Apple Archive

Happy 3rd Birthday, iMac!

- 2001.08.17

The iMac is three years old.

The iMac was the exact machine needed to get more people interested in the Mac, and to get many first-time and less experienced computer users online. Even the advertisements made the thought of having a computer simple. Remember the "Step One: Plug in. Step 02. Get connected. Step 03. There is no step 3." advertisement? And then the "P. C." advertisement. "The PC. Perpetually Complicated, Profusely Corded, Physically Conspicuous? Particularly Costly. Oh, and then there's the new iMac, which is about as un-PC as you can get".

We bought our first iMac back when the Rev. Bs were starting to come down in price. We got ours for $899 with a free 32 MB of additional RAM - 64 MB total. We purchased with it an Epson Colour Stylus 740 printer, which was one of the first USB printers compatible with the iMac.

When we bought the iMac, my mom had very little interest in the computer, never mind the Internet. She had been using my old Performa 5215CD, to which we had added an external 56K US Robotics modem as well as upgraded the RAM to 40 MB. It was still running System 7.5.1, which had shipped with it. My mom never really bothered with the Performa, aside from occasionally going on AOL to send an email.

The Performa had replaced a Plus, which she had almost never used either.

However, the iMac was something special. With the preloaded software, Mac OS 8.5, AppleWorks, and AOL 4.0, she started learning about the Internet and how to set up a document in AppleWorks. I set up At Ease so that she could have easy application launching and installed a few games so she could have something to do for fun. Soon she was on it every night.

That iMac has since died, but we replaced it with a new iMac CD-RW 500 MHz model. We bought a 256 MB DIMM for it and now have 320MB of RAM. My mom is now running OS X and learning how to use the dock, new Finder, and new Mac OS X applications. I frequently burn CDs with songs of my choosing. Thanks to iTunes, my mom has discovered the format of downloadable music files known as MP3 and the Internet radio, where you can choose from not just a few, but many radio stations - ad-free.

The iMac was a big step in the right direction, and what followed from Apple were some truly different and wonderful machines, such as the blue and white G3 and the iBook. Before the iMac came out, I was slightly unsure about whether or not Apple was ever again going to make something different. I actually considered buying a new PC for myself (a Hewlett Packard). It was the iMac that made me start believing that Apple could still turn out something unique.

Here's to the iMac: the machine that brought Apple computers back into homes, schools, and offices; the machine that made USB a standard for connecting keyboards, mice, printers, and digital cameras to your computer; the first desktop Macintosh without a floppy drive.

Happy 3rd birthday, iMac!

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