In 1997, Apple released the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, an audacious attempt to celebrate the heritage of Cupertino by pushing the design of a Mac to the then-cutting-edge. The first major product of Apple design legend Jonathan Ive, and released without Steve Jobs behind it, it was a flawed vision of Apple’s future, to be sure, but still an important one. You see the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh forecasting a lot of what Ive would accomplish with the Mac over the next 20 years: the vestiges of the iMac’s all-in-one design, the Mac Pro’s trashcan-like form factor, and even the Magic Trackpad are all visible in the Twentieth Anniversary Mac’s intriguing (yet grotesque) proto-design.
What I like about CURVED/labs’ conceptual reimagining of the original Macintosh is that it takes the same approach as the Magic Trackpad Anniversary Macintosh, but looks backward in time instead of forward. What would the original Macintosh look like if Apple made it today? CURVED/labs imagine it as essentially a unibody aluminum hybrid with the screen of an 11-inch MacBook Air, the upper body of an iPad, and the foot of an iPad. What’s so great about it is how well it all works together, not just as a re-imagining of the 1984 Mac, but in showing how remarkably consistent Apple’s design language has been over the last 22 years. This is what the original Macintosh would look like now if Apple had just kept making it slimmer and slimmer, just the way the company makes iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks now.
Sadly, this vision of the original Macintosh is just a concept, meaning it won’t go on sale. Yet Apple’s 40th anniversary is coming up in 2017. If Apple released a bold Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh back in 1997, maybe they’ll release something comparable in 2017. You can see more of CURVED’s concept here.