This week we’ve seen the new 27-inch iMac compared to a television, and we’ve watched Windows 7 get all TV-happy with in-home streaming. But it was in over a decade ago that Apple ventured to show us how TVs and PCs would eventually conflate, and in true Apple fashion, they did it way too early with a commercial flop.
The 20th Anniversary Macintosh wasn’t ever meant to be a popular success, but it failed even in its limited scope. It was outrageously priced at $7500 when it was introduced at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in 1997, and though only 12,000 units were made, sales were still tepid. Later, the machine was discounted to around $2,000, but not before a few models were sent from Apple to its executives abroad. These days, it’s been somewhat vindicated as a proof-of-concept, but not one that was quite worthy of gravitas Apple attempted to capture in its commercial advertisements.
The TAM, as it was nicknamed, had a 12.1-inch flat LCD screen, a vertically mounted CD-ROM, and an Apple TV tuner card with a remote control. It also boasted bigger speakers than other Macs, and the base of the CPU featured a Bose subwoofer. It also came without a mouse–just a trackpad, which would foretell of Apple’s just-announced Magic Mouse, a kind of trackpad/mouse amalgam.
TV, remote, flat screen–the only thing we’ve lost since 1997 is the option for direct-to-door concierge delivery service, which offered tuxedoed attendants who would perform in-home TAM setup.