what ever happened to this Apple device?


Nope, not an iMac. From the same article:

Unlike a network computer, the next-generation Columbus device is expected to be marketed as an entertainment device or information appliance, instead of a PC replacement.
Hmm, rereading that quote I'm not so sure it's proof that its author wasn't talking about an iMac. Was the iMac marketed as an entertainment device, or an information appliance? internetMac.... mmm.


web developer
Yea, there are some Apple set top box prototypes on ebay now and then. I think they are from '95. It was never released, though :p


Columbus was one of the names of the - then - ultra-secret iMac (other names: C1, Tailgate).

Nice piece of retro-rumor!


I first thought of Pippin when I read that. I actually have one of the prototypes and a little of the software that was going to go with it. I've even got the keyboard (with Japanese characters) for it. It was pretty clear from the first time I played with it why it never made it to market. It was slow, and to get to playing any games, one would have to boot fully into MacOS (8.x, with a special system enabler - anyone remember those? :) ), which meant waiting two minutes or longer before the system was usable (It booted from CDROM). The Pippin was a little later than 1995. IIRC, it was more like 1997, during the 'dark times' of Amelio's reign, so this rumor could have been about it. I don't remember when the project was eventually killed.

Aside from playing DVD's, the Pippin could have been what they were talking about. It would have been able to be used with a normal modem (standard ADB/serial connections were present). What it lacked, though, was Ethernet, which would have presented a real problem with trying to do broadband (no USB either).

Whether the rumor was about the Pippin, it is still kinda fun to read about some the crazy predictions floating around in the dot-com days. FWIW, I always thought that set-top boxes for general internet access were a dumb idea anyway... ;)


Many years ago, some engineers working at Apple came up with this really kick ass idea. It was a Web browser appliance that would sit on top of your TV, just like a VCR. Apple rejected the idea. Most likely because they already had Pippin in the channel.

So the WebTV folks hooked up with Microsoft instead...

I bet it would be interesting to take a good inside look at devices that Apple thought about, prototyped, but never developed. Somewhere in Cupertino is a working Apple phone, PDA (beyond Newton), TV appliance and other ideas many of us would love to see developed, but for whatever reason never left the drawing board.

Heck, just think of the protoype computers that Apple must have developed to come out with the iMac, eMac, Cube, G3/4 Tower, the PowerBooks, all of that. It would be interesting to see what they looked like.