Here’s why the Apple CUBE Computer was a Beautiful $2,800 FAILURE


– Hey guys, Metal Jesus here. Now today we’re gonna take a look at the Apple G4 Cube computer
released back in 2000. Many people considered
this to be one of the most beautiful computers ever created and it’s even part of the
Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in New York City. And I think you’ll
agree it’s even stunning to look at today. However, its small design forced Apple to come up with some innovative solutions and unfortunately, some compromises. So today we’re gonna talk about what made this computer so special. I’m gonna show you all of its quirks, of which there are many, as well as talk about why it
was ultimately a huge failure. (upbeat rock music) Here’s the Apple Power Mac G4 Cube. Now this was originally sold for $1,800 back in the year 2000 and believe it or not that
did not include a monitor. Now we’re gonna get to that in a bit, but just imagine that if
you add a monitor to this, well, you’re gonna increase
the price quite a bit. Its most striking feature
of course is the fact that it’s a seven inch by
seven inch by seven inch cube suspended in Plexiglass. Now the idea being here
is that it would look like it was floating above your desk. Oooh. This particular one is a
Dual 450 megahertz PowerPC and the RAM has been
upgraded to 384 megabytes. Some other specs of this computer are the ATI Rage 128 Pro video card. This machine also has a
30 gigabyte hard drive, a five speed DVD-ROM drive, and this machine came with Apple OS 9.2. When you’re looking at this footage it’s obvious what they were going for as far as a design of this. Basically all four sides of
that cube are very simplistic, very clean, very modern looking. As a matter of fact, I mean, this was such a radical departure from those typical Dell computers that you would get at the time, it kinda blew people away. It’s when you start looking
at the top of the cube you start to see exactly how
they pulled all this off. The first thing you notice at the top is the motorized slot loading DVD drive and then next to that is a massive hole. Now you would expect there
to be a fan in this computer and that’s where the vents would be, but actually this is a
completely fanless computer. There’s no fan on the motherboard. There’s no fan on the video card. Instead, it’s a huge heat
sink that you can see through all the way from the top
through to the bottom. So in theory this computer
could be completely silent unlike anything else on
the market at the time. Now in truth, you actually
can still hear that old school IDE spinning hard drive, but in general this is
a very silent computer. Now one of the tricks that
Apple used to pull that off. Well, they sorta cheated a bit because at the time most tower PCs would have the power
supply inside the case. But Apple took that outside
of the case in this regard and so it’s a massive
brick that you would sit underneath your desk. Is it cheating? Eh, maybe a little. That’s actually a tactic
that modern game consoles use to get a smaller form
factor underneath your entertainment center in the living room, not unlike the Xbox 360. And then check out the power button, which isn’t actually a button at all. It’s simply printed on the case. Instead that’s actually a proximity sensor that detects whenever
your finger is over it and then that’s what
turns on the computer. Let’s go ahead and flip it over and see where you plug everything in. So, on the left there of course
you have an ethernet port. Next to that you have two firewire ports. Next to that are two USB ports and you’ll notice that one
of them is kinda messed up. So in this case I only
have one underneath there, but as you’ll see this
is not the whole story. This computer actually has five USB ports. You just can’t see them all yet. Next to that is the modem port because after all this is the year 2000 and people are still doing dial up. That is where the power plugs in and then below that you have
two options for your monitor. This particular video card
supports both VGA out. So if you have a standard PC style monitor you can use it here. Or it has something called ADC. Now that is Apple’s
proprietary display connector and when I get to the monitor I’m gonna tell you why you
would probably want to use that. And then check out these small buttons that are in the corner here
that you could easily miss. That’s your reset button
and your programmer’s button and the reason why you
have those is because the power button that’s
on the top of the unit well, if the OS locks up
or the hardware locks up, the only way to reset
this would be to basically unplug it from the wall. And so they put these little buttons here that you can stick your
finger in down below there if you get a lock up and quickly reset it. But here’s one of my favorite
features of this computer. Check it out. With one finger you push
the handle and it pops up and then with one hand you can gain access to the entire internals of the computer. It’s here we can start
seeing just how compact this thing really is. It’s quite impressive. Now with open like this and exposed you can start upgrading
the RAM if you want. This uses PC 100 RAM, but
you can go up to PC 133. By default this computer
could come with as low as 64 megabytes of RAM, but you can upgrade it to up
to 1.5 gigabytes if you want. By default these computers
did not come with Wi-Fi. Mine didn’t as you can see here, but there is a slot here
where you can go buy and optional Airport card. And on the top you can see
that proximity sensor exposed that used for power. It just feels like futuristic voodoo tech. It’s so cool. Apple never intended their users to swap out the hard drives, but over the years people
who have owned these things have actually swapped
out the older IDE drives and put in solid state drives, making this computer completely silent. I definitely intend to do that. And I have to say, isn’t
it ironic that today you can’t open Apple computers at all. They’re glued shut, they’re not designed to be upgraded, it definitely sucks. So that’s one of the things
I love about this era is that Apple was full
on giving you the access to the hardware to do
whatever you wished with it. Now let’s go ahead and take a look at the Apple studio display. This is a 17 inch monitor here. And like I mentioned, this was optional. This was not included. As a matter of fact,
