Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Rising from the dead like a Newton running Mac OS 9, a new form of Mac Zombie is evolving in the wilds of Apple Geekdom: recycled old Macs being used as iPad stands.

One way for old computers to beat mortality is emulation: early Macs had Apple II emulators, PowerPC Macs running Mac OS X had Classic mode, even the venerable Lisa has an emulator.  Software emulation gives life to vintage machines long after the actual hardware ceases to function.

A new trend seems to be developing with the iPad: rather than running software within iOS, the iPad is making a home for itself inside the modified cases of old Macs!  We’ve covered these items before, but taken in aggregate a new form of Mac recycling seems to be evolving within the Cult of Apple.

iPad in a Mac Classic

Perhaps the best known mod to date has been the iPad in a Mac Classic.  Created by site hirac in Japan, the iPad’s dimensions are nearly a perfect replacement for the 9’ B&W screen, and the Classic’s curved edges and platinum color lend a soft retro look to your hybrid stand:

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

They’ve also provided these DIY instructions for performing a similar mod to your own system:

How To Make a Mac Classic iPad Stand

This same basic technique should work on any 9’ Compact Mac, though details of what needs to be trimmed vary a bit from model to model.  Flickr user mapgoblin put an iPad in an original Macintosh case, complete with old sticker residue on the front for that truly classic feel:

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Just add an iPad app with some swimming fish and make your own next generation Macquarium!

iPad in a Clamshell iBook

A second, well publicized hack has been the iPad in a Clamshell iBook.  Another Japanese website applenoir found that the whole iPad (screen and bezel) fits nicely into the space for the iBook’s LCD panel; a Mac USB keyboard via the iPad Camera Connection Kit is used for input:

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Images: applenoir

In a practical sense this is actually not a bad idea – the iPad can use both a case and a keyboard!  An iBook G4 or a black PowerBook G3 might also work, with some creativity and elbow grease.

Portable, ergonomic, and makes a good theft deterrent – who would steal an iBook G3 these days?

iPad on an iMac G4

The R2-D2’esque iMac G4, with its dome base, arm and screen lightly floating in space, was one of the most unique and ergonomic Macs ever.  Now your iLamp can live again with an iPad replacing the screen!  Over on flickr, Rusty Sha used molded acrylic for a shelf and threaded the dock cable through the swing arm:

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Geek Trend: Old Macs Thwarting Death, Getting Recycled as iPad Stands

Images: Rusty Sha via flickr

One advantage to this type of design is that if Apple changes the dimensions of the iPad and makes it larger or smaller, no modification will be required.  It’s already ready for a widescreen iPad HD!

Not a bad use for old models as they begin piling up in attics, basements and flea markets.  Have you seen any iPads in vintage Macs?  Created something yourself?  Let us know in the comments.

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About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an IT consultant specializing in Apple Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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