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Hands-on photos explore G4 Cube and the likely origin of the Mac Pro lattice design

An interesting story about the history of the new cheese grater lattice design of the upcoming Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR points to Apple coming up with the idea almost two decades ago for the PowerMac G4 Cube, but the hemispherical design didn’t make it into that desktop. However, a reminiscent design was used…

As noted by Stephen Hackett on 512 Pixels, a recent episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast covered a conversation between Tim Cook and Jony Ive that happened at WWDC after the keynote. While looking at the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Ive was overheard explaining to Cook that the all-new lattice design was originally developed for the G4 Cube, but didn’t end up being used.

From ATP:

Jony is telling Tim that the lattice pattern on the front of the new Mac Pro was originally developed for the G4 Cube. Developed for, but not released on the G4 Cube. Like they were trying to come up with it… because the G4 Cube was like a chimney heat remover thing, like there’s no fans, but there was like cold air comes in the bottom and then the hot air rises, right that was like a convection-type system. And I assume they were going to use this for either the top or the bottom of the convection. They ended up using something a lot simpler with little slots or whatever.

But I think that’s what they said, so if you’re wondering how Apple came up with this strange, some people think ugly, some people think upsetting design for the front of their Mac Pro, the answer is apparently that they came up with it for the G4 Cube…

From the outside, the G4 Cube does share some similarities with the new Mac Pro lattice design.

However, Hackett notes the new design is more complicated and was curious to compare the flat lattice design that ended up making it into the Cube vs. the new hemispherical lattice of the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR that has been percolating for almost two decades. And not just from the outside, so he opened one up to take a look from both perspectives.

Hackett described the similarities and differences:

While the design from the outside is very similar to the Mac Pro, to my eye, it is not quite the same. The new machines uses hemispherical cuts, while the design on the Cube is created by two overlapping flat components. There are no fancy hemispherical cuts here.

Here’s what the G4 Cube’s lattice looks like from the inside of the machine. You can quickly notice the more primitive, flat design in the G4 Cube.

Mac Pro lattice history G4 Cube

The PowerMac G4 tower also featured a similar design.

PowerMac G4 vent detail

Whether you’re a fan of the new Mac Pro lattice design or not, this is certainly a fascinating story about how the latest incarnation of the cheese grater aesthetic has been leveraged for Apple’s latest pro hardware.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.