CUPERTINO, Calif.—Apple executives took the floor in the Steve Jobs Presentation Theater on the company’s new spaceship-shaped campus to usher in a new era of technology that felt surprisingly…familiar.
We’re speaking, of course, of the similarities between Apple’s new $1,000 iPhone X and the 1998 Compaq Presario 2200.
To be sure, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team introduced a number of bleeding-edge hardware innovations to the public. The newest models of the iPhone feature a screen, a camera, and a processor powerful enough to drive a personal computer. Thousands applauded as CEO Tim Cook triumphantly held up the new devices to an enraptured crowd.
But savvy technology aficionados know that Apple is rarely the first company to market with a new technology, and the new iPhones are no different. In both the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X, it’s clear that Apple took a number of design and technology cues from the Compaq’s timeless classic all-grey, 20-pound laptop from 1998.
So let’s give credit where credit is due. Here’s a quick download on how the latest iPhone releases evoke the 1998 Compaq Presario 2200 computer.
No Home Button
It took Apple several iterations, sizes, model names, and colors of iPhone before nixing the home button on the new iPhone X. The 1997 Compaq Presario 2200, like all previous models of the Compaq Presario since 1993, were also designed without a home button. We sometimes credit Apple with bringing minimalist design to the mainstream, but the Presario 2200 clearly paved the way.
The latest generation of iPhones are advertised in photos where they are being splashed with water to signify the device’s water resistance. In legal terms, the same can be said for the Presario 2200. Both devices do not cover water damage under warranty.
It’s said that Apple chief design officer Jony Ive once dropped his Presario 2200 into the Colorado River, after which it ceased to operate. This, perhaps, inspired the same type of functionality in the iPhone X.
Money via iMessage
Apple will now allow users to send money from within the iMessage client, since switching to other payment apps is cumbersome and time-consuming. If this feature sounds familiar, let me remind you of Presario Cash, 1998’s hottest trend. If you wanted to send someone money, you would send them a Compaq Presario 2200 (which they could sell at MSRP) and write your message on the shipping label.
In 1998, the Compaq Presario 2200 received the illustrious Runner-Up award in the Best Sub-$1000 PC category from the editors of PCWorld.com—an award never bestowed to Apple. Perhaps the reason for this award was a prescient one: the Presario has exactly the same number of USB 2.0, auxiliary, coaxial, and HDMI cable ports as the iPhone X and iPhone 8 combined.
In Apple’s favor, the Presario 2200 weighs in at more than 19 pounds, so Tim and the team receive credit for getting the same amount of ports in a lighter form factor.
Apple, innovators of everything rectangular, announced that its retail stores are now “Town Squares,” a geometrically aggressive move. Users of the Compaq Presario 2200 will recall a time when “Town Squares” were an actual, device-agnostic location, which served as the central Internet access point in every municipality in the United States. Sometimes known as the “Cyber Cafe” equipped for “Surfing the Web,” and now sometimes called “McDonalds” or “the parking lot of that bar with unsecured Wi-Fi,” Presario users flocked to these locations, arms trembling from the weight of their PCs, extension cords hanging from their pockets, an eagerness to get online beaming from their faces. Apple may have introduced the newest “Town Squares,” but they should not be known as the first.
Clearly, the 1998 Compaq Presario 2200 desktop computer reigns supreme in every measurable way: battery life, a tactical keyboard, utilization of cathode ray tube technology. The Presario 2200 is also immune to hackers who may slice off the user’s face to access the device via facial recognition—unlike the iPhone X.
We give kudos to Apple for giving Compaq some much-needed competition, but we recommend sitting tight for the next iPhone before ditching your Compaq Presario 2200 computer.
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