Eau de Mac

Apple's new G4 has a sleek look -- and a strange scent.

By Janelle Brown
September 15, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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If the prestige scent of the past was the rich, leathery perfume of a brand-new sports car, perhaps today's olfactory status symbol is the smell of scorching plastic.

The Mac G4 is the most recent computer to come off the Apple assembly line, a zippy silver-and-gray workstation that runs on a new Motorola processor, and the latest must-have machine for Mac fanatics. But the stylish computer comes with an unexpected feature: It apparently smells terrible.


A recent review of the G4 on the MacInTouch site for Apple news commended the new machine for being "pleasantly quiet," but also noticed that the computers had an unpleasant odor when turned on. The reviewer wasn't the only person to notice the G4 stink: This little bug has also been documented by the Apple Tech-info library, and filed under "Odors May Be Present Short-Term."

According to Apple, a plasticky smell will occasionally waft up when the computer is turned on and allowed to warm up to its "operating temperature." As Apple placates concerned owners, "the odor is detected when the product is new, similar to odors generated from new carpeting or a new car. In most cases the odor will dissipate over a short period of time." But the only quick solution, the site says, is to turn your computer on and leave it running for 24 hours or more, effectively burning off the smell -- and filling your room with a wallop of a stench that could last several days.

Ah, the smell of hot plastic in the morning ...

Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

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