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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

Flavor Packs: What The Next iMac Should Have
August 24th, 1999

Steve Jobs will be delivering keynote speeches at a few of events in the coming weeks. The closest one is Seybold San Francisco (August 30-September 3). He might announce changes to the iMac.

I am not going to speculate here; what I want to discuss is very different. I want to talk about what Apple should announce.

The iMac flavors are popular. When the product was introduced last year, customers requested the opportunity to choose from more than just bondi blue. Apple then responded with the five flavors we know and love today. Yummy!

I think Apple could go further. If it is possible to manufacture flavored computers, we should have much more than five choices! The question is: how to do it? It is simple.

Flavor Packs.

Did you take a close look at your Apple USB Mouse since you got it? When I reviewed a product called UniTrap, a shell that you snap on to change the infamous iPuck into a bigger mouse, I found something very interesting. You can easily take the "flavored" plastic sides off the mouse! Then you can replace them with the sides of another mouse if you decide to trade flavors with someone else.

Imagine the possibilities if the whole computer could be like this. Apple would have to change the industrial design enough so that we could remove the flavored plastic and snap it back on at will. It would mean sacrificing a bit of transparency, but the list of possible iMac flavors would be endless.

Apple could then produce "flavor packs" - probably after finding out what colors would be the most popular - and sell them at a good price. I am sure that this is technically possible. If the geniuses at Apple designed the iMac and made the USB mouse plastics removable, they can do it for the whole iMac. If it worked, the G3 and iBook could also take advantage of it.

The possibilities would mushroom. The thought of an Army Camouflage or Sand iBook sounds very nice to me...


Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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