Quadra Before Steve Jobs simplified the company’s product range (see below) Apple gave its computers all sorts of nonsensical names, like Centris and Performa. One name that could at least be explained was the Quadra, which used Motorola’s 68040 processor – hence the ‘quad’. The Quadra line of pro desktop Macs was the last before Apple moved to superior PowerPC chips. The Quadra 630 was the first Mac to ditch internal SCSI disk drives for IDE. And that’s about as interesting as the Quadra got.
Quartz The graphics and imaging engine at the heart of Mac OS X. It replaced previous imaging technology QuickDraw. Those guys really loved the letter ‘Q’.
Queue Nobody loves queuing more than Apple fans. In the old days this meant queuing for hours in order to get into one of Steve Jobs’ keynotes at Macworld Expo. Today it means queuing for days and even weeks outside an Apple Store so they can be the first person to get their frozen hands on the latest iPhone or iPad.
Quick In 2003 Apple claimed that its Power Mac G5 was “the world’s fastest, most powerful personal computer”. Unfortunately, the UK Independent Television Commission (ITC) banned Apple’s ad after receiving just eight complaints from viewers. The ITC shared one viewer’s doubt that “the claim could be substantiated at all because computers are constantly being updated and have many different applications and benchmarks.”
QuickTime Apple demo-ed this multimedia plug-in for the Mac at its 1991 Worldwide Developers Conference, where the first video played was Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ advert, and there were various others including, I recall, an Apollo rocket launching. Such things reduced the audience into gibbering wrecks of excitement.
The first commercial product produced using QuickTime was a CD-ROM called From Alice To Ocean – a multimedia journey across Australia that the San Francisco Chronicle predicted would “change the course of publishing forever”. It didn’t.
Apple contracted software developer San Francisco Canyon to port QuickTime to Windows. Later Intel used the same company to enhance the performance of Microsoft’s Video for Windows.
Apple swiftly claimed that thousands of lines of code in the new Video for Windows were stolen from QuickTime, and all hell broke loose. Apple threatened Microsoft with a multi-billion dollar lawsuit, so Bill Gates threatened to cancel its Office for Mac software.
The lawsuit was dropped when the returning Steve Jobs did a deal with Gates that dropped all existing legal battles and made Internet Explorer the default Mac browser in return for Microsoft being nice to Apple.
QuickTake When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he claimed that even he couldn’t understand Apple’s “zillion and one” different products and demanded that the company’s product lines be simplified. Steve cut back Apple’s 15 product lines to just four: consumer/pro, desktop/laptop.
Out went a load of Apple-badged products, such as the Newton PDA and LaserWriter. Another casualty was Apple’s QuickTake – one of the first true consumer digital cameras.
The $749 QuickTake 100 could store just eight VGA-quality photos. It was fixed-focus, and had no zoom. You couldn’t preview your snaps on it, or delete them individually. And two of the models only worked with Macs. It wasn’t a success, and Apple didn’t re-enter the consumer electronics market until the iPod in 2001.
Quix Unlike the legion of Windows PCs, only Apple makes Mac desktops and laptops, iPhones, iPads and iPods. However there was a time when Apple briefly allowed other companies to make PCs that could run a Mac operating system. The Mac clone era lasted from 1995 to 1997 – another victim of the vengeful Steve.
Before the first official Mac clone there were plenty of unofficial attempts to create a non-Apple Mac, but the first really successful one was from a tiny Swiss company called Quix in 1995. Two years earlier Quix obtained a licence allowing it to sell a version of Mac OS (Daydream) for NeXT computers, so it had high hopes that Apple would embrace its plucky project.
Quix invented a way to adapt System 7 for use on IBM, Motorola, Firepower and Canon PCs using the PowerPC Reference Platform design, known as PReP.
But Apple was even quicker than Quix in making Quix quit: “We have examined the project and decided not to pursue it,” said a company spokeswoman.
Allowing IBM to produce Mac clones seemed a good idea to many. Charles Piller, a senior editor of Macworld, described an IBM Mac as “a marriage made in heaven”.
Macworld’s then editor-in-chief Adrian Mello raged: “Apple’s reluctance to embrace Quix doesn’t make sense, except as an example of Apple’s failure to commit to a serious Mac operating system licensing effort.”
Silly, old, short-sighted Apple. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.