Power Mac G4 "Quicksilver": Custom Speaker Grilles

By: Mikio Moriyasu - Revised: 2014-01-23 richard


With the introduction of the "QuickSilver" series of Power Mac G4's, Apple debuted the first major revision of its award winning case design. The new Power Macs now fit Apple's 21st Century product design philosophy, they were powerful, sleek, and uncluttered. Unfortunately, they also now possessed a design shortcoming that has become a problem for anyone managing these machines in an open environment near children, or childish adults.

In simplifying its appearance, Apple eliminated the durable speaker grille that was once a standard feature on all Power Macs. As a result, users had direct access to the speaker transducer inside the G4's silvery front panel. The shining, reflective, vibrating mylar surface is a tantalizing target for prying fingers, poking pens, or puncturing pencils. For some, the opportunity to fiddle with something that is generally off-limits is too much to pass up. For others, unfamiliarity with the new design has led them to thrust a finger or a pen into the opening as they mistake the speaker for a power switch.

Within three months of installing 22 "QuickSilver" machines in one teaching lab and 40 in the main open area of the Marriott Library Multimedia Center, approximately a third of these new machines had damaged speakers. We knew that this would be a big problem when the machines were purchased and started to look for a durable, low-cost solution, that would still allow full use of the speaker itself.

Table Of Contents
    An overview of currently available after market and do-it-yourself solutions.

    An overview of what we decided to do, ordering our materials, and preparing the grilles for installation.

    Once they had been prepared, each screen was installed using these procedures.