It's no exaggeration to say that the original Apple iMac G3 forever changed Apple, the industry, and virtually everyone who used one. The G3 was distinctive and had a fantastic sense of style (especially when compared to many of its peers), but those of us who used it towards the end of the 90s will remember it as the first PC that really felt personal.
Without a doubt the iMac G3 was one of the biggest gambles in Steve Jobs' career. But the original Bondi Blue iMac truly symbolised Apple's "Think Different" campaign, and it has shaped their attitude towards product development ever since.
Lifting the Hood
The iMac G3 was an all-in-one machine that was designed to combine "the excitement of the Internet with the simplicity of the Macintosh," and the first iMac certainly had the specs to make this vision a reality.
The G3 came with a 233MHz processor, 512MB L2 cache, 32MB RAM, ATI Rage IIc graphics, 4GB hard drive, a tray-loading CD-ROM drive, 2USB ports, stereo speakers, and a 15-inch CRT display. What's more, all of this came packed within a semi-translucent blue shell -which although somewhat superficial- meant customers were instantly wowed by the first iMac, especially when they compared it to their boring, beige alternatives.
The first Macintosh was an all-in-one, so having a whole machine in a single unit wasn't anything new to Apple. But thanks to Jonathon Ive, the first iMac the G3's aesthetic was a game-changer. Now of course, all of our PCs and laptops (whether you're running Windows or Mac) look far more stylish, but it was the iMac that gave us our first lesson in design.
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A Change for the Better
"It's simple really. The iMac saved Apple. Without the iMac, you don't have the iPhone, iPod, iPad or anything else. If the iMac flops, Apple is over. If the iMac is status quo, Apple doesn't survive. Because the iMac was a resounding success we have the Apple we know and (sometimes) love"
Seth Weintraub, 9 to 5 Mac
It was no secret that the Cupertino-based company were on the verge of going under until Jobs rejoined the board in 1996. Since then Apple has become the largest publically-traded corporation in the world with an estimated value of $626 billion. This was in no small part thanks to the original G3, which helped to spawn the incredibly lucrative iMac line of computers, which puts it among TechTalk's favourite pieces of Retro Tech.
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