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iMac Desktops (Apple) Operating Systems Software Apple Hardware Technology

Apple's iMac Turns 20 Years Old (cnn.com) 127

Twenty years ago on May 6, 1998, Steve Jobs unveiled the iMac for the first time. Current CEO Tim Cook shared footage from the event on Twitter Sunday. It shows Jobs describing the $1,299 iMac as an impossibly futuristic device. CNNMoney reports: "The whole thing is translucent, you can see into it. It's so cool," Jobs gushes. He points to a handle that allows the computer's owner to easily lift the device, which is about the size of a modern microwave oven. He takes a jab at the competition: "The back of this thing looks better than the front of the other guy's, by the way." In January 1999, less than a year after the iMac's debut, Apple more than tripled its quarterly profit.

The San Francisco Chronicle declared Apple was "cashing in on insatiable demand for its new space-age iMac computer." For the next decade, Jobs kept the new "i" products coming. Today, the iMac is in its seventh generation and is virtually unrecognizable from its ancestor. An Apple spokesperson notes an "iMac today consumes up to 96% less energy in sleep mode than the first generation."
Some of the original iMac's tech specs include: PowerPC G3 processor clocked at 233MHz, 15-inch display with 1,024x768 resolution, two USB ports and Ethernet with a built-in software modem, 4GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM (expandable to 128MB), 24x CD-ROM drive, built-in stereo speakers with SRS sound, Apple-designed USB keyboard and mouse, and Mac OS 8.1.
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Apple's iMac Turns 20 Years Old

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  • Small bump (Score:4, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday May 07, 2018 @11:09PM (#56571318) Journal
    The colored Mac gave them a bit of a bump, but ultimately failed to stop the decline in Macintosh sales. Ultimately it was the conversion to Unix, finally getting a decent OS that caused sales to continually increase.
    • Re:Small bump (Score:4, Informative)

      by martinX ( 672498 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @01:22AM (#56571758)

      I disagree. I think it's all the products as a whole. I just took a look at Mac sales by year and there was an uptick in 2000/2001, then a drop. Things didn't pick up and stay up until 2006 which was 5 years after the iPod, a year before the iPhone and just after the release of OS 10.4.

        • Exactly, the combination or OS X 10.4 and Intel sparked the onrush, not some trendy overpriced shit in a colored case from 1998.

          You could get a machine with twice the specs as the original iMac for the same price, 17" monitor included, along with trendy MS Natural Keyboard Elite and Office.

          Just look at the Progen Polaris for the same time period: [google.com]

          These worthless systems has such incedible mnarkup, it was astoundiing. At least when Apple learned ghow to design with the second gen, it ws at least pretty.

          • Re: Small bump (Score:5, Informative)

            by mridoni ( 228377 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @04:31AM (#56572258)

            At that time I was working in a shop that only sold Apple computers, and I had been working there for a few years. The first iMac, from a technical standpoint, wasn't really something to write home about: slow, prone to over-heating, no SCSI, floppy, ADB or serial when many people still used them (so you had to throw in the garbage all your old peripherals); the USB subsystem was lacking reliable drivers, so in the first months you had to choose between a floppy drive and a printer. Yes, it was repairable, but in 1998 that was still a given (and, anyway, putting an iMac back together after disassembling required some serious swearing, the damn thing had its insides so tightly packed, it wouldn't stick together if you routed the spaeaker cable the wrong way).

            But its greatest achievement was putting Macintosh computers back on the map. The iMac wasn't a champion, but it was pretty and shiny. When Apple, afew years later, presented later the "flower power" and "dalmatians" versions, they knew perfectly well that they wouldn't sell, but they were just meant to generate enough buzz in the press. And that was the iMac did: before its time, Macintosh computers were either (very) expensive and confined to DTP/graphic/music professionals, or (not so) cheap, outdated and unreliable. The iMac changed all that and prepared the terrain for the advent of OSX and, ultimately, of the iPhone. People instantly loved it, and there was nothing you could say about screen resolutions, a substandard graphic card (ATI Rage II/II Pro? Really?) or anything else that could make them change your mind. And it sat very well on your desk, no more square beige boxes or ugly CRT monitors with lots of cables: the iMac proved that computers, other than being a useful tool, could be a fashion statement and an extension of your (purported, at least) personality.

