The Beige G3: 1997-2003

It seems Apple has sentenced the beige G3 to death-while sparing the tray loading iMac.

Monday morning I wandered over to Low End Mac, and saw the article titled "Beige G3 Abandoned by Panther? Is it Really Inevitable?" This brought a sinking feeling into the pit of my stomach. Was the end of OS upgrades near for my one and only Mac, the Beige G3? Was this also possibly the end of even future software updates? According to the article, Apple is to only drop support for the Beige G3, yet it continues to support all iMac's, which the original ones, I might add, are slower than the Beige G3. Why? This doesn't make sense. Other than the ROM in the Beige G3, what does a 233MHz iMac have over a 266MHz or even a 333MHz Beige G3? The Beige G3 can support a better video card, bigger HD and more overall expansion.

The tray loading iMac, along with the Beige G3, both have to install Mac OS X on a partition that's within the first 8GB of the hard drive. So what does the iMac have over the Beige G3? According to Accelerate Your Mac, Mac's without built-in USB aren't supported under Panther (at least with the developer preview). Has Apple just pulled out the ADB drivers? Or is it too much work to rewrite the ADB drivers for Panther? Or is Apple just trying to make a clean cut line on which Mac's to support and removing ADB is the easiest way to only drop support for the Beige G3 and Wallstreet PowerBooks?

After hearing about Panther and watching Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote on the 23rd, I was drooling for Panther. The new Finder will dramatically improve my workflow. I will no longer be limited by the width of my Finder window, which limits the number of folders along the tool bar at the top of each finder window. This will be a major improvement for quick access to commonly used folders. Additionally, having those same folders appear on the left side of open/save dialogues will be another major workflow improvement.

According to reports on Panther, someone on a 300MHz B&W G3 said that Panther ran well and was a bit faster than Jaguar. Other reports said that people without Quartz Extreme who use the fast user switching had their screen fade in and out instead of seeing the rotating box, which is driven by Quartz Extreme. Steve Jobs himself stated that sheets have been really sped up in Panther.

So what is Apple's logic in not supporting the Beige G3 and the Wallstreet PowerBook? Could this be just for this developer release? Or is this the beginning of support being dropped for older G3 Macs? We may have to wait until Panther hits stores to find out. Until then, let's hope for the best.