A Look Back at the iMac G3
Apple is one of the most successful and innovative computer technology companies in human history. World-renowned for products such as the iPhone and MacBook, Apple has released some simply amazing electronic devices over the years. One of those products was a revolutionary desktop computer known as the iMac G3.
Birth and Concept of the iMac
Released in August of 1998, the iMac G3 came at a very crucial time for Apple. Steve Jobs had previously trimmed the Apple line-up of all underselling products, and the technology giant really needed something new and fresh to rake in profits and save the company from going under. Enter the iMac G3–a space-age rebel of a design that flaunted sexy curves and bold colors when the competition comprised mainly of boring, tan boxes. The product was billed as an all-in-one-computer because it was the first to incorporate the CPU into the monitor. Being a perfect embodiment of the “Think Different” advertising campaign, the iMac G3 did what desktop computers before it didn’t. In fact, it was the first of the “i” line that was proclaimed to provide users with the key features: Internet, individuality, instruction, information, and inspiration.
The original iMac debuted at right under $1,300 and featured a 233MHz G3 processor — the same basic design as the one found in the PowerBook and PowerMac. With a 15″ curved CRT monitor, circular mouse, 4GB hard drive, 512MB cache, 32MB of RAM, ATI Rage graphics card, double USB ports, and 24x tray-loading CD drive, the iMac provided everything that most people needed. The masses wanted it more than anything because it had personality and allowed a level of customization unseen with anything else on the market.
Revisions and Upgrades to the G3
The first iMac G3 came in a Bondi-blue color only, but five more colors were released the next year. Using a fruit theme, users could get their computers in anything from lime to blueberry. Additionally, minor upgrades were made to the processor, graphics card, and RAM. Mac OS 8.5 was standard on all newly revised models.
In October of 1999, a slot-loading drive was added to the iMac, and the line became known as the “slot-loading iMacs.” This model featured the new ATI Rage graphics card, 8GB of video RAM, and 64MB of base RAM. The slot-loading iMacs and those that followed were separated into three separate categories that varied in price and performance: good, better, and best.
The iMac G3 received yet another revision around the middle of 2000. The new addition was an improved processor, hard drive, operating system, and the ability to use the new AirPort cards from Apple. These computers came in a brand new spectrum of colors that ranged from indigo to graphite.
The next set of changes came in February of 2001. Most notably, the sage and ruby flavors were replaced with niche Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power themes. By this time, all iMac models had FireWire 400 ports. Basic model processors were at 400Mhz, while higher end variants boasted 500MHz. The operating system was now at version 9.1.
One last upgrade to the iMac G3 would be seen in late 2001. “Good” models sported either a Snow or Indigo outfit, a 500MHz processor, the ATI Rage 128 Ultra graphics card, and 16MB of VRAM. “Better” models came in Graphite and Snow with a 600MHz processor, 40GB hard drive, and CD-RW drive. Finally, “best” models included a 700MHz processor, a 60GB hard drive, and Mac OS X, again in Snow or Graphite frames.
Apple eventually discontinued the iMac G3 in favor of its successor, the iMac G4. Featuring a compact design and slim LED screen propped up by a pivoting neck, the G4 was sleeker and incorporated more cutting-edge technologies. However, the G4 never gained the popularity of its predecessor. The iMac G3 tried its best to stand out from the crowd, and it will be remembered forever for doing just that.