The TAM was a final sendoff of the Old World Rom PowerPC line that had been in place since 1992. It boasted the best components that were available from its verticle mounted CD Drive to the older Superdrive for floppy disks. The TAM suffered from a little too early, a little too late syndrome. If the TAM had been released just a year or two before, it would have struck a more solid chord within the Macintosh community or had it been released just a year later we would have seen more longevity out of the machine, like adding OS X and USB and Firewire without the need of third party addons which made the TAM an unsightly scene from the rear. Still, despite its shortcomings, which mostly can be blammed on timing, it is still a remarkable design, one that will be remembered by Macintosh enthusiasts as true as the original Mac 128k for years to come. It was unique, a glimpse of the future and a tribute to the past and a worthy sendoff for the Old World PowerPC linup.
Photo credits: all images from Apple promo video
Image of the rear ventilation for the internal components.
U.S. President Bill Clinton is inaugurated for his second term. The Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth, in San Diego, California 39 Heaven's Gate cultists commit mass suicide. The English Patient wins Best Picture. A Pegasus rocket carries the remains of 24 people into earth orbit, in the first space burial. Tony Blair is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by Elizabeth II. Russian-Chechen Peace Treaty is signed. Timothy McVeigh is convicted and sentenced to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Bloomsbury Plublishing plublishes JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone. The United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars. Princess Diana of Wales is pronounced dead on August 31. Jacques Cousteau dies on June 25. Titanic is released in December going on to be the highest grossing movie until Avatar. Steve Jobs returns to Apple on August 1st at Macworld Boston. Microsoft purchases 150 milllion shares of Apple.
On January 7th 1997 Apple unveils the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh at MacWorld Expo, San Francisco in a grand finale demonstration. Special appearances by Jeff Goldblum, Sinbad, Gregory Hines, Mohammmed Ali and others attend. The New York Times publishes a review on the event on January 26, documenting the events and points out during the demonstration a technical problem occured when trying to activate the video player on the TAM, ending the Expo on a negative note.
Later in February and March other reviews by Macworld, Macweek and MacUser are released and announce the TAM, finally to be released on June 1st. Prototype units have gone out to select retailers for viewing and demonstration and the Apple Promo site is up at www.twentiethanniversary.apple.com for online preorders.
On June 20, Batman & Robin releases giving the first on-screen sigting of the TAM in its early design state. On August 21st Apple announces the TAM is awarded Best of Category prize for Consumer Product entries for I.D. Magazines Annual Design Review. On October 1st, Paul Kunkel publishes a book entitled: Appledesign: The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group, with pictures of the TAM's early design workups. These images can be viewed in TAM Central on Early Design Pictures.