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‘This is iMac’: Apple’s All-In-One Celebrates its 20th Birthday

Twenty years ago today, Apple’s first modern all-in-one desktop computer was released into the wild. The iMac was a drastic departure from the previous Mac offerings and initially proved to be divisive among the Apple community. 

Designed by Jonathan Ive, the original gumdrop iMac design was offered in a variety of colors in a translucent plastic enclosure. The iMac would eventually see several refreshes and redesigns, with the most recent – the 2017 iMac Pro –  featuring workstation-class performance and a 5K Retina display. 

In May, Apple Insider published a fantastic editorial that goes deep into the 20-year history of the iMac that relives the evolution of the machine and provides insights into the critics and controversies along the way. Check it out, and be sure to share your favorite iMac model or memory in our comments section.  

And join us in wishing the iMac a happy 20th birthday!


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  • After years of experience in the PC universe — each PC coming out of the box with a bad mother board, two family members finally prevailed upon me to switch to Apple. (in the past 18 years, ony one Mac has come out of the box with a bad Logic/Mother board). My first was the final (smokey-black) version of that iMac. After a year or two, I upgraded to the E-Mac, handed the iMac down to my wife (who was just dipping her toes into the computer universe) and moved on. When I upgraded to the Power Book 12, she upgraded to the E-Mac and, eventually, into an iMac 2011, followed, this year by an OWC/Apple 2015/2018 iMac(we both did that this year, thank you, OWC!). During her E-Mac time, I upgraded from the Power Book 123 to MacBook Pro 2008, then MacBook Pro 2013. In one sense, I love most the Mac that I am currently using. However, that original iMac was the key to my remaining active in the computer user category. The PC/MS Windows crew had driven me to disgust and departure when I finally crossed over to the Mac universe. So, thank you Steve and Jonny for keeping me in the digitally creative business!

  • Excuse me, but this article began with a glaring error in stating that this was the 20th anniversary of Apple releasing its first “all-in-one” into the wild.

    I beg to differ. My very first Macintosh was a Mac 512K Extended in 1985. Other than it being accompanied on my desktop by a 20 MB external hard drive, this little machine was an all-in-one, and it looked identical to the Mac 128K.

    Many of my later Macs were all-in-ones as well. Like my Plus, my SE, SE/30 and a couple of Classics I bought for my kids.

    Ive’s iMac creation was a return to Steve Jobs’ original idea of everything being included in one box. It was not only ingeniously marketed, it proved to be wildly popular and a solid stepping stone in returning Apple from it’s one-footed perch above the grave.

    Personally, I never thought I’d ever want an iMac since I was a graphics guy who needed all the horsepower a desktop could deliver. And I continued to cling hopelessly to my PowerMac G4 MDD until I finally bought a 2010 iMac. Today, my G4 seldom sees use unless I want to play an ancient game that won’t run on an Intel Mac. I’m even toying with the idea of having an iMac Pro built now.

    Your writer needs to craft his openings a bit more carefully. Otherwise, I was happy to read about the iMac’s milestone and appreciate the link.

  • The iMac is not Apple’s first all in one computer – there was the whole Macintosh LC 5xx line – LC500, LC520, LC550, LC575 etc and their Performa equivalents, and the Apple TV – a giant black Performa Macintosh by another name.

    But way before that in 1984 the original Macintosh 128 was an all in one.