The iMac is not merely a popular computer that single-handedly helped pull Apple Computer Inc. back from the brink. It's the new fashion trend in technology.
Inspired by the desktop machine's recent climb to No. 1 in retail sales, computer designers are rolling out a new breed of products wrapped in similar translucent casing through which inner circuitry is faintly visible.They range from computer mice to joysticks that seem like tools from an alien space ship. And veteran industry watchers expect Apple to sell other computers, including a laptop due out next spring that take cues from the iMac's design.
Even chip-maker Intel Corp., which Apple publicly roasted in advertisements last year, is prodding other big computer-makers like Compaq to reshape the clunky, beige machines on most desks.
It's not that there haven't been other attempts to change the traditional computer look. Sony several years ago introduced a sleek, black desktop that never really took off. But the jellybeanlike iMac, which comes equipped with a built-in monitor, seems to be transforming computer fashion the way Swatch started a new craze in watches.
Taiwan-owned Mace Group Inc. is showing off four products from its Macally unit -- iMouse, iStick game joystick, iBall trackball, and the iHub for connecting peripherals -- all encased in bluish, clear plastic like the iMac.