The 90s saw the rise of the internet. Before smartphones were a thing, the only way to go online is through a computer that’s hooked up via a dial-up connection. While most computers were beige boxes that are complicated to setup, Apple had introduced the iMac in 1998. Today marks its 20th anniversary and it has certainly changed the way we look at desktop machines.
The iMac was one of the first products that were introduced by Steve Jobs when he returned to Apple in 1997. Jonathan Ive was responsible for its iconic egg-shaped design and it had a translucent appearance that comes in a variety of colours. The CRT monitor is built in and you can move it around easily with its integrated handle.
Interestingly, Jonathan Ive was planning to leave Apple shortly before Steve’s return. He stayed on after he was convinced that Apple was going to make history again and he eventually became the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design. Jonathan is currently the Chief Design Officer at Apple.
The “i” in the iMac stands for Internet and the prefix became a standard across Apple’s subsequent products and services like iTunes, iPod, iWork, iBook, iPhone and iPad. Unlike regular desktops at that time, the simple all-in-one form factor was popular for its easy unboxing experience. You just take it out from the box, hook up the power cord, keyboard and mouse, then you’re good to go.
The very first gen iMac had a 15″ 1024×768 display and it runs on a 233MHz PowerPC G3 processor. There’s only 32MB of PC100 SDRAM and it came with a 4GB hard drive. In terms of connectivity, it is well equipped for the 90s as it has built-in 10/100Mbps LAN, a 56K dial-up modem, IrDA and 2x USB 1.1. Out of the box, it was running on Mac OS 8.1.
Today, the iMac is completely different and it’s so much slimmer than before. The new base model comes with a 21.5″ Full HD display and you can also have it in 27″ that does Retina 5K resolution. For professionals that demand absolute power, the ultimate iMac Pro can cost more than RM60K with all the options selected.
20 years ago today, Steve introduced the world to iMac. It set Apple on a new course and forever changed the way people look at computers. pic.twitter.com/GbKno7YBHl
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 6, 2018
You can watch the 1998 iMac event below:
Bonus: The iMac was featured in Zoolander.