144.13 Change of
All Things iSpawned
I was walking through my local home improvement store looking for something flammable I could use to soak the rags I keep next to the water heater (because my house needs the kind of home improvement only an insurance company can provide) when I noticed a translucent stud finder. It was a compact stud finder with one light, so it was painfully obvious that the designers had followed the minimalist concept of the iMac completely. It made me wonder two things: Why would anyone think that an istud finder would sell anymore than a standard issue stud finder and when the guy who came up with the original iMac design saw the iStud finder would he buy ten of them to show off or would he amble over to the rope section, find some stout nylon cord, tie a noose, and leave the world which had pillaged his original idea so thoroughly? Enough has been written about the proliferation of "i"ness (enough to fill a reasonably sized dictionary, I imagine) that to go over all the various iRipoffs yet again would be tedious and even less interesting than this column has usually is. I don't see the trend stopping anytime soon. My sources indicate that McDonald's will soon unveil the iMcMuffin, a cheese, egg and bakery product so laden with grease it's translucent. Still some questions remain: who was the guy (or gal) that came up with the original idea? And further, what does this visionary think of what he, she, or it has wrought?
I suppose I could call Apple and ask them to put me through to the chief iMac guru. I would do this except I don't think identifying myself as the writer of McGoofy would carry much weight and I keep the phone all the way on the other side of the room. Fortunately my lack of credibility as a Mac commentator and my laziness allows me to free myself from all objectiveness and real reporting and get on to wild and unfettered speculation.
Some of you will want to give Steve Jobs all the credit for the original iMac design. I am not trying to diminish Steve's input, I mean it's important to know what to green light and what to send to the "big pile of bad ideas." Pro wrestling offers a lesson here. In one of Mick Foley's books he recounts the proposed names for Stone Cold Steve Austin. The creative back room guys had come up with such winners as: Chilly McFreeze, Captain Coldheart, Cold Jam Toe Rag, Mr. Clean etc.(Okay,I made the last two up) Fortunately for wrestling fans and Steve Williams' checkbook he chose "Stone Cold." So Steve jobs choosing the bondi blue all in one design over the other choices should be applauded. The mind boggles at the design ideas that must have been rejected. I would bet someone suggested a zapMac, the caseless Mac. So kudos to Steve for green lighting the bouncing bondi baby but someone came up with the idea originally and doesn't this person deserve a translucent monument somewhere? I have come full circle back to the original question: what about the individual who actually came up with the design? Did that person realize how revolutionary the iMac was going to be and sock away a bunch of dough in translucent polymer futures or is he still just a working stiff wondering why he doesn't get a royalty every time an iStud finder is made?
It is my fervent hope that the original designer of the iMac has so much cash that he she or it cannot spend the daily accumulation of interest. This iMac remains the third most revolutionary computer ever and by far the most ripped off computer. The first Apple PC has to get the super revolutionary nod and the first Mac comes in second. These were fine machines with the boxy putty cases and had far reaching impact on life in general. Thanks to these early Apple offerings we have Windows and computer viruses. Yet these computers' impact was negligible on the industrial design scene. Things changed with the original iMac. Seemingly overnight we went from plain beige boxes to all different shapes and colors in computers. Then the trend spread, and now I honestly don't know if I can stand all the "i"ness that is the modern translucent world. Will we be looking back on the translucent age the way we look back at the seventies, as a source for mirth? Or will we look back at the translucent age the way we remember the AMC Pacer?