I Love The New iMac Colors: 180 Degrees In 13 Hours
February 22nd, 2001

I am going to guess that I share something in common with at least a few of you. When I first saw Apple's announced new products and the pictures of the new iMacs, I was frankly appalled. I saw the colors as something perhaps somewhat desperate, a bad idea gone worse. Since then, a mere 13 hours ago, I have come full circle and am frankly in love with the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power.

I am personally driven to understand why I think or feel the way I do, and that often leads to a lot of introspection. To those who have done the navel contemplation, you may have found that this sometimes leads to some uncomfortable realizations. For instance, I hate those that react to change negatively regardless of the merits of the change. As an example, I still feel that many of the people complaining about Mac OS X are just being reactionary, and I frankly despise that. It was therefore with some annoyance that I realized part of the reason I had such a strongly negative feeling about the new iMac colors was because it was a change. I liked Ruby (gone), Sage (gone), Indigo (still here), and Graphite (also still here) a lot. You may have noticed our new sidebar color is a shade of sage (the closest we could get with HTML colors that still worked with black text and blue and purple links). Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power seemed not only silly, frivolous, and a really bad idea, they were (gasp!) different!

Can't have that, can we?

Another reason I disliked them so strongly was because I was dismayed that the low end iMac was actually priced a hundred freakin' dollars more than it was, and I was frankly annoyed to see the high end iMac max out at 600 MHz. My frustration at these issues added to my negative thoughts on the colors. I think those were remarkably foolish decisions, but I will be ranting more about that tomorrow.

Back to the colors.

The new colors are not likely to appeal to a lot of hard core computer users. Like the Macintosh itself has always seemed to many PC dweebs, the patterns will make the new iMacs appear more like a toy to many long time Mac users. It's funny when you think about it, but I expect to see the toy argument used by some in the Mac community, never realizing the irony that they would so scream.

The colors will appeal to a much larger segment of the public though, mainstream users. Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power are outrageous, new, and they represent the first real stab at Thinking Different that we have seen since the iMac was first introduced. They also make the iMac even friendlier looking than it was. That is something that could really help bring new people to the Mac platform. If I was in the market for a new iMac, I would be tempted to buy one of the new colors. However, I need the functionality of a tower, and I would probably end up choosing Graphite in the end simply because they look so damned good. Still, if I find the new models attractive, I bet there are plenty of other folks that will too.

MacWeek's Stephen Beale discussed the colors with Linda McNulty, Apple's director of product marketing for desktop products. She told Stephen that the machines have to be seen to be appreciated because of the nature of the way the print is injected into the plastic. These aren't silk screened designs we are talking about, the design is literally a part of the plastic. Ms. McNulty says that they offer a depth of vision to the overall feel. I can believe that, and I look forward to seeing them in person. That certainly is something that has never ever been done before.

Of course, she also told MacWeek that the colors are designed to tie into the whole Music theme that Apple is pushing with iTunes. Apple spent some 18 months developing the new designs. That may be, but I do find it doubtful that there are legions of hippies just itching to download and rip MP3s, but that have been held back because The Mac just doesn't know how to make a computer look cool. We'll see.

One thing is clear, the new design will either be an incredible success or another remarkable failure along the lines of the Cube.

All of this warm fuzzy stuff out of the way, I'll be bitching about the iMacs overall form factor tomorrow, and I'll probably throw in a lot of vinegar concerning the price structure as well. I know I will complain about the Cube, so get your comments ready. :-)

I would like to recommend Rodney O/ Lain's brilliant satirical look at this in his iBrotha column from today titled Rodney Interviews Creator Of Netscape 6, 'Flower Power' Colors & The Mood-Ring iMac. It's extremely funny and a very good read.

Dave Schultz at Applelust takes a more directly contrary look at this issue as well with The New iMacs: Does Apple Think it has to Shock Us to Sell Us?