The iMac turns ten

Ten years ago yesterday, Apple announced a new product. Here’s the apple.com homepage from back then:

A few things strike me about the image. First, what’s with the buggered text? Why the line-break?

The other is that even after ten years, the original iMac looks like ass. Granted, the CRT severely limits what one can do with the design of an all-in-one computer. Still, ass. They also offered it in all sorts of colours with cutesy names, which made me dislike it even more. I do not like cute electronics. It’s nice to have some form with the function, but for many, this computer was about form first.

Still, the iMac was at the cutting edge in many ways:

  • Everything you needed was included, and besides the keyboard and mouse, everything was in housed in a single device.
  • It was the first mainstream computer to offer USB ports.
  • I was the first mainstream computer of its time to not include a floppy drive. Because the CD drive was read-only, the only way to get files in or out was via USB or the network. This sounds fine today, but no one had USB flash drives or external USB hard drives back then.
  • It was the first Apple product to sport the ‘i’ prefix on its name.
  • The iMac saved Apple’s bacon when it sold like a mad fool.

Still, it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t all that powerful and came with less than the typical amount of RAM at the time. Still, it sold and sold and sold.

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