THE IMAC G3

1998 AND THE START OF THE IGENERATION

PC & Tech Authority - - RETRO APPLE IMAC -

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.

SPECS AP­PEAL

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.

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