Apple History: Evolution of the iMac

Introduced in 1998, the Apple iMac was a bold move for the Cupertino based computer maker. The system was a radical departure from previous computers made by…well, just about anyone. Apple was taking a very large gamble with the iMac.

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The original “Bondi Blue” iMac featured a 233 Mhz PowerPC 750, a maximum of 256 mb of Ram, 2 USB ports, and a built-in 56k modem. It sold for $1,299. This version of the iMac recieved a slight upgrade to 6 MB of VRAM standard, allowing for 24 bit color at 1024×768 before it was replaced by a newer model in January of 1999.

The USB ports being the only device inputs on the iMac was revolutionary at the time. The iMac’s success really helped popularize the interface among third party peripheral makers, which is evidenced by the fact that many early USB peripherals were made of translucent plastic to match the iMac design.

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This version of the iMac continued to evolve and change. It was released in a variety of colors throughout the remainder of its life cycle, and was updated with a slot-load CD-rom drive, and continual processor upgrades, maxing out at 600 Mhz. The hard drive space also continued to evolve, maxing out at 40 gigs in the final model of this production design.

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The last iMac model “colors” of this generation included “Blue Dalmatian” and “Flower Power” (pictures above), which may be the most hideous looking computers I have ever seen.

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In January of 2002, Apple introduced the next generation of the iMac. The iMac G4. This amazing machine featured an amazing 15 inch LCD flat panel display focused design, and updated specs that included 700/800 mhz G4 processor, up to 1 Gb of Ram, and up to 60 Gbs of storage space. This new design was very well received, and is considered by some to be the best computer Apple has ever designed.

The model continued to have processor and storage bumps, as well as the addition of USB 2.0 through its product life cycle. The design was replaced in 2004 for a model that looked more like “a computer from the people that designed the iPod”.

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Introduced on the last day of August 2004, the iMac G5 brought the power and muscle of the G5 processor to the iMac line, in a case that was only 2 inches thick. This design has gon through a myriad of internal changes from it’s original 1.6/1.8 GHz G5 days. The design remained in tact when Apple made the switch to Intel processors in early 2006.

It has also seen the addition of ambient light sensors as well as a built-in iSight camera added over the course of it’s design life.

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On August 7th, 2007, Apple introduced the latest verison of the iMac. The new system featured up to 1 Terabyte of storage. An ATI Radeon HD graphics card, up to 2.4GHz Core 2 Extreme processor, and up to 4 gigs of ram. Prices for the new model were $1199 for a 20 inch, and 24 inch model at $1799

Comments

  1. I just love the iMac line. With the exception of the G5 iMac, I will have been an owner of every main line of iMac: G3, G4, and now Core 2 Extreme.

    I love your Evolution posts. Nice for the nostalgics in the crowd. :-D

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