Ah yes, I love the smell of spam in the morning: I got back from my Seattle trip to find a large number of anti-Paul messages in my Inbox, due solely to my less-than-thrilled review of the iMac. I have to say, unfortunately, that these messages have done little to change my mind, and though most of them were quite offensive, some of the messages were actually pretty thoughtful. And, perhaps more surprisingly, I ended up having some great email conversations over the course of the day with some of these people. Overall, a bad experience turned into a pretty good one. I won't bore you with the details, but here's my summary for the whole incident:

  • I still hold to my opinion that the iMac (physically) is cheaply made. It just is. However, many writers pointed out that it is an entry-level machine. This is true, but using laptop parts in a desktop is a new low. The point here is that Apple is known for its engineering. Not anymore: The design of iMac is cool, but the implementation is just cheap.

  • A couple of inaccuracies need to be pointed out: Most Mac users who wrote me pointed out that the G3 inside the iMac is far more powerful than even a Pentium II 400. I tend to doubt this, but it doesn't matter: What I was saying is that the iMac is slow compared to other Macs, not to a PC.

  • The screen on the iMac is very small, but it does offer excellent resolution support with stunning refresh rates. It is far nicer in that respect than any entry-level PC monitor. On the other hand, you can easily replace any entry-level PC monitor.

  • MacOS 8.0 and up can multitask Finder (the MacOS shell) items such as file copies and the like, though applications are still on their own (think Windows 3.1). It's still much, much harder to do multiple things at one time on the Mac, though it's getting better (and of course, MacOS X will change all that).
OK, when all is said and done, I'm afraid my overall opinion of the iMac is the same: It's cheaply made. However, I'm still looking forward to Apple's consumer portable and the new G3 machines, which will all feature iMac-like styling. Yeah, I'm a sap, but the big surprise is that I'm not trying to dump on Apple: I really wanted iMac to push the envelope