20th Anniversary Macintosh

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The 20th Anniversary Macintosh has to be one of the most innovative designs Apple has ever come up with. Returning to their roots as a leader in pioneering technology, Apple has created a machine unlike any other. But just like many cool-looking machines before it, the technology came at a price. Originally slated to cost $9000, it went down to $7500 upon introduction in spring of 1997. As you have probably guessed, this machine was supposed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Apple Computer, Inc. even though it was released an entire year later (unless they interpreted the company's incorporation date as the its birth). Anyway, this machine is a marvel. Based on a 250 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, it has a 12.1" active-matrix LCD display capable of 24-bit color at 800x600 pixel resolution. Since this Mac does not have the limited power supply of the similar PowerBook 3400 which its internal design resembles, it is able to display at such a high bit depth at such a relatively high resolutions on an active-matrix display. The result is incredible, a beautiful LCD display only paralleled by Apple's recently released Apple Studio Display monitor. The Alchemy logic board is the same one used in the PowerMac 6400, and is as expandable as that model taking all standard PCI slots. Another dream-like feature of the 20th Anniversary Mac is the sound system/power supply. Apple has cleverly developed a seperate power supply that is also an incredible subwoofer designed by Bose. Bose also designed the speakers on the sides of the machine, incorporating the most advanced technology the company is now creating. Alos deserving honorable mention are the drives and peripherals. Apple installed a side-mounted (vertical) CD-ROM that runs at 4x, the fastest currently available for side-mounded CD-ROM drives. The floppy drive is almost undistiguishable, hiding on one side of the machine next to one of the speaker grills. The only thing that leaves me wondering "Why'd they do that?" is the interesting but out-of-place keyboard (shown below). Similar to PowerBook keyboards, it has smaller function keys and no extended keyboard functions (like the numeric keypad, etc.). It also includes a trackpad. Even so, this is one really cool machine that had users drooling when they saw it for the first time. By the way, if anybody would like to donate one of these babies to the Museum, I'd be more than happy to take it.

Code Name:
Spartacus, Ponoma

Processor: PowerPC 603e running at 250 MHz.
Memory: 32MB of RAM expandable to 128 MB via two DIMM slots, 256k L2 cache.
Display: back-lit 12.1" active-matrix LCD screen was capable of 24-Bit color at 800x600
Drives: 1.44 MB floppy drive, 4x CD-ROM (max speed available for vertical drives)
Expansion: 1 PCI slot, Communications slot for an ethernet card or internal modem. Also comes with an integrated TV/FM Radio System, and S-Video Input.

Operating Systems:
Mac OS: Mac OS 7.61-8.0
Rhapsody: Rhapsody for PowerPC CR1.
Windows: 3.1-95, NT via PC compatiblity card or via emulation
OpenStep: all versions (commonly 4.2) via emulation or PC compatiblity card.
BeOS: all releases.
ProDOS: ProDOS 8 via emulation.
GS/OS: System 6.01 via emulation.

Interesting Facts:
The 20th Anniversary Mac's sleek and futuristic shape hasn't escaped the entertainment world. You can see it making cameos in Seinfeld, The Pretender, and Batman & Robin in which it co-starred with fellow Apple innovation, the eMate 300. Who could blame them? What else would a secret government organization and a famous superhero use?

The 20th Anniversary Mac is now becoming one of Apple's hottest items. It seems the rather slow processor, lack of expandibility, and super-high original price didn't sell the machine to well. To remedy the situation, Apple recently cut the cost dramatically. MacMall and MacConnection have it for $3499, but several other companies have gone as low as $1861!!! Now's your chance to get me one too!

Resources & Related Links:
February 1997 issue of MacUser.
Glen Sanford's A History of Apple Computer.
Picture from MacUser Web Edition.