The iMac: Beauty Comes From Within

Wes George recently wrote an excellent article about the basic power of the iMacis design. You must read it, but his central argument is:

    Like the unaffected form of a wing or the chaste shape of a shark, the iMac represents the most elegant, simple solution possible to the design challenge presented by the concept of an affordable, all-in-one consumer PC using technology available to PC manufacturers circa 1997-2000.

Wesi argument is that the iMacis powerful design and appeal cannot be imitated because it is an evolutionary necessity, and cannot be different, and so is protected by copyright law.

It is a powerful argument, but still...

There has been other computers which did what the iMac does, being simply a compact all in one desktop computer. For example Appleis own G3 All-In-One, which was taken off the program basically when the iMac arrived, and which did not become a bestseller*.

So what does the iMac have that the All-In-One does not have, and that other imitators do not have?

In a word, elegance. And beauty. OK, that is two words, one of them wonit do it alone, I think.

The Indigo iMac
The now-banned eOne

Look at these images of the iMac and the eMachines rip-off, the eOne. The eOne was simply clumsy and ugly next to the iMac. Why? Because it was not made by artists, for the short explanation. (Steve Jobs always regarded Mac engineers as artists, and says so loudly and repeatedly.) Beauty comes from within, it comes from the very seed of creation of an object. No amount of patching will make a boring box beautiful. No amount of makeup will make Bette Midler look like Natalie Portman. (And probably no amount of practice can make Natalie sing like Bette.)

It is not possible, even with the biggest bank account in the world, to go down to your engineering apartment (and donit tell me the leaders of Dell or Gateway ever talk to their engineers) and say to them: "Make our computers beautiful!" It wonit happen. Beauty comes from within.

*the All-In-One may have been sold only to schools, though, for some odd reason. Apple also did this with the lovely eMate. Why? Why would you show the door to eager customers willing to pay for your product?

Eolake Stobblehouse is a contributing editor to the Mac Observer, specializing in cultural matters, and comes to us by way of MacCreator. Eolake is a writer, artist, and webmaster, and has been making his living from his own web sites since 1998.