this would set you back an additional $1,000. So think about that for a second. The Apple Cube without any
options would start at $1,800 and then you’d add another
$1,000 for this display. That seems crazy to me, but I guess the good news
is for your thousand bucks you would actually be getting
a really good display. So this is an active matrix LCD display. It has a resolution of 1280 by 1024 and 16 million colors and I have to say that even today, this looks shockingly good. It’s a very very nice monitor and if you’re curious I
actually bought this for $30 from RE-PC down in Tukwila just about a month ago and that’s definitely
more of my price range. A couple interesting
things about this monitor. I mentioned ADC previously, that’s the Apple Display Connector, that’s Apple’s proprietary
video connection cable. And this monitor definitely uses that and it uses it in a really interesting way because that display type
is a modification of DVI and what it does is it
combines analog and digital into one simple cable. Meaning in one cable, you actually get power to the monitor, you also get a video signal, and you also get USB data
all at the same time. Remember how I mentioned that
this computer technically has more USB ports? Well, when you use this monitor, notice on the back here you
have two additional USB ports that you can use. You can tap into these with anything. You can also use the power button built into the monitor itself
to just turn on the computer because again, it’s all integrated. It’s talking to each other. Now one thing to watch
out if you’re gonna buy one of these Apple studio displays today is that often these kickstands
in the back are broken. They’re very fragile and
often you’ll see these on Craigslist or Ebay and
they’ll be really cheap and that’s the reason why because you won’t be able
to prop it up easily. As cool as these monitors are
to use on an Apple device, you may wanna use it on a Windows PC and Apple did create at the
time an ADC to DVI converter, but in typical Apple fashion it would set you back $150. Wah-wah. Another quirk of the Apple Cube is that unlike every other
computer before and since, the Cube did not come with any
internal speaker whatsoever. Instead, Apple worked with Harmon Kardon, which is a well respected
high end speaker manufacturer to come up with these beautiful speakers that would come with the system. And the way it works is that
it has a external amplifier that gets power from one of the USB ports and it pushes out about 20 watts of power, but I have to say these sound pretty good. (thrash metal music) And built into that
amplifier is a headphone jack because, as I mentioned,
there are no audio inputs or outputs at all on the computer itself. Moving on to the Apple Pro keyboard. Now this is considered a
classic, at least in my mind, and was used not only with the Cube, but also with a lot of
the other Power Macs and I just think it’s yet
another really nice looking keyboard from Apple. One thing I love about this is that it has a full 108 keys. That is definitely something
you do not see anymore on most Apple computers and I definitely like the
cool semi-transparent keys. That just looks so cool with
the rest of this computer. Notice there are two
USB ports on either side of the keyboard. So, that’s where I come up
with six USB ports in total for this computer when
everythings connected. Or, I guess in my case, I only have five because one of them’s damaged, but that should be plenty. Here is the Apple Pro mouse and this is yet another example
of Apple’s beautiful design and unfortunately sacrificing
a little bit of functionality because this is technically buttonless and some people love it. Other people hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle because while using it, it feels great, but any time you have to
right click on something you have to do a keyboard shortcut, which just feels really dumb to me. Also notice that the cord is very short and that’s because it’s designed
to plug into the keyboard so there’s no extra cord
tangle hanging out there. And like I mentioned previously, this computer is currently Apple OS 9.2, but the good news is you can
upgrade it to a more modern OS. So I’m gonna put 10.4 Tiger on here as soon as I upgrade the RAM. So why did it fail? Well, it was basically
way too expensive for a mid-range Apple computer. I mean for about the same amount of money, you could buy a higher
end Power Mac computer and that would be way more customizable. And so, the Apple G4 Cube was only on sale for about a year before it
was pulled off the market. So that’s a quick look at
the Apple G4 Cube computer. Now what’s cool about this
is that passionate fans who love the form factor and
the idea of this computer are keeping it alive. So many of them have hacked the hardware, hacked the OS. They’ve put Linux on it. They have turned it into fishbowls. It’s crazy how much
people love this computer. And part of the reason
is is that, you know, over the years Apple has actually canceled a bunch of different projects, but they never officially canceled this. They actually just put
it on indefinite hold, which means that a lot of
fans are holding their breath that one day Apple will
actually bring this back in some fashion. And it’s not hard to see
the legacy of this computer showing up in newer Apple products. For instance, the touch button right here well that’s very similar
to say the Home button that’s on a iPhone or an iPad. Also the fanless computer, well, that kinda turned into
the Mac mini or the Apple TV. And who knows, maybe one day
Apple will bring this back. That would be pretty cool. I dunno, love to hear what you guys think down in the comments below. As always, wanna thank you
for watching my channel. Thank you for subscribing and take care. Like I did on the previous
Compact Bresario Laptop many of you will recognize
this style of video very similar to a Doug Demiro and Doug Demiro is on YouTube. He reviews cars in a very similar way and so I just wanna give
a huge shoutout to him because I love that style of video and I’m just basically taking his idea and applying it to computers. I hope it doesn’t make him mad because I’m a huge fan of his channel. Alright guys, thanks for watching. Have a great day.

