
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