THE IMAC G3
1998 AND THE START OF THE IGENERATION
Remember the days when not everything everyone bought was an Apple product? It really wasn’t that long ago.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when Apple struggled to sell to anyone other than the design industry or showy marketing companies. Its presence in industry and enterprise was limited, and to many consumers Apple was perhaps better known as a means of keeping a doctor away.
In 1998, the rm introduced a new kind of Mac: the iMac. A non-beige box that the company could see ending up in the home, as part of the family, or indeed in a classroom as part of education. What’s more, it came in all the colours of the rainbow.
You know you wanted one, or you knew someone that did. The machine came at a time when PCs were functional but boring. Boring in terms of design, that is. No-one, until then, had really thought that you could encase them in colourful swathes of plastic and turn them into something that wouldn’t look out of place in a cartoon.
“These new product lines give people what they want most, a lightning-fast laptop and a striking new consumer Macintosh,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s then interim chief executive, at the time of the launch.
“Apple leads when it expresses its vision through its products, exciting you and making you proud to own a Mac. Our design savvy and manufacturing ef ciency will put a new generation of Macintoshes on the desktop and on the road. The same focus and passion that brings these products to market has also made us a healthier company.”
After its launch almost 20 years ago, the iMac G3 lasted for ve years, its colourful glow only dimming in 2003. By its midway point, Apple was throwing more colour options at it, and calling it the “world’s best computer for connecting to the internet”.
JOBS FOR THE BOYS
“iMac is now more stunning and accessible than ever,” said Steve Jobs in 2000, and by then the full-time chief executive. “iMac is simply the world’s best computer for connecting to the internet and making desktop movies in the home or classroom.”
The iMac G3 was launched the year after Steve Jobs had returned to Apple, following a successful time at Pixar, and kickstarted the revolution that has created the Apple of today. It dropped the oppy drive, and used USB as its default connector. It was a nice machine for internet browsing. It was not liked by hardcore computer people, at least not openly, but was loved by the consumer market. Suddenly Apple became a force again. The iMacs had the muscle to back it up, too. The speci cations are interesting, but we should take some time to consider the full colour range that the G3 provided. It runs as Bondi Blue, Blueberry, Grape, Tangerine, Lime, Strawberry, Graphite, Ruby, Sage, Indigo, Snow, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power. You can tell that Apple is based in San Francisco.
The design is credited to none other than Jony Ive, who has come to be known as the man that puts the core into the modern Apple look and feel, and produced the designs for the iPod and iPhone.
Ive created a computer based around a 14in CRT that had a carrying handle. A carrying handle: what an innovation. This meant that you could, if you wanted to, carry it around. Presumably to your teenage mates’ houses, assuming they lived very nearby, as it weighed a rather hefty 17kg. It even had dual headphone jacks for those cosy times.
Statistics-wise, the rst model G3 had a 233MHz processor, ATI Rage IIc graphics, a 4GB hard disk, 32MB of SDRAM, an infrared port, builtin stereo speakers, and no oppy disk drive. Apple also redesigned the mouse, creating the hockey puck model that came with the G3.
The iMac G3 was credited with putting Apple back in the black. The latest iMacs and MacBooks the original machine spawned are now some of the most covetable products out there.