Apple, please give us a clear Mac Mini and Mac Studio

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Another Apple event is over. But amid a slew of new products—all available in candy colors (of course)—I just wished they’d stripped it all away.

As the company revealed two of its most exciting products of the day—a new Mac Mini and a beefier, faster Mac Mini dubbed the Mac Studio—I didn’t find myself hoping their silver aluminum bodies were available in more colors. Instead, I pored over Apple’s carefully created animations, which revealed the internal hardware in these machines—complete with giant fans that harken back to an ’80s tape deck.

[Image: Apple]

And that’s when I realized, maybe these machines shouldn’t be wrapped in anonymous aluminum. Or colorful candy shells. Maybe Apple should use this moment to bring back an old idea—an idea from 2000—and make them clear. Maybe Apple should celebrate the maximalist hardware lurking inside these machines, rather than hiding it away.

[Image: Apple]

Back in 2000, Apple released a quirky computer it dubbed the G4 Cube. During a time when desktop “towers” were all the rage, it was an aluminum block wrapped in plastic that sat on your desk like a trophy. Just as interesting was the big CRT monitor. It happened to be the last CRT monitor Apple made before it transitioned to flat panel LCD that went with the Cube. Its rear case was completely transparent, much like a ’90s telephone. (A few years later, Harmon Kardon released a set of speakers and a subwoofer with Apple, which featured a clear design, too. Apparently a version is still on sale today.)

[Photo: Apple/Getty Images]

Unfortunately, the Cube was actually a terribly flawed design, prone to overheating. Apple pulled the Cube from production in 2001 and never brought it back. But the Cube’s presentation was right for the moment. It gleamed with the Y2K Era’s techno optimism. It was a computer that didn’t apologize for what it was and hide below your desk. And the accompanying monitor’s clear case pushed that idea further. Its outer shell was Apple’s beloved design, as seen in the iMac. But unlike most Apple design, it acknowledged the engines inside powering it. The monitor was Apple’s version of Dom’s Charger from The Fast and the Furious….

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