But just how chaotic was the Macintosh offering in 1996? I was already a Mac user then, and keeping up-to-date with Apple and tech news in general. I remember product announcements and various reviews in computer magazines. It’s easy to see, in retrospect, the huge amount of Apple hardware that was available twenty years ago compared to the post-Jobs order in the early 2000s. At the time things felt a bit different, perhaps in part due to the fact that Apple kept discontinuing Mac models and introducing new ones at a sustained pace. Another thing to consider is that not all Mac models introduced at the time were available everywhere.
I remember these days and if anything, it really should make everyone appreciate that you can mostly count Apple’s Mac lineup on your fingers (and some non-Retina-Display-equipped models are probably going away, too). Other devices may have a lot of variants, but there weren’t two or three identical products, but with different names and retail channels.