            • SCSI, floppy, ADB or serial when many people still used them (so you had to throw in the garbage all your old peripherals);

              Or buy a Keyspan USB to ADB converter.

              The iMac changed all that and prepared the terrain for the advent of OSX and, ultimately, of the iPhone. People instantly loved it, and there was nothing you could say about screen resolutions, a substandard graphic card (ATI Rage II/II Pro? Really?) or anything else that could make them change your mind.

              Sure, lots of people don't care about computer internals. That's progress, really. Not selling people a GPU they won't use is a good plan. Charging them so much they might as well have got one anyway is an even better plan.

              • > Or buy a Keyspan USB to ADB converter.

                Still useful for those Apple Extended II's.

                Although I would much prefer an entirely new enclosure with a built-in hub. Anyone know of such a thing? I'm not a fan of the various outright replacements.

            • the iMac proved that computers, other than being a useful tool, could be a fashion statement and an extension of your (purported, at least) personality.

              Exactly. The iMac's contribution (if you can call it that) to computing wasn't technical. It was psychological. It was available in a variety of colors, and the buyer got to choose which color theirs would be. Similar to the original Ford model T being available only in black, while all cars today are available in your choice of colors. For the non-te

              • Re: Small bump (Score:4, Interesting)

                by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @11:20AM (#56573998)

                Actually the Model T was originally available in a variety of colours. Then Ford built his assembly line and black was the only colour of paint that dried fast enough for production and became the only choice.

              • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

                Exactly. The iMac's contribution (if you can call it that) to computing wasn't technical. It was psychological. It was available in a variety of colors, and the buyer got to choose which color theirs would be. Similar to the original Ford model T being available only in black, while all cars today are available in your choice of colors. For the non-technical masses, it turned the computer from "a" computer into "my" computer.

                While I'm a technical guy and think that's mostly pointless, I don't deny the influ

              • Well, the PC competition at the time was very beige and very ad-hoc. PC design is almost an oxymoron, as it was design through accretion of new features. Apple was very good at wanting to adopt newer and better standards for things, which is why they stuck with SCSI for a very long time (even today's hard drives have SCSI command sets under the hood). Having USB as a default option wasn't common on the PCs.

            • I think you have it right the iMac was important not for technical but for "mind share" reasons. I only wanted to add that they were also substantially purchased by schools- might be hard to remember now that it looks like chromebooks fill the elementary education space, but Apple used to have a strong presence there..
            • What Apple was betting on, is the fact that the average person, didn't need a powerful computer. But one that is easy to setup and work with. In many ways that was a big gamble. 1998 is the time of the eMachenes and Compaq race to the bottom PC's where they were just pushing cheaper PC's with more features "Mostly broken" That were large boxes, with big screens.

              Apple was selling a reduced feature at not a race to the bottom price, but (despite the stated problems from the parent) more or less worked well, a

          • Before the Intel switch Apple was getting a lot of traction. The big issue was the G5 Power PC chip couldn't be scaled down to a Laptop CPU, and has been lagging to match CPU speeds especially with the Intel Core chips. The switch to Intel was a boom for them. But there was a lot of popularity with the Powerbooks, Powermacs, iMacs, and iBooks. If they had done the switch back in 1998 to Intel. Apple would probably had been put out of business, because they would just be an other PC Clone.

          • by dhaen ( 892570 )
            The switch to Intel came later.
          • My school district bought a bunch of Apple shit. No one knew why. It was a huge failure. Anyway, these shitty boxes are the reason I never learned pascal in school. The pieces of shit would hard lock up and the teacher gave zero fucks because no one knew shit about them. I'd have to submit results by paper.
    • by dohzer ( 867770 )

      That iTunes BS, iPods and iPhones saved them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The iMac was the first product, and one of many moves that contributed to their comeback. Others included cancelling the clones, the Apple online store and later retail store, OS X (which wasn't really useful until about 5 years after the iMac), and of course the iPod.

