Why did they kill the cube?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by phreakout13, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. phreakout13 macrumors 6502

    phreakout13

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    #1
    Why did Apple discontinue the G4 Cube? They seem so cool.
     
  2. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #2
    Because no one bought them.

    It was a consumer machine at a pro price (proving Jobs' four-square product line). Biggest complaint I heard was lack of PCI slots.

    It's technically "on ice" rather than discontinued, which breeds tons of speculation about a G5 cube, but i don't think it'll happen... unless they wind up trimming the price to sub $1000 and selling it as a headless iMac.

    paul
     
  3. sandmann41 macrumors regular

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    #3
    weren't there some problems with cracking too?
     
  4. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Lets see...

    Because it was slow.
    Because it was expensive.
    Because it sucked, and lost money.
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #5
    The concept was cool, the execution, not so much.

    The powerbrick was way too big, there were too many cords going every which way (especially with the speakers), and it was too expensive. The flat panel iMac is the cube's true heir.
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #6
    Hyperbole alert...! I don't recall the exact sales figures, but it was certainly in the tens of thousands of units. I've never heard anyone complain about the lack of PCI slots. The iMac never had 'em either. And the Cube did have an AGP slot at least, which the iMac never did.

    Most Cube owners will have a different answer (at least this one does). First, the Cube was so over-engineered, it could never be sold at a competitive price. Just one look at the "core" and you know this thing had to cost a relative fortune to manufacture. In a world of cheap, commodity hardware, the Cube was only going to sell to people who put a premium on quality industrial design.

    Second, the design automatically limited its future. Taken beyond the standard 450 or 500 mhz G4, the Cube requires a fan to cool the CPU, which negates one of the Cube's selling points. The AGP slot also requires a shorter-than-normal video card, of which only three were ever manufactured.

    The Cube was great Mac, and a spectacular engineering effort, but a technological dead-end, sadly. I seriously doubt we we'll see its like again.
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    The execution was nearly perfect, considering the number of engineering challenges Apple faced in design and manufacturing. Where they really pushed the envelope, particularly with the touch switch, they had to issue a fix, but that's the only one.

    The Cube has fewer cords than most computers, except for the all-in-one designs, if you use it with an ADC display.

    The G4 iMac is the successor to the G3 iMac, not the Cube.

    The power brick is a non-issue.
     
  8. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

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    #8
    According to Apple's Press Release,

    –Chase
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #9
    Not true. The previous G4 had 5 cords (monitor, monitor power, computer power, keyboard, mouse)

    The cube has 6 to 8, depending on how you count:

    1. outlet to brick
    2. brick to PC
    3. PC to monitor
    4. PC to keyboard
    5. keyboard to mouse
    6. PC to speaker box
    7. Speaker box to speaker 1
    8. speaker box to speaker 2

    If you count the 3 separate speaker wires as 1, then I guess you could say it has 6.

    The bigger problem is that most of these cables are on the desktop, making for a presentation that is hardly elegant. You don't want to put your cube under your desk; you'd be in danger of tipping it over, and there'd be no access to the ports.
    I guess it's a matter of opinion, but the G4 iMac looks more like the cube than it does the G3 iMac, and it uses the same processor and speakers as the cube. But if you think it's more like the G3 iMac, then maybe it is ... to you.
    Depends on your situation. If, like many mac users, you have an affinity for glass-topped desks, it's an eyesore at best.
     
  10. m.r.m. macrumors regular

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    #10
    def. the most beautiful computer ever built. i think you could bring it back with a single fan. you could have all parts running on heatpipes and have a big fan right at the bottom (just above a dust filter) that causes a stream of air upwards. it wouldn´t need to run too fast, so there wouldn´t be too much noise and it would actively ensure an airstream that would be faster than just by thermodynamics.
     
  11. MontgomeryBurns macrumors member

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    #11
    Perhaps in name, but the flat panel iMac has more in common with the cube from a design perspective. And, like the G4 iMac, the Cube was, as Paul pointed out, a consumer machine at a pro price. The main difference between the two computers is that the imac has a screen while the cube does not.

    The eMac is the successor to the G3 iMac.

    If Apple does decide to release a 'headless' machine, whether it be an imac or something else, it seems likely that it will have characteristics in common with the cube. If that is the case hopefully it will be a little more expandable, perhaps in a larger container.
     
  12. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a

    FuzzyBallz

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    #12
    Somebody in our department has one attached to a 17" Mac LCD. It looks all right. I don't remember seeing anybody else in the whole institution w/ a Cube though.
     
  13. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #13
    Gee, Frohickey...

    You're awfully hard on the Cube!

    I've had one since it came out, and I've got to say it's the BEST computer I've ever had the benefit of owning. It's SMALL, quiet (fanless!), expandable, adaptive and GREAT looking.

    OK - so Apple's marketing was WAAAY off. It was expensive, and had virtually NO upgradability when it came out initially.

    But - just LOOK what you can do with it:

    * Memory expandable to 1.5GB
    * Internal Hard Drive expandable to 120GB
    * Graphics card expandable to ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (with a little doctoring!)
    * SuperDrive upgradable
    * Processor upgradable to 1.4 GHz G4 (7457 chip)
    * Screen upgradable to 23"
    * 2 x FireWire, 5 x USB

    What MORE could you ask for?!?

