Apple's Brief Moment of Clarity
By James Grahame
This Macintosh SE is one of only a handful molded in transparent plastic. Twenty cases were produced in 1987 to verify internal component layout. Ten were ultimately built into working machines and given to members of the development team. Unlike the final production models, the clear case molds were untextured for maximum clarity.
This particular machine was originally equipped with a 20 MB hard drive, a configuration that listed for a hefty $3900 in the late 1980s. Even though these transparent machines are striking, they weren't suitable for production. To meet FCC requirements, the final cases were equipped with metalized paper inserts that obscured the internal flux capacitors and warp coil.
The unwashed masses would have to wait until the arrival of the iMac in the late 1990s to get their hands on a transparent Mac. I suspect that if Steve Jobs had still been with the company at that point he would have found a way to push it into production.
Charlie Springer owned this machine for years after buying it from an Apple employee who had a pair. He sold it in 2006, so this might be the only one to hit the market for a long while. However, you can buy a beautiful 18" x 24.75" poster of this image from photographer Kozo Takeuchi for a mere $19.95.
Charlie Springer's Clear Mac SE/20