    • What the iMac did was plug the hole in the sinking ship known as Apple. What it did was offered a product someone wanted, and got some new sales out of it. Apple had been barely sailing on its existing customers just upgrading.

      People were still getting PC's in droves because they more or less had too. But with the iMac they started to want a Mac. But MacOS 8 and 9 were way too out of date in many ways and offered no good reason for the upgrade.

      While OS X, which was new and powerful and had the Unixy goodn

    • The colored Mac gave them a bit of a bump, but ultimately failed to stop the decline in Macintosh sales. Ultimately it was the conversion to Unix, finally getting a decent OS that caused sales to continually increase.

      Very true. It was a pity that it took next to forever to bring OS X to market. And it wasn't too long after that that they migrated from PowerPC to Intel.

      However, it wasn't the conversion to Unix that changed their fortunes: what changed their fortunes was the successes of the iPod, iPad and finally the iPhone

  • They need to bring out a colorful 20th anniversary version, instead of the plain aluminum ones they currently make.
    • by DarkVader ( 121278 ) on Monday May 07, 2018 @11:54PM (#56571484)

      You want Blue Dalmatian or Flower Power to come back?

      (Those things were UGLY. The dealer I worked with sold every other iMac from that shipment at retail price. Those two sat around for quite a while, and finally had to be sold at a loss. And they only got one of each.)

      • They at least had style. Better than the beige PC garbage being sold at the time. Still not on par with anything from SGI though.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          You can get anything you want in the PC market. You always could get all sorts of weird shit that would put any Apple options to shame. What Apple did was to heavily market this stuff and then pretend they were the one's that invented it (or the only ones that had it).

          • You can get anything you want in the PC market. You always could get all sorts of weird shit that would put any Apple options to shame. What Apple did was to heavily market this stuff and then pretend they were the one's that invented it (or the only ones that had it).

            Today maybe. Back in 1998, you had your choice of mostly beige. I remember back then that Dell was unique in that it offered black. Certainly no bright colors.

            • My high school looked like a fucking preschool.
            • Nobody did.

              I mean, until Apple did. Then everybody did.

              Before iMac, I remember people referring to USB as Useless Serial Bus. It was an afterthought port added on to a computer, nobody took it seriously, any real communication happened over the printer port or serial port.

              And that's how it remained forever.

              Oh, wait. The thing Apple did actually ended up changing the way everything talked to computers?

              Yes, of course it did. Apple might not invent everything, but Apple changes everything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2018 @11:51PM (#56571472)

    I remember my iMac G5.

    It was a pretty nice computer (G5 jokes aside). The entire thing was modular and entirely user serviceable from the back side. You would place the unit screen down on a flat side, then undo three captive screws on the bottom that would actuate an internal locking mechanism and release the entire back panel. From there, you could grab the stand and pivot the entire back side up and off the computer.

    Once you'd done that, everything was serviceable from the backside. The RAM slots were presented to you (and the memory was even user replacable- Apple had instructions for opening up the machine in the manual), along with the HDD, Superdrive, the heatsink covering the processor, the fans, PSU, and the rest of the logic board. The entire system was extremely modular and while you weren't supposed to replace anything other than the RAM, it was trivial for anyone to service their machines themselves.

    So now what do we have?

    We have a thin aluminum turd designed to be as un-servicable as possible. You used to be able to open up the newer machines with a pair of suction cups (the display glass was held on by magnets, once you pulled that off all you had to do was remove the LCD panel to get to the guts), but now you can't even do that. You actually need a pizza cutter (Apple calls it a "rotary cutter") to slice through the adhesive foam holding in the LCD glass, and every time you open up the machine you have to replace this entire gasket to seal the machine back up again.

    Oh, yeah, and everything is soldered to the motherboard. RAM, CPU, GPU, SSD, everything. And guess what? When the SSD fails (which it will eventually), it will prevent the machine from booting (even from an external drive). You read that right- the machine is literally tied to the SSD, and if it can't enumerate the chipset, then the system will refuse to boot from anything.

