As Hankey reminds me, I also miss some of the more obsessed parts of computer design thanks to my desk setup facing the wall. There’s the stand: made of solid aluminum and mounted low to the rear of the 11.5-millimeter-thick screen. “This booth is something that took us a long time to achieve,” says Hankey. “And we were wrong for so long. We have probably done a hundred models of the bracket, where it connects to the product and how it relates to the hinge. The older, thicker iMacs had to be hinged higher on the back of the display and sort of sagged into place. In profile, the new iMac has the posture – upright, supported by its core – of Simone Biles after landing a double Yurchenko.
Another Apple-esque “oh, cool!” Moments on the new iMac include the TouchID button on the optional color-matched keyboard that uses my fingerprint in place of a password. The webcam which is actually (finally!) High definition, and makes everyone else on my Zooms look like they are on flip phones. The socket at the back which magnetically plinks in place, although, as Borchers points out, you will only need to deal with it once.
Speaking of Borchers, his answer to my question on why the color now, 20 years later, the focus is less on design and aesthetics, and more on a changing audience: “There is a whole body of customers who have never thought of a desktop computer before. They grew up with iPads, iPhones, MacBooks and things like that. But the idea of a desktop computer “-and here he’s starting to channel a hypothetical late-millennial or younger post-smartphone buyer, maybe a college student or recent graduate-“why would i want something sitting there like this. ” Through this, Borchers means a work desk taking up space, appliance quality, like everyone else.
Apple uses color for personality, connection and aesthetics, but also to draw smooth lines between products for Powerhouse Work and products for creation. When you see the new iMac, Apple wants you to think less about email and Slack, more about Lightroom, Photoshop, Garageband, and Ableton Live. Candy tones softly whisper the word creatorrrr in your eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s MacBook Air came in the same Lucky Charms marshmallow color set as the iMac. *
This theory of color as a way to make a device less bright and austere, more personal, is what made this first iMac G3 worthy of the Smithsonian. Then, as now, color contradicted the general feeling that sitting in front of a desktop computer was – is – a real drag. And I’m gonna get caught: Seeing the baby blue chin of my loaned iMac under the white framed screen, up close or across the room (aka my kitchen), I’m like three percent happier than I wouldn’t be otherwise. And 100 percent happy it wasn’t a dingy aluminum workstation in my living room office.
* It is important to note that neither Hankey nor Borchers (or anyone else related to Apple) said a single syllable that could be interpreted in this direction, and I am only broadcasting thoughts around the world so that I can say ” I told you. “