updated 05:30 am EDT, Mon March 28, 2011
Machine has never been opened or used
(Updated info on boxes and shipping) A rare, never-used and still-in-box Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, designed by present-day Apple design head Jonathan Ive, has turned up on Ebay for auction. The unit is one of the 11,601 machines sold to customers outside Apple. The accessories and keyboard boxes have been opened for inspection, but all components are still in their original packaging.
Originally introduced in 1997 at a cost of $7,500, the computer exemplified the concepts and philosophy that would dominate Apple's future design aesthetic under returning CEO Steve Jobs. There is considerable emphasis on the unusually-vertically-oriented, thin all-in-one design, as well as a vertically-mounted optical drive, an exceptionally high-quality sound system, a detachable trackpad rather than a mouse, high-quality and luxurious fit and finish and an active-maxtrix LCD screen, the best of its kind at the time.
The industrial design won raves even as consumers booed the price, which soon dropped to about half its original listing and then eventually to under $2,000 before ending the limited production run. While the look and sound was exceptional for the time, the internals were mostly standard, off-the-shelf parts that represented little if any real advancement over cheaper desktop Macs, and was aimed mainly at executive and wealthy customers. Quite a few units suffered from audio buzzing until a fix was finally devised, about a year after release.
The TAM, as it has come to be called, cannot be upgraded to run OS X and can only natively go as high as Mac OS 9.1, but many are still in use, most thanks to later G3 upgrade options made by third-party companies. The unit on auction's only indication of the passage of nearly 20 years time is that the original batteries have expanded (but are not leaking, according to the owner). The unit is currently located in Keller, Texas and the auction notes that shipping the unit will run $35 in the US or more overseas.
Although all components and a full set of accessories as part of the package are still in their original containers, the unit is being sold "as-is" since no testing can be done on it. As of early Monday morning, only a couple of dozen people had viewed the auction, and the bidding price (with no minimum set) was $28.13.