    So here's to 20 years of the iMac. We've witnessed the rise and fall of what used to be a very reasonable computer. Now it's just a pile of irreparable trash, like the majority of Apple's other products. Designed to fail (and if that doesn't work, they'll just obsolete your system in the most passive aggressive way possible) and marketed at people who don't know any better, other than that it has an Apple logo on it so somehow it must be magically better. Such a goddamn shame too.

    • Oh, yeah, and everything is soldered to the motherboard. RAM, CPU, GPU, SSD, everything. And guess what? When the SSD fails (which it will eventually), it will prevent the machine from booting (even from an external drive). You read that right- the machine is literally tied to the SSD, and if it can't enumerate the chipset, then the system will refuse to boot from anything.

      Since the chip enumeration is likely NEVER ( or hardly ever) rewritten, those locations in SSD will also likely not "wear out" for many DECADES.

      Even the oft-rewritten portions of a modern SSD are unlikely to "wear out" for over 30 years; FAR longer than almost anybody would be running the same computer.

      • Are you kidding? 30 years? I've got the same machine for the last 8 years and I'm already on my 4th SSD, about every 2 years they die and have to be replaced. I'm only running the OS on it, everything else is on standard practical physical HDD's, including SWAP. Please enlighten me as to who makes an SSD that can last 30 years. I've had to do numerous replacements on other machines as well. I've got old hard drives that are going on 20 years old and they still work. I call BS, and raise you a shenanigan. Gr

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          I have several boot SSDs that are older than that.

          Tell us what brands you are using so we can avoid them.

          The most I've gotten out of spinning rust is about 7 years. If you choose poorly, you can't hope for a drive to last that long. (looking at you Seagate)

        • TheFakeTimCook doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. You said "fail", he rants about wear levelling. He doesn't realize SSD's rarely ever reach their rated endurance before the controller or power supply fails. Only enterprises generally come close to rated wear. On top of that, the drive is bad long before every sector is bad, making the 30 years number nonsensical in terms of actual life usage.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Since the chip enumeration is likely NEVER ( or hardly ever) rewritten, those locations in SSD will also likely not "wear out" for many DECADES. Even the oft-rewritten portions of a modern SSD are unlikely to "wear out" for over 30 years; FAR longer than almost anybody would be running the same computer.

        They can still outright fail though, it's happened to me. And of all the things soldered into an iMac, I'd consider it the most high risk item. But we had this argument 20 years ago about why would anyone buy an AIO over a desktop with an external screen, where you can upgrade one or the other and replace just one if the other breaks. To technical people this was absurd, but the customers didn't care as long as it looked pretty. And that's when they figured most people don't care about these things so let's

        • Since the chip enumeration is likely NEVER ( or hardly ever) rewritten, those locations in SSD will also likely not "wear out" for many DECADES. Even the oft-rewritten portions of a modern SSD are unlikely to "wear out" for over 30 years; FAR longer than almost anybody would be running the same computer.

          They can still outright fail though, it's happened to me. And of all the things soldered into an iMac, I'd consider it the most high risk item. But we had this argument 20 years ago about why would anyone buy an AIO over a desktop with an external screen, where you can upgrade one or the other and replace just one if the other breaks. To technical people this was absurd, but the customers didn't care as long as it looked pretty. And that's when they figured most people don't care about these things so let's just solder it down and glue it shut, sockets and connectors are for nerds.

          Offer people a "warranty" which is basically to clone it in a new device and recycle the broken one and most don't care that it's essentially irreparable. Until they're stuck with an out of warranty paperweight, but then they're looking at features and price right now. That they'll be stuck in the same position some years down the road, well let's just kick that can ahead of us. Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Long term planning is where to go on vacation next year. How you'll repair you iMac in five years? Not even on the horizon...

          Of course, you're one of those people who turns around and argues that people can repair their own iPhones, even though 90% of the world's population couldn't successfully effect a repair on ANY electronic assembly, let alone one with almost exclusively SMT components, including those with fine-pitch leads, or even NO real exposed leads (BGA, QFN, etc).