    ...I rest my case.

    :)
     
  14. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #14
    Sorry, but you are both incorrect. The iMac was and is an all-in-one design. The Cube was a modular machine. There are no meaningful similarities between the G4 iMac and the Cube. What's more, when the Cube was introduced it was placed in a new pro-sumer category between the G3 iMac and the PowerMac (a category which is now vanished). The G4 iMac replaced the G3 iMac in Apple's product lineup. The eMac was originally conceived as an education-only product, not a consumer product at all.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    So, you're comparing a computer with no speakers at all to one that had speakers included, just so you can count more wires. Sounds fair to me...

    The power brick was designed to sit on the floor. Not sure why anybody would put it on their desk.
     
  16. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #16
    No, you're wrong. The G4 at the time had a mono speaker, and the cube had no internal speaker. If you wanted sound with the cube, you had to use the 3-cord speakers.
    I'm not talking about putting it on the desk. I'm talking about seeing all those cords on the floor through a glass desk.

    The point is, it wasn't a very elegant computer, once everything was hooked up. Sure, the cube looked great all by itself, but by the time everything was attached, not so great.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Ooookay, I've got one of each right in front of me. They look so similar! Let's see, the Cube is rectangular; the iMac hemispherical. The Cube is transparent; the iMac is white. The Cube has a separate display; the iMac has an integrated display. The Cube has the optical drive on the top; the iMac has it on the front. The Cube's optical drive is slot-loading; the iMac is a tray loader. The Cube's got an AGP video card with ADC; the iMac has integrated video. The Cube has USB speakers; the iMac has conventional speakers. They both have a G4 processor. What was I thinking?

    BTW, I never said that the G4 iMac "looks more" like the G3 iMac. I said that the former replaced the latter in Apple's product lineup.
     
  18. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #18
    So, you're saying Apple lied when they cited sales as the major factor for this? And iMacs don't have them, but iMacs start a lot lower than Cubes did. Pro price, consumer machine. Don't even start with the AGP crap, considering virtually nothing was built for it... which you mentioned.

    The cube was definitely a hell of an engineering feat, but it's specs did not stand up against the similarly-priced PMG4s, which is exactly what Apple said in the press release.

    And if you've never heard anyone bitch about a lack of PCI slots, just go find a Cube forum. That turned a lot of people off.

    I don't think the fan had much to do with it, Apple did, after all, leave room for a fan, and they seemed perfectly primed to add one when necessary. But it never was necessary, before they bumped the speed that high, they had already lost too much money on cubes.

    paul
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #19
    This is getting kind of silly. If you insist on looking at it that way, then the iMac also has "three cord speakers."

    I understand the point you're trying to make here, I just think you're stretching the facts a bit to do it.
     
  20. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #20
    Which of these doesn't belong?
     

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  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    No, I'm just calling you on the exaggeration, "nobody bought it." The Cube didn't sell well enough. We both know that. The curious thing, and I think the reason Apple hinted that it might come back, is what happened the moment the Cube was discontinued: the last of them flew off the shelves. Anybody who thought they might want one grabbed in a hurry. I waited like a week, and was too late. Ended up buying one on eBay.

    AGP isn't "crap," it's just a fact. The Cube was a modular machine, unlike the iMac. The lack of video cards for the Cube is a function of it having been on the market for such a brief time. With the odd form factor, it would have always been a limitation. But I've said that already.
     
  22. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #22
    But the iMac integrated the monitor and lost the powerbrick. Also, the "three-cord speakers" on the iMac worked better, because you could hide the speakerbox behind the CPU, while the speakerbox in the cubes tended to get tangled up in the monitor's feet. Not to mention the fact that the iMac was cheaper, even when compared to the cube without a monitor.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    Where? :)
     
  24. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

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    #24
    Whoa, the Cube has only been "suspended" This is great new.

    G5 iMac Cube Tuesday! spread the word. ;)
     
  25. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #25
    *sigh* okay look people...

    the iMac replaced the iMac, G4 or G3 notwithstanding. The G4 iMac was simply the next version of the G3 iMac, which shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

    The eMac was a new machine, slightly modeled after the form factor of the G3 iMac, but not originally intended as a consumer machine, and not part of the four-square product plan.

    The Cube was also a new machine, modeled after nothing. Also not part of the four-square.

    The four-square simply said: There are laptops and desktops, and pro and consumer. iMac = consumer desktop. iBook = consumer laptop. PowerMac = pro desktop. PowerBook = pro laptop. the Cube didn't fit in, and it proved the four-square plan perfectly. Indeed, the four-square held good until the eMac was released for consumers. Enterprise solutions like servers don't count into this, nor do educational solutions.

    edit: IJ Reilly, i assumed you were intelligent enough to know "nobody bought it" meant low sales, not literally not-one-unit-was-sold. Come on, use some common sense in what you pick fights about. BTW, tens of thousands of units, for a computer, is piss-poor sales. and AGP does not a modular computer make.

    paul
     

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