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From 1996: Best First Apple Computer – 8x CD-ROM, a 28.8-kbps modem and 16 megabytes of RAM

The Ninth Annual Gadget Guru Product Awards:
The Guru picks the best of the best for ’96.

It had become a tradition that every year, just prior to the holiday shopping season, as The Gadget Guru, I would publish and unveil my picks for the best products of the year in a variety of categories. This listing was carried by a variety of media outlets and many of the product PR people would be hopeful its products would make this list.

In 1996 I selected this The Apple Performa 6360 as my pick for the best first Apple desktop computer. Yes, even back then, we had separate categories for Windows and Apple computers, but back then in the pre iMac days, Windows computers were dominating retailer’s shelf space.

This was during the era when the computer format wars were in full battle mode and while Apple models were typically priced above comparable Windows models Apple’s Performa 6360 came in competitively priced to its Windows counterparts.

Typically, the first question a first-time computer buyer would as was, “Which format do I purchase, Windows or Apple?” The typically answer was that Apple’s operating system was easier to learn to use and had a more friendly, point and click user interface. But typically, much like today, Apple products were more expensive. The other part of the equation was software and Windows titles dominated that field.

This Apple model was competitively priced compared to that year’s Windows winner, the Compaq Presario 4400 which included an 8X CD-ROM, a 33.6-kilobits-per-second modem, was powered by a 133-megahertz microprocessor and included 16 megabytes of RAM. It’s $2,000 price tag also included a 15-inch monitor.

If memory serves me correctly, not only did this Apple model “just work,” it was with this computer Apple went the extra step by simplifying setup, as during the unboxing process, the first thing the user would see was a fold-open poster that clearly and graphically showed the steps of how to connect the various components.

The ideal Apple for the first-timer is the Macintosh Performa 6360. Still the easiest operating system on the planet, this unit comes with an 8X CD-ROM and a 28.8-kbps modem. It’s powered by a 160-mHz microprocessor and includes 16 megabytes of RAM.

The Macintosh Performa 6360 retails for $1,500; the monitor is sold separately for $500. For more information, call (800) 776-2333

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