          So which is it? People can repair modern SMT-based electronic assemblies, or not? Because, it is no harder to access the innards of a modern iMac (heat gun,

          • I don't know about others, but if I'm dealing with more than 8 pins, I'd rather work with BGA and QFN than chips dealing with individual pins that need to be soldered. The time and frustration difference is huge. Once you've done it once or twice and have the equipment, it's like 5 minutes work for the next one.
            • I don't know about others, but if I'm dealing with more than 8 pins, I'd rather work with BGA and QFN than chips dealing with individual pins that need to be soldered. The time and frustration difference is huge. Once you've done it once or twice and have the equipment, it's like 5 minutes work for the next one.

              If you have the equipment (in our R&D lab, we used a Black & Decker toaster oven retrofitted with a precision PID temp controller to do "IR Reflow", and a Pace(?) multi-tool SMT soldering/rework station, along with a really nice video microscope), none of those packages are too much of a problem (we tended to hand solder the QFNs, though). If you have a nice solder paste dispenser like we had, we usually just manually applied paste-dots and hand placed the chips (video microscope helps a lot; but do

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The controller usually does long before the flash runs out of rewrite cycles and spare sectors. Sometimes it dies completely, sometimes the metadata like block rewrite counts and logical mapping gets corrupted. Depending on how shit the firmware is corruption can be fatal or at best let you recover some data.

        It's also kind of a bugger if your motherboard dies for some other reason and you want to recover your data.

        • The controller usually does long before the flash runs out of rewrite cycles and spare sectors. Sometimes it dies completely, sometimes the metadata like block rewrite counts and logical mapping gets corrupted. Depending on how shit the firmware is corruption can be fatal or at best let you recover some data.

          It's also kind of a bugger if your motherboard dies for some other reason and you want to recover your data.

          So, if the on-board SSD controller dies, or the SSD's block mapping gets corrupted on a REMOVABLE SSD, isn't THAT data JUST as "gone" (and the computer JUST as un-bootable!) as it would be with a SOLDERED SSD?

          So, in either case, you can only HOPE your BACKUPS (you DO have BACKUPS, don't you?) are complete, up-to-date and READABLE. And, other than the difference between ordering a replacement SSD, reinstalling it, vs. cycling your computer through a Repair Depot, the "fix" is the same: Restore your computer

          • Not to Reply to my own Post; but modern Macs with Soldered SSDs also have an internal Port on the mobo that allows an Apple Repair Center to Download the data off of the machine's SSD; so that also somewhat obviates the need for the SSD to be socketed, too.

            And the possible chipset configurations in Mac designs are few enough that I doubt that those are even specifically enumerated in a "must never be corrupted" area of Flash, anyway.

          • If you were reading your own posts, would you be yellling for all the caps you use unnecessarily? If one spoke like that in real life, you'd be more like apk than a functioning human being.
            • If you were reading your own posts, would you be yellling for all the caps you use unnecessarily? If one spoke like that in real life, you'd be more like apk than a functioning human being.

              If /. had a real rich text editor (like 99% of forum sites do!), I might be bothered to use "styled text". But when typing posts requires a goddamned ignorant HTML test (which is absolutely a PITA to type on a phone or tablet, requiring up to fifteen extra keystrokes!!!) just to create an italicized or bolded word ot two, I will FUCKING CONTINUE TO USE CAPS, like people did in BBSes, back before there WAS "styled text"!

              Or would you prefer equally ignorant "emphasis tags" such as *this* or _this_?

              Capitalized

    • by berj ( 754323 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @06:12AM (#56572522)

      Not much point replying to an AC.. but..

      Oh, yeah, and everything is soldered to the motherboard. RAM, CPU, GPU, SSD, everything.

      What the hell are you talking about?

      In the current 21.5" iMac 4K the Ram is replaceable, as are the CPU and SSD. Not easily replaceable.. but replaceable nonetheless. The GPU is indeed soldered in. Well done. 1/4.

