Apple has officially confirmed that it is to suspend production of the award-winning Power Mac G4 Cube. It is widely believed that Apple will introduce a radically redesigned iMac - possibly with LCD screen – to replace both the G4 Cube and the present CRT-based iMac at New York's Macworld Expo in two weeks time.
Apple concedes there is a "small chance" that it will re-introduce an upgraded Cube in the future, "but there are no plans to do so at this time".
The company's vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller said: "Cube owners love their Cubes, but most customers decided to buy our powerful Power Mac G4 minitowers instead."
Stunned stunner On introduction at Macworld Expo, New York last year, Apple praised the Cube's high performance and size.
"Less than one fourth the size of most PCs," the Cube was an entirely new class of computer delivering much computing power in an eight-inch cube suspended in a stunning crystal-clear enclosure.
Initial reaction from the Mac press was mixed. Many, impressed by the design aesthetic apparent in the Cube, questioned which market the machine was targeted at. Others felt that it was an attempt to get a Macintosh into every living room.
Questions also arose regarding the product's upgrade potential. The product's enclosure also came under attack, with worldwide reports of scorch marks and cracks.
Award dwarf The product's miniature design came in for high praise. Awards came from leading industry groups, including Business Week, the D&AD and Industrie Forum Design. The computer was quickly accepted as a design standard - Nissan chose to integrate two Cubes into its concept car, the Nissan Chappo.
Apple called the Cube “the perfect marriage of art and engineering”. Apple’s technical wizards squeezed the innards of a minitower Power Mac G4 into one-quarter of the space – an eight-inch cube. It was renowned as almost silent, with clever cooling ducts ending the need for a noisy fan.
Poor sales Despite design-industry acclaim, sales were poor. Apple tried a number of initiatives to stimulate sales. These included hefty price cuts, and the introduction of a model with built-in CD-RW drive.
The initiative failed to achieve results. Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed the product in January. "The Cube has found its market," he said. Jobs went on to admit the Cube had not sold as well as Apple had anticipated.
"The disappointment for us was that the market was not as big as we thought." Final sales figures indicate that only 250,000 units were sold during the products' life.