You know a fun direction collectors can take with their Apple computer collection? The complete line of Macintosh all-in-ones.
Just what are these all-in-ones? Well, they are computers with the display built into the computer, as opposed to the computers designed to be placed under or beside the monitor. My favorite all-in-one is the original Macintosh from 1984.
I absolutely love the older upright units- they reek with personality. These little machines represented the beginning of Apple’s personal computer revolution and are dinosaur-looking compared to the supper cool, uber-thin Apple all-in-ones of today.
Of course, ultimately, a decision will need to be made if you want the complete line or simply a subset, namely the older upright, beige boxy ones, like the Mac, Color Classic and Fat Mac pictured.
Collectors and Apple history buffs know Apple continued to innovate and roll out different models of the all-in-one as they “modernized” them (see Apple’s compete line in chart below). Just take the current iMac as an example, and yes, Apple is still producing the all-in-one design.
The way I see it though is with the introduction of the Macintosh LC 520, Apple totally changed the design to bring their one piece computers into the 1990s. But prior to this model, the all-in-ones followed a similar pattern of the boxy compact design of old.
The other consideration is if you go for all one piece Apples, you will end up with at least 37 models and variations (not counting all the wonderful flavors (13) of the iMac G3…you many remember this particular machine began Apple’s turnaround after Steve returned). The number of models comes into play when you consider space to display and the amount of money you’re willing to spend.
For me, the older Macs provoke strong feelings of nostalgia and provide a collector with a clean and very definable direction. Another reason for staying with just the older ones is there are only 14, as I count them, to collect.
Let’s look at these particular machines from a high-level.
As I see it the older ones are broken down into four “families”- the 128, Lisa, SE, Classic and Color Classic. The 128: the original Macintosh, the Fat Mac, 512e and Macintosh Plus; the Lisa: Lisa, Lisa II and XL; the SE: the original SE, SE FDHD and SE/30; the Classic: the original Classic and Classic II; the Color Classic: the original Color Classic and Color Classic II.
This approach focuses on the earliest Apple compact all-in-ones, and, with the exception of the Lisa, stays within the similar design, although there are variations, but from a bird’s eye view they generally have a similar design pattern (color, footprint, screen size and style). Also, from my point of view, it would be easy to set aside the Lisa group and decide later if you want to add her or not. Why?
The Lisa models are harder to find and are very expensive, plus, while she is still an all-in-one, she isn’t so much a vertical model like the other all-in-ones.
As of now, I have a few of the early compact all-in-ones, and not so much all their variations. I have the original Macintosh, the Fat Mac (512k), the SE Superdrive and the more curvaceous Color Classic, but also have the totally different style Macintosh TV, iMac G-3, iMac G-4-Flat panel and the iMac G-5. Aside from simply wanting the first two Macintoshes, I grabbed the others in order to have one of each new design, which is even a totally different approach. I also have the first Aluminum iMac, but my kids are still using it, for now… 🙂
Sources: Wikipedia, Photo Credit: Apple-History.com