81 thoughts on “Here’s why the Apple CUBE Computer was a Beautiful $2,800 FAILURE

  1. Great video! One thing to note is that it was NOT a dual 450mhz. Just a single, but there were after market CPU upgrades a available. I upgraded mine to a single core 1.8 GHz.

    Also the keyboard USB ports were super slow- 1.5mbps if I remember correctly, limiting to mouse use only.

    I had forgotten all about the cool functionality of the ADC connector. I upgraded the GPU to a GeForce 6200 so I had to use the adapter which means I had to use one of the USB ports on the bottom of the cube to connect to the monitor.

  2. Do you says that this computer is all what apple refuse to makes anymore? Something design AND evolutive?

  3. Do more videos about computers and PC gaming. Also check out my project where you can browse 90's gaming sites like this: http://theoldnet.com/get?url=http://sierra.com

  4. am i on doug demuro's auto channel? when he begins videos with, "here's why the lamborghini huracan is worth $1.3 million"

  5. I have that beautiful mistake sitting in my back room every single piece and a little rough but original box. Mine has a Sonnet upgrade processor to 1.4 inside.

  6. Video title: Here's why Apple cube is a failure
    Actual video: Reviewing the cube without any explaination of its failure

  7. I hate apple for these stupid high prices. What do they think they are ?! Just money grabbing assholes and Steve Jobs was the worst of them

  8. Once upon a time Apple was known for being horribly expensive but selling top of the line hardware and software. I still remember in the second half of the nineties, at a computer show, while back then laptops with windows were about to discover the wonders of the active matrix display with its greater angle of vision, better colours and superior usability than the passive matrix, there was this Apple laptop with a display that had a incredible for the times near 180° degrees angle of vision and such a stunning rendering quality that would still give a run for their money to a lot of displays used today.

    Apple at the times lived and thrived by the fact that they had invented nothing, but bettered everything through the roof. You bought Apple if you wanted the best and could afford it.

    Nowadays… <sigh> …nowadays Apple rests on its laurels on the FALSE conviction they invented the smartphone (they really should wake up and smell the coffee), believed only by their blinders-wearing fanboys/fangirls, and offers average hardware and software at the highest prices you may ever find.

    One today buys Apple not to have the best, those days are gone, but to be able to bombast to be able to carelessly and uselessly burn more money than their neighbours.

  9. Jesus christ, I saw a set of those speakers in a factory I used to work in! :O

    Even after nearly 20 years of being in a dirty warehouse/factory, they still sounded pretty good.

  10. Do people here remember how ugly computers used to be, its really the last 4 years that the mainstream laptops and PC´s have gotten a face lift.

  11. I feel like every YouTube video I watch someone comments a reference to Doug DeMuro

    I love y'all you have great taste in YouTube videos 😭💜

  12. There really should a case manufacturer to basically remake that case, BitFenix or Silverstone come to mind.

  13. Technically the only thing that’s available today from APPLE is he 2012 Mac mini a MacBook Pro that’s all I’ve got to say because I love that computer when it came out

  14. Thank you for this video! The cube was amazing. I dreamt with one these… Its history is like the history of Mac Pro (coffee machine)

  15. I’m no pc gamer what idiot buy apple play games I know better never do so apple is not good for pc games always expensive of apple product you can buy game system cheap pc play games what good is mouse if have no button

  16. Good old Apple tissue box. About the time this Apple computer came out, case mods and more interesting PC cases were being released compared to the old beige boxes (Chieftec Dragon). I always preferred the imac of the G4 line that came later.

