In the earliest days of computers, the damned things looked awesome. They were the size of a building, they had less computing power than a modern wrist-watch, and they were nearly impossible to use. The interface was almost guaranteed to cause computational errors, and they couldn’t be relied on for anything more critical than simple database functions. Oh, and putting a man on the moon. That too. Yet despite all these shortcomings, they were still phenomenal looking creatures. Ominous, yet futuristic. Industrial, yet sleek. Big, yet big.
Then, at some point, computers shrunk, and it was decided that they should therefore become ugly. The personal computer became a beige metal box with some cheap switches on the front. “Styling” might consist of a simple trim piece along the face; that was it. They all looked pretty much the same: ugly.
Then, along came the reborn Apple. They introduced colours, fancy plastics, and, lo and behold, style. The original iMac, and the PowerMac G3 that accompanied it, took the world by storm. Suddenly people wanted a computer that looked good. Since then, most companies make at least a passing effort to design an attractive case, and some actually go above and beyond the call of duty. Sometimes these efforts are successful. Other times, they’re Gateways not. But that begs the obvious question:
Mirror mirror, on the wall: which is the fairest (looking) computer of them all?