Re: The full-blown Apple formula
People — the people for whom the iMac was designed, consumers — flocked to the iMac when it was introduced.
I never said that they didn't.
the machine ditched bad interfaces in favo[u]r of better ones. SCSI had never been anything but problematic on the Mac...
If that's the case then it was the fault of Apple, not of the standard. The way SCSI worked was pretty easily understood and seemed to work in other systems, most of the time. Terminator voodoo notwithstanding.
and ADB (the loss of which caused far more complaints in the Mac user base) was already well past simply "showing its age."
Does it really matter for a bus that essentially only had to deal with keyboard and mouse? By the time of the iMac, it would have cost Apple a very few cents to add an ADB connector to each machine and it would have made migrating existing users much less painful.
But it didn't fit with the "design-led" approach. And it wouldn't have enabled Apple to squeeze every last penny out of a buying public who were lustful for something that not only worked, but actually looked pretty.
I think my point is that while there were a lot of really good ideas in the iMac, it was its marketing that really won and Apple knew that with the correct marketing they could play as fast and loose as they liked with their existing customers. They didn't have to ditch every previous standard, particularly when:
third parties were selling USB to serial adapters within year
Given the sheer number of peripherals which relied on a serial connection, there should have been serial interfaces on day one. There should have been alternative keyboards and mice on day one, there should have been a portable information transfer medium on day one, but that didn't matter because by not providing those things, people were forced to accept Apple's own solutions. These days we forget what a sheer amount of hassle it was because whenever Apple changes the connector on an iPhone it doesn't take a year for third party devices to appear, they are out within a few weeks.
Still causes me hassle though, because every time Apple (or these days, Microsoft) changes the ports on a laptop I have to explain to the hip-and-trendy yet again, that our very nice projectors have standard HDMI and VGA interfaces and won't talk to their Air or Surface without an appropriate adapter. No I don't have one because up until now, no-one has needed one.
I've told the story here previously of a trade show we held where one exhibitor insisted on wired internet rather than our WiFi, and then complained when I presented her with an RJ45 as it was "the wrong type of plug". Her Macbook didn't have a standard network socket. I assume she left the adapter she normally used on the desk at work. Maybe she didn't realise it was an adapter.
Yes, of course, everyone with any kind of sense recognised even before the iMac came out that USB would eventually supplant pretty much all other low- and medium-speed interfaces and the fact that USB actually worked in the iMac when Windows struggled even to run a USB desk fan certainly helped. But in the early 2000s USB wasn't anywhere near being a replacement for external SCSI though of course, there was Firewire for that. Shame that even though it had been available for several years, very few devices had swapped from SCSI to Firewire. Perhaps if the PC market had taken it up a bit more enthusiastically :-)