Eight that aren’t so Elite

My deepest fears realized. In Stephen Hackett’s Mac Madness tourney, the G4 Cube, the physical realization of everything Apple haters hate about the company and its products, beat out the 13″ MacBook Air, what is certainly one of the best and most popular Macs of all time. The Mac for the better part of a decade.

Mac Madness G4 Cube vs MacBook Air

It was a close vote, 51.4% to 48.6%, but it should have been a runaway in the other direction. In every category but looks, the Cube was a terrible product—exactly what Apple haters think about every Apple product. It was overpriced, underpowered, and it ran hot.

Back when the Cube was a thing, I used to go to the tiny Mac aisle of a local CompUSA and hold my hand an inch or two above it to feel how much heat was flowing up its chimney. Within a few seconds the Cube would crash because I was blocking enough of the exhaust to trip the thermal protective system. I did this several times, partly to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and partly because it was funny.

Even the Cube’s looks didn’t hold up to close scrutiny, as the clear plastic enclosure developed cracks. Some combination of residual stresses from the molding process and thermal loading, I assume.

So now I have no Macs left in the Elite Eight. I suppose I’ll vote for the original (128k) Mac, as the closest thing to my original Mac, the 512k Fat Mac. And I’ll vote for the pre-butterfly Retina MacBook Pro, even though I hate it for beating out the SE/30, because it’s going against the 2019 Mac Pro, and an arriviste like that doesn’t even belong in a list of best-loved Macs.

It’s possible that sheltering in place is making me lose perspective.