The 20th Anniversary Macintosh: An Unmitigated Failure

A computer so special that Apple literally sent a "concierge" to your house to set it up for you.

Behold this unboxing video of a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (TAM), which is in itself extremely special as the man who bought the computer repeatedly lashes out at the person he tasked with holding the camera to film the event:

It retailed for $12,000 USD in 2019 dollars (later dropped to less than $4,000 once they realized no one was going to buy it, which enraged people who paid full price only months earlier), and featured a 250 MHz PowerPC processor, 32 MiB of RAM (expandable to a max of 128 MiB), a 2 GiB HDD, 4x SCISI vertical mounted CD-ROM, and an Apple Super Drive FDD. It supported a maximum 800×600 resolution, and exclusively ran Mac OS Classic (up to version 9.1). It had TV Tuner and S-Video input.

Apple only manufactured 12,000 of these machines.

The 20th Century Mac (TAM) can be seen in Jerry Seinfeld's apartment in some episodes of Seinfeld season 9, and the first computer Lain has in Serial Experiments Lain is a red TAM.

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Lain's TAM.

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>power comes from the subwoofer

You need to go back


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that's right user, the 20th anniversary mac had an iconic "umbilical cord" that supplied both power and relayed signals to the speakers, which some speculate may have been the design flaw that led to the crackling speakers defect that plagued the machines.

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The title of this thread reminds me of one of those boring ass youtube videos that always get shilled for in my suggestions

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Steve Wozniak personally warned customers that using a disk partition larger than 4 GB in the TAM would cause the system to hang.

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You can tell us the real price OP

$7499, 1997

Apple was literally bankrupt at this point.

This also preceded the iMac G3, which completely turned the company around, and took cues from this failure.

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The TAM was originally intended to be a maintream Apple product mass produced for the average consumer, but they instead decided to make it a special edition computer with an enormous price tag, passing it off as a celebration of the company's anniversary.

As noted, Apple was teetering on the edge of the void. One can only imagine what would have happened if they had decided to mass produce the TAM, rather than coming up with the iMac G3.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he promptly halted sales of the TAM and slashed their prices to get rid of them as soon as possible.

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I was 10 in 1998 and we already had iMacs in school. That's how proliferant they were. The mouse was literally designed for children.

Something tells me the government gave Jobs a grant due to the fact the world wide web was ready for K12 education.

You can see again in 2002 with the iMac G4, a decidedly niche product, the stock dumps again.

The G4 cube (aka "the toaster") was another market failure.

(I actually really liked it. I picked one up a few years ago just to have.)

That's what happens when you "shrink" new processes into even smaller cases.

Jobs always imagined a home PC, that's what he wanted, something convenient. But CPU's we're really hitting a wildfire moment around 2000, shrinking fabrication just raised the clockspeeds even more. Kind of like today in the chase for more threading.

it's actually too bad that Apple invented the iPhone. aside from the fact it ruined the Internet by releasing the unwashed masses upon our sacred lands, they made so much money in that market that they basically stopped innovating desktop and laptop computers in any meaningful way.

2001 was a decent year namely with the introduction of the iBook. The Powerbook G4 on the otherhand was a nuclear warmer. This was also the year the iPod released.

But it didn't cover up the losses next year from that iMac (which I thought was pretty, at least, and not exactly overpriced, just out of reach, for a 14 yo)

It wasn't just the phone though. It was 3G that sealed it. Data was unlimited then. I had the first LTE phone in the US market and it was still unlimited. With the iPhone 5, LTE permanently opened the floodgates.

And in that sense, the 5S was the first and last good phone, because it took what the 4 and 5 had, and made it perfect...too perfect. Now we have too many transistors in such tiny SoC and people are oblivious that the Silicon industry died with the 5S.

Well, unless we're talking about desktops... but they're getting even worse. The amount of wattage fuming out of these beasts is enough to blow your surge protector. Seriously.

yes good point, it was the perfect storm. just imagine how bad things are going to get with 5G.

Would you count the SE?

The SE is just a die shrink of the 5S with a RAM upgrade.

You're not going to like what I'm going to say but my 5S and SE died on me and I ditched apple. They replaced both under a 1 year warranty, but that was my signal to dip out of the smartphone race.

As I said earlier, the transistor density is way too much. These SoC are not meant to be fully utilized, so why bother making them?

I'm not a scaredy cat but when I put a phone up to my head, I can't help but think of strange things going on. When I hold it my hands streaming megabytes per second I laugh. But when I consider somebody zipping a whole gig video through the air in a split second I stop and think... is this getting dangerous?