updated 07:45 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011
Framed original receipt also included
Nearly 15 years ago, Apple released the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, known ever since as the TAM. It was the first major project at Apple of a promising young designer named Jonathan Ive, but despite offering many of the design ideas and technologies that would define Macs for years to come, it didn't do well as only sold around 11,600 units. A rare "new in box" TAM has now appeared on Ebay, the machine and accessories having never been used.
Other than having the box open for damage inspection and the accessory box being opened to remove batteries, the unit is exactly as it was when purchased, having never been used -- even right down to the original purchase receipt (now framed). The machine, which features a 250MHz PowerPC processor, CD-ROM drive and floppy disc, 12.1-inch active-matrix backlit LCD display and accessories such as a keyboard with included palm rest, trackpad and Bose speaker system, is being sold as-is because it can't be tested without removing shrink wrap and other packaging.
The TAM came with a then-luxurious 32MB of RAM, and was considered a cutting-edge -- but over-priced -- design. Many elements of the design went on to profoundly influence the iMac, including the vertical-stand design, the unconventional optical drive, the detachable trackpad, the emphasis on media playback (the TAM included a TV/FM tuner, remote control and high-quality sound), a special custom keyboard and --most importantly -- the overall idea that the "computer" part of the machine should be as hidden or subtle as possible, leaving mostly the monitor that users looked at.
The model offered on Ebay has attracted a current high bid of $3,400, less than half the original asking price, but is expected to go higher due to its (likely) working condition and pristine packaging (the auction ends tomorrow). The TAM was later upgradeable to a G3, 500MHz processor and had a few expandability options via an included PCI slot, but is not capable of running OS X (OS 9.1 is the limit). It is considered one of Apple's more noble -- and notable -- commercial failures, despite its cult status today. [via CNet]