A Second Look at the G5

by Hadley Stern Jul 29, 2003

imageIll admit I was a little quick to judge the new G5 by pictures alone. After visiting Macworld NY 2003 and seeing the beast (and it is a beast) in the flesh, my opinion has changed. Somewhat.

The good? I think I get it. The new G5 is all about power and displaying (and controlling the heat created by) that power. Whereas the old G4/G3 tower design was like a well-designed thermos, containing and hiding the contents within, the new G5 is like the inside of a turbine power plant. What I like best about the new design is the box itself. It has a great presence and a certain transparency (that you can only really enjoy in person) which constantly reminds you of the beast within. Whereas the old tower design was beautiful on the outside, this design is beautiful because of what you can see on the inside.

The bad? I think the handles are a huge design mistake. They look added on, both visually and in how they are produced. I would have preferred a subtle handle integrated into the design of the box (like the original Macintosh case). I am also not crazy about the grill look. I understand why Apple had to do it, as Ive said previously this case is like one big fan (actually nine), its just that I dont particularly like the look. And the inevitable dust-bunnies are still a concern.

From a design standpoint, what is interesting is that this new design is all about exposing the innards of the machine. Aqua is all about hiding the innards of the machine, giving a beautifully rendered interface to the Unix beast that lies within. In this sense the new G5 is a dramatic departure for Apple. The company has always put form first. The first Macintosh was all about having an integrated box. The cube was all about putting a machine in as small a form factor as possible. The G5 is all about the heat of the processors and solving the cooling issues.

Apple has done what I judge to be an OK job given the engineering challenges. The machine has an undeniable presence and unique design that is the mark of an Apple product.


  • I actually like the look.  It gives it a much more powerful, and a much more professional touch.  The G4 now looks kinda…wimpy.

    va1entino had this to say on Aug 12, 2003 Posts: 12
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