      In the 27" 5K iMac there's a hatch on the back to access the RAM, the cpu and ssd are upgradeable (with similar difficulty to the above). Heck.. even the Wifi/Bluetooth module is replaceable.

      In the 27" iMac Pro it's the same story as the 21". All replaceable with some tricky disassembly/assembly. But definitely replaceable.

      So really it's only the GPU that's soldered on. Congrats. You did worse than just randomly choosing components to declare as soldered in.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Doesn't one of the newer iMacs have soldered memory? I was pretty sure there is at least one.
        The Mac Mini infamously has soldered RAM. Surely they wouldn't want people to buy a Mac Mini and stuff 32GB RAM in it.

        Yeah right the original 4K iMac had soldered memory (with a very powerful Broadwell CPU) but the newer one has SO-DIMM DDR4.
        So they back-tracked on this one and this is a very good thing!
        The 2017 21.5" 1080p iMac has soldered memory.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_(Intel-based)

        So, I don't congrats

        • by berj ( 754323 )

          So, I don't congrats you since you cherry-picked models to make your point.

          If by "cherry picked" you mean "the currently selling models" then sure. But since the person I responded to said "So what do we have now?" I took "now" to mean.. well.. now.. the models you can buy now.

          But sure.

          Cherry picked.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @07:31AM (#56572764)

      We have a thin aluminum turd designed to be as un-servicable as possible

      I used to care about user serviceability until I realized that almost nobody actually does it including myself. Only a tiny fraction of a fraction of computer users ever crack the case of their machine. For the few people who care there are machines available to do this. Just not from Apple. So if this is important to you, don't buy Apple. They obviously don't want your business and frankly I can't really blame them. I don't understand the point in bitching because Apple isn't pandering specifically to you and a very narrow market segment like you. To Apple it's just a added cost that people demonstrably aren't willing to pay extra for and that very very very few people actually give a shit about.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The real value of a "user serviceable" device is to avoid the assinine markup on storage and ram imposed by a lot of box builders. This is even a problem with Linux vendors. I "built" my last couple of NUCs because of this.

        Getting into one is trivial. Finishing assembly is pretty trivial.

        If I ever wanted more RAM, that would be no big thing either.

        If the drive dies, it's trivial to fix. A suitable expert at least has a chance of rescuing the machine from the trash heap.

        Systems that are difficult to maintain

        • The real value of a "user serviceable" device is to avoid the assinine markup on storage and ram imposed by a lot of box builders.

          And why is this the problem of the box builder? Tell me what benefit Apple derives from such a device? It adds measurable and significant cost to them for a feature few users care about when they are almost certain to not recoup those extra costs in additional sales. You can be sure they've done the math. It also creates a situation where they have to support users opening their devices and occasionally doing stupid things. Basically you are asking Apple to add a lot of cost to them to save you money.

      • I guess you think iFixit and repair cafes and the like are just fads, no?

        • I guess you think iFixit and repair cafes and the like are just fads, no?

          Basically yes they are. There is always a small community of technically inclined people who like tinkering with their devices and fixing things. Key word is small. The overwhelming majority of people do not give a shit and aren't going to bother. It's cheaper and easier to insure electronics rather than repair them. Especially given that most were not designed to be repaired. Or if they must repair most people will choose to hire someone to do it for them just like they do for their car or house.

          • by tsa ( 15680 )

            I wish it were different but looking at the people I know I must say you're right.

        • They aren't fads; they're niche markets. For the foreseeable future, we'll have a relatively small number of people who are interested in fiddling with their own computers and phones. As these people tend to be more interested in raw specs than ease of use, I'd think they tend to buy Windows machines and perhaps install Linux, so they wouldn't be likely to be Apple customers even if modern Macs were as easy to open as the 1990s ones.

      • It's not up to the bitcher to know or define how wide their market segment is, only to complain that it doesn't meet their needs. The hope is that if enough people bitch, it will signify a wide market segment.
  • ...for over forty years, according to the experts...

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      They had a real shot in the 90s. Either you weren't there or you are kidding yourself.