  17. 1800 for the computer and 1000 for the display was expensive? Currently it is 6000 for the Mac Pro, 5000 for the display and 1000 just for the display stand.

  18. this is awsome! this is why apple was awsome back in the day. The funny thing is that the total kit cost less than a Mac book pro today lol

  19. I remember back in 2000 i had a shitty dell computer with dial up internet and getting game cds to work properly without freezing was a nightmare lol, i didnt even know this thing existed, if you had one of these back in 2000 you were balling

    Edit:
    Cool video btw! I never knew this came out, btw the newest mac pro is fully customizable and everything but it costs around 5 grand

  20. I like Doug DeMuro's work as well. I think it's great when YouTubers emulate other channels out of admiration. I just started my journey with my channel. I hit 4k views on my PS4 video and yes I'm very excited about that! I predict I'll hit 10k views next year. Which is all very exciting to me. But you have hit over 100,000 views on this video that right now I'm still just dreaming about. So in truth I look up to your work.

  21. waaait, one of the best mac games EVER is FERAZEL WAND, and you might not be able to run it if you upgrade, only works on 9.2 or lower…. @metaljesusrocks

  22. No, those speakers don´t sound good at all. They sound good for what they are, but still, nothing for enthusiast or even audiophile like me. I´m kind of curious, how come so many metal heads don´t hear crapy sound? In sense of this video, you might also advertise beats, to me they should be named Creaps, for awsome sound, which it just isn´t.

  23. I would love to see Apple do this design again as it chould work amazingly well in 2019.

    But sadly Apple plays things way to safe now a days

  24. There are only 2 Apple products I would like to own : the G4 cube and the Power G5 quad liquid-cooled , I just find these two so beautiful and also I always liked PowerPC processors

  25. I have two working G4 Cubes, multiple displays, keyboards and mice,, with no power supply "brick" and no speakers. I would love to get my hands on speakers and power supplies. If anyone has these items, I might trade displays, w/ good kickstands, or even one of the Cubes. And if anyone has info regarding a power supply hack, I'm desperate to power these babies up again.

  26. these things are surprisingly expensive on ebay. i say surprising because i remember those iconic clamshell color mac laptops being extremely cheap last time i searched. man, those laptops were cool. i remember wishing i had one in middle school, but they were like over a grand.

  27. Your tech comments are good and all but you got my sub when you put that dream theater disk in the drive 👍

  28. My Asus Vivobook running an i7 8565U + MX150 does €900.

    Running Half Life 2 with two fingers in the nose (Dutch expression).

  29. If apple would pull their head out of their bottoms and relaunch it without changing anything about the access into the componets and useability with different hardware and maybe the ability to prgram on it and would stay on reasonable price….boy would they make money

  30. I remember learning how to type back in grade school using these old Apple keyboards and mice 😁 and this was in 1998, got to use the old ancient monitors!

  31. ironically enough, apple is coming out with a "predecessor" to the G4 in the fall of 2019! though I'm sure apple won't admit that is what this is, if you go check out apples website and look at the upcoming Mac Pro, it is essentially the same thing only far better with todays upgrades. it will again have a cover that can be lifted right off with ease and will be fully upgradable! things are coming full circle and it seems that apple is going to give this project another go!

  32. "I badly wanted it, but I couldn't afford to trash away the original 'magic foam' i-mac that it was derived. Girls always have it best… I'd be going with just a HDD and whatever now…" 🗨😏🎐🎑🎀🍊🎁🎗💫

  33. Creo que nadie habla español seria bueno encontrar alguien que sepa de estas computadoras 😑😓tengo una parecida solo el ratón es diferente pero por ningún lado en inter encuentro bien informacion sobre los accesorios.😪😭

  34. Perhaps not a failure because it could have helped Apple to stand out from the competition and thus, reinforced the perception as brand of innovation. Personally, I'm not an Apple fanboy and I have never bought an Apple product but I get the idea how they sell themselves.

  35. Awesome find, how much did it set you back all told? It really is awesome. Making fun of apple's prices is such low hanging fruit by people who generally can't understand design aesthetics. As if there's a bunch of people that go to car shows to see a Camry or a Prius. Being a good price to performance value is just one way to evaluate an item.

  36. The idea of one cable to give power, display and usb functionality in those years blew my mind, there’s no comparison on what’s Apple today and back in the days. Clearly and by miles this is one of the best designs on a computer. I wish to use it as a mini itx case, I have already the pro mouse , as you said is a little tedious because of the functionality, but is still rocking

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