'Headless' MacBook Air runs alongside retro Macs [Setups] | Cult of Mac

‘Headless’ MacBook Air runs alongside retro Macs [Setups]


Bask in the warm glow of antique Macs actually being used.
Bask in the warm glow of antique Macs actually being used.
Photo: thatboyrrr@Reddit.com

At Cult of Mac we love vintage Apple gear, of course. But to avoid confusion with what Apple means when it says “vintage,” perhaps we should say “retro” or even “antique.” You know, the old stuff people like to collect and put in computer museums.

Today’s featured setup sports both old and new. An M1 MacBook Air is the main computer, but it’s used as a desktop machine, sans built-in monitor. And right next to it are a working Macintosh SE/30 and an iMac G3.

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‘Headless’ M1 MacBook Air shares desktop with Macintosh SE and iMac G3

Redditor thatboyrrr (“RRR”) showcased the old-and-new Macs setup in a post entitled, “My repurposed retro Mac setup.”

“BRO! You ripped the monitor off and made a …. WTF this is awesome,” gasped one of many enthusiastic commenters.

“Yes I got an M1 MacBook Air with a broken screen and removed the screen to use it as a desktop,” RRR replied. “It was easy, you just have to take your time.”

So the bottom half of a MacBook Air sits there on the desk, and it works — other than not having its screen.

Loving old Macs’ aesthetic … and uses

People already loved Macs when the SE/30 came out, but it brought the brawn they needed.
People already loved Macs when the SE/30 came out, but it brought the brawn they needed.
Photo: Danamania/Wikipedia CC

“I absolutely love this,” said another commenter. “Like an unreasonable amount and I can’t figure why.”

“Thank you I love it as well I’ve always liked the aesthetic of the old computers but I wanted power and something I would actually be able to use,” RRR replied.

And he does use them, after a fashion.

“The Macintosh [SE/30] has an Echo Show 8 in it, so I use it to run all my smart devices and plugs,” he said. “And the iMac G3 is being run by an M1 MacBook, as well. I made it specifically for a retro-gaming machine, which is why you see the GameCube controller.”

Two important old Macs: SE/30 and iMac G3

The unique-looking iMac G3 blew people away when it came out.
The unique-looking iMac G3 blew people away when it came out.
Photo: Apple

In the photo on the right you can see a Macintosh SE/30 next to an iMac G3, both aglow. What RRR described as an original keyboard for the old iMac sits in front of it, in addition to an old Apple Pro Mouse.

Apple’s meaning for ‘vintage’

Just to be clear, Apple says “products are considered vintage when Apple stopped distributing them for sale more than 5 and less than 7 years ago.” Most people tend to think the word means much older gear, which could, alternatively, be called “retro” or maybe “antique.”

Mac SE/30 came out in January 1989. Many consider it to be the greatest of the compact beige Macs. It brought amazing power to desktops for the standards of the time, sporting a 16MHz Motorola processor, up to 4MB of RAM and up to an 80MB hard drive. Today those specs would be laughably untenable.

From another planet … with better designers

Steve Jobs unveiled the colorful iMac G3 line in May 1998 in a big to save Apple from its woes. Its translucent case and bright colors really stood out.

“It looks like it’s from another planet,” Jobs said at the time. “A good planet. A planet with better designers.” And it proved to be a major hit, of course.

You can also make out a Logitech speaker system on the desk. We’ll update the post if RRR answers about what some of the modern gear is, like those external displays and the squat little webcam.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches, challenges and plans for new additions.

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10/03/2023 12:52 am GMT


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