updated 09:25 am EDT, Fri September 8, 2006
New Apple Cube Patent
Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube was an example of design conflicting with market demands. While the company was heralded for the small computer's size and shape, buyers ultimately rejected the Cube for the limited expansion and high price relative to full-sized towers: it ultimately sold no more than 150,000 units and was discontinued a year later. A recent patent filing, however, indicates that Apple continues to rethink the Cube concept more than five years after its removal from the marketplace. Filed on May 5, the "Ultra compact computer arrangement" illustrates a design that addresses flaws in the original Cube. The casing as described would have two removable panels, allowing for greater access to the inside of the case for hard drives, memory, and multiple expansion cards. It would also incorporate a CPU fan in tandem with a heatsink - a significant departure from the fanless 2000-era computer. Click through for more details and additional images from the patent.
Importantly, the patent makes no clear connection to existing models. Though Apple has been known to make purely speculative filings in the past, the recent patent's clear heritage may point to a willingness by Apple to offer a system balanced between the size of the Mac mini and flexibility of the Mac Pro.