A rare photo of Steve Jobs in something other than a black turtleneck
The iMac was introduced in 1998 as Apple’s consumer-friendly, budget-friendly (well, for an Apple product) computer. Then again, it’s not like computers were all that cheap back then, either…PC or Mac. Believe it or not, folks, in the mid-90s a desktop computer could set you back about $1,500, and that was an average.
Apple’s computers are typically associated with professional production applications such as Final Cut, Logic and ProTools. Apple’s iMac series takes the other approach. Friendly, cute-ish little computers designed for the home user.
Let’s have a look at the evolution of the iMac:
iMac G3 – August 1998
This computer is notable for quite a few reasons. First, it was Steve’s return to power at Apple. Say what you will about the guy, but he is an excellent salesperson. It was also the first time they really tried to make a computer for the average person. (Remember, back in 1998, the average person probably didn’t own, or know how to use a computer). The colors were friendly, the setup was simple and the all-in-one design made it easy for anyone to use.
iMac G4 – January 2002
This was a personal favorite. It looked very cool for the time, with the little base and the screen that swiveled to adjust. Though the love for this computer seemed a bit divided. Perhaps it looked a bit too toy-ish, or maybe the weird dome design of the CPU was too silly for some, but it just seemed so futuristic when it was originally released. Looking back, it was probably very unintimidating compared to many other computers.
iMac G5 – August 2004
Why lie? This design was…well it definitely wasn’t pretty. The plastic casing didn’t do it any favors this time, and that weird “chin” made it look kind of funky. Still, it was part of the evolution of Apple’s iMac line and it helped set the tone for the design that would come next. Which ended up being a vast improvement. We’d almost say this one looked like a prototype model for the iMac that would later run on Intel’s processor.
iMac (Intel) – January 2006
This is the current model. It’s slimmed down quite a bit, and has a nice metallic finish like Pro series computers. It also has that screen bezel we like so much. As we said before, the iMac G5 looked like a prototype version of this computer.
eMac – April 2002
The ‘e’ was for education. This low-end, low-cost Mac was designed for educational institutions with cost in mind. The computer itself wasn’t a top-quality product, but it competed with the budget-priced desktop computers at the time. We included it on our list because of the obvious inspiration it drew from the original iMac.
20th Anniversary Mac
This was a sweet looking computer when it was released in 1997, celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, the thing was priced at over $7,000. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very popular computer. This all-in-one design inspired the computers that we would be seeing with the iMac line of desktops.
What’s next for the iMac?
Right now Apple engineers are probably thinking about all sorts of new designs for their products. It’s hard to imagine the changes we may see in the current models, because we aren’t seasoned in the whole design thing. The most obvious guess would be thinner. It will definitely be crazy to see an iMac that’s nearly as thin as an iPad one day, but who knows.