Will There Be A Fortieth Anniversary Macintosh?
By Tom Willits
December 5th 2010
Steve Jobs returned after the TAM was released,though he was physically present when the TAM was announced in January, he had nothing to do with it and it’s a good bet the TAM represented everything that was wrong with Apple in his eyes. Apple was losing millions every day between 1992 and 1997. The company was on verge of collapse and being sold to Sun Microsystems. Steve’s return changed the company forever, mostly for the better, whether he had any real influence behind the change is debatable. It can also be argued that Jonathan Ive’s designs had more to do with Apple’s rise since 1998.
Something logical to consider is that in the eighties and nineties not everyone owned a computer like today. It was actually rare in the eighties if you had one and in the nineties it wasn’t much more likely. But by 2000, the numbers were much greater a household or business had a computer.
Now consider the number of hardware computer companies out there. Apple was a household name and had strong support in the educational market. The mid nineties were tough for Apple, but computers themselves were becoming more popular. Looking at what Steve Jobs did to turn the company around doesn’t solidify his actions alone saved Apple. To some degree perhaps, but I strongly believe Apple would have returned to profitability had Amelio remained as CEO. It was inevitable. Computers were the future and there’s only so many computer companies that consumers will recognize. Like a smooth talking sales pitch, these things basically sell themselves.
Looking back at the first iMac, it’s bulky, heavy, hardly worthy of selling four million units, yet it did. I’ll admit, like the TAM, it may have looked better at the time, but my point is that people will buy the best thing available. When it comes to computers, Apple still had its name and it would live on without Steve Jobs returning.
Steve Jobs quickly slashed the prices on the TAM to get them out the door. Now that can be taken different ways. Did he hate the TAM? Or was it purely good business? The new lineup was already in the works. He’d phased out everything that wasn’t doing well and holding the company back. The TAM was a limited run machine so its days were numbered from the beginning. I tend to think it was purely a business approach. Apple needed to focus on selling more units than trying to sell a computer priced at 7499.00. The median price for the average consumer is and still is around 1000-1500 dollars.
It was speculated during Apple’s approaching thirtieth anniversary there might be a new TAM-like machine released, but it never came, leading many to wonder if Steve cared about such frivolous nonsense. It’s hard to say. Hard to say whether he has the say so to stop it or produce that kind of product. Personally I think the decision should be made as a company and the reason for that goes back to the TAM. It wasn’t a machine expected to sell millions of units. It was expensive, exclusive and short-lived. Therefor it doesn’t have any bearing on what direction the company will take. The lineup that Apple has now are all Trade names and here to stay, at least for the time.
But I do believe a Fortieth Anniversary Macintosh should be made. Not everyone will buy one. But it should be there, just like a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh was in 1997, a Fortieth is a milestone too. I say bring it on.
Now just what should a FAM look like?
© 2010 Tom Willits 20thanniversarymac.com