      • by Arkham ( 10779 )

        They had a real shot in the 90s. Either you weren't there or you are kidding yourself.

        Yep, and I bought $1000 of stock back then, which is now worth $120,000. I wish I weren't so poor back then, or I'd be retired.

  • PowerPC G3 processor clocked at 233MHz, 15-inch display with 1,024x768 resolution, two USB ports and Ethernet with a built-in software modem, 4GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM (expandable to 128MB), 24x CD-ROM drive,

    I recall my bargain-basement box I bought out of a catalog had far better specs, purchased 6 months after the iMac came out, for half the price. 400MHz AMD CPU, 20GB hard drive, 128MB RAM, DVD drive (and a video decoder card necessary to play back DVD videos at full speed). Ok, it didn't come with a monitor, but still.

  • Do you recall the round mouse that came with that first iMac?
    Ergonomically, it was absolutely catastrophic. I never could use it for
    any length of time. Thankfully, the iMacs were few, and the labs had
    more decent Macs around (for when we had to use those rather than
    PCs or Unix workstations).

    Also, the fixation on USB back then was... courageous, as there
    weren't yet many devices around.

    I never could stomach those integrated PCs/screens, much
    preferring separate, exchangeable, upgradeable parts (obvious
    exception

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      Yes. That was some really stupid design.
      There were several third-party adaptors that snapped onto the mouse to make it longer so that you could tell which direction it was facing. The iCatch [macobserver.com] sat on the back.
      The Contour Unitrap [lowendmac.com] encased the mouse.
      I think there was also a third one that replaced the coloured plastic side parts.

      Still, it was not as bad as Digital Equipment's puck mouse [oldmouse.com] that had two wheels on the bottom. That one was not just round but also difficult to move where you wanted.

    • All Apple mice are terrible but the puck mouse really was in a league of its own. Instant RSI the moment you touched it.

    • I do remember it. I also remembered their "you're holding it wrong" solution":

      https://www.scart.be/sites/def... [scart.be]

      Very brave.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @05:05AM (#56572336)

    ... where you didn't need to know how to connect or adjust a monitor. A big win for non-experts. Nice move. I didn't get it back then as much as I get it now. Unpack, turn on, works. ... By and large Apple deserves all the billions it can make.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > ... where you didn't need to know how to connect or adjust a monitor.

      It's plugging in a cable, not rocket surgery.

      Using a TV with anything other than the built in rabbit ears requires about the same skill level.

      Apple users take helplessness to an entirely new level.

  • First computer I ever tossed out because the screen died...
  • Mounting all the hardware next to a CRT and making it hard to get to didn't seem like that great an idea to me. Still doesn't.
  • ... that terrible, awful, worthless insult to a pointing device they called their mouse. The person who thought that a round "hockey puck" mouse design was somehow a good idea was an idiot. I can't tell you how many times in various jobs I grabbed one of those miserable mice and started moving it only to realize I grabbed it sideways, upside-down, or at some angle other than normal and it was dutifully moving in a direction other than what I had expected.

    Apple should be charged with environmental disp
  • --El Capitan (10.11) will run on a 10-year-old aluminum iMac. It has a Core 2 Duo 64-bit CPU, and you can upgrade the RAM to 6GB DDR2 if light virtualization is needed. (Confine yourself to 1 running VM at a time with a minimum of vRAM and renice -1 as necessary.) It will be a little slow compared to a modern build, but still doable.

    --Apps which still install and run:

    o All 4 major browsers: Firefox, Palemoon, Chrome, Opera

    o Thunderbird

    o Virtualbox

    o OpenZFS

    o Malwarebytes, CCleaner

    o Libreoffice

    o VLC

    o Nomach

  • The iMac led to the release of Disk First Aid 8.2 in mid-1998, which can finally repair the startup disk directly without having to boot from a DIsk First Aid floppy.

  • Will the specs were flawed, that design was amazing. Looking at it today, it still looks good. Those things look colourful, modern, and desirable (well if you ignore the CRT screen). I'd argue it aged even better than the very first Macintosh design, and will certainly look better in a few years time than the current iteration.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court

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