When Jobs introduced the iMac, he enthused to his Flint Center audience, "The back of this thing looks better than the front of the other guys'." Indeed, Apple's focus on industrial design was one of the revolutions ushered in by the iMac.
Remember, if you're old enough, the beige boxes of yesteryear. For all intents and purposes, they're gone — even the stodgy fogies at box-churners such as Dell have had to put ID designers on their staffs.
Design was on Jobs' mind when he rolled out the iMac — he must have used the word "cool" at least a dozen times. "It looks like it's from another planet," he cooed. "And a good planet — a planet with better designers."
Like the original Macintosh 128k — and lesser lights such as the Color Classic and LC 575, the iMac was an all-in one. Like that original Mac, it included a handle, fastened snugly to its plastic case with four healthy-sized screws. At 40 pounds (18.1kg), however, the iMac was far less luggable than the 1984 original, which weighed in at a mere 16.5 pounds (7.5kg).
The front of the iMac was home to a pair of SRS-enhanced stereo speakers. The grille for the speaker on the right side — the iMac's right, that is, not yours — included a deep-red window for the iMac's infrared connectivity. The port used the IrDA protocol, which could handle data at up to 4Mbps and supported both AppleTalk and TCP/IP.
Use of the infrared port never quite caught on, however, even though Jobs at his rollout touted its ability to stream digital photos wirelessly from an IrDA-equipped camera — digital-camera images were smaller in those days...
The infrared capability disappeared from the iMac when the Bondi Blue's follow-ons — Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine, and Grape — debuted in January 1999. The Bondi's tray-loading CD-ROM drive survived that next generation, but was replaced by a slot-loading CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive in October 1999's product-line refresh.
And in one of its most controversial design decisions — said to have been championed by Rubinstein — the original iMac (and its follow-ons) had no floppy drive. That decision worked out quite well, however, despite claims by many at the time that the lack of a floppy was going to be the iMac's fatal flaw.
The right-side speaker grille's dual headphone jacks were a nod to the iMac's education-market hopes: a teacher and a student — or two students — could simultaneously listen to what was then called "multimedia content". Also, the dual jacks may also have been part of the iMac's family-friendly focus, which Jobs said was defined by the "i" in its name, which stood for "internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire."
Next page: Ports and plugs
You so nearly got through without your inner fanboi escaping but fluffed it at the end:
"I'm surrounded by the guts of the personal computer that saved Apple, arguably jump-started the internet age, helped kill off the floppy, and brought translucency to everything from George Foreman grills to Rowenta Surfline steam irons."
Jump-started the internet age? My arse. I'd love to see any accurate statistics you may have for the number of people who first experienced the internet or first had the internet at home on an iMac. I'd be prepared to make a healthy wager that the true figure is vanishingly small.
Helped kill off the floppy I can't really sit still for either. Yes it helped but so did about a billion other factors. Claiming the iMac was significant is like trying to take credit for keeping the worlds trees alive because *I* produce CO2. The iMac is way down the list behind CD-R, CD-RW, freefalling drive prices, USB memory sticks, software bloat etc.
You probably deliberately left out the 'i'. We're into our second decade of marketing wonks insisting that anything can be cool if you put an 'i' in front of it. Shoot them, shoot them all.
Translucent everything - oh yes, that's thanks to the iMac for sure which is a marmite thing in itself but you should have highlighted the bigger truth I'd credit the iMac with. It started a revolution in design. We see attempts at aesthetically pleasing design in the most mundane of items these days from cheap radios to phones to, well, you name it. Nothing in a poorly designed or plain beige box stands a prayer. Much as I dislike Apple the iMac deserves a beer for that so here's one.
@Christian Berger re: 56k
It's all comparative.
If you had moved up from 1200/75b/s, through V.22bis, V.32 and V.32bis, then V.90 was fast.
If you were using it for commercial use, then it was almost certainly the upload speed that was your issue, as it was asymmetric and the upload channel was a fraction of the download speed. IIRC, if you did V.90 modem to V.90 modem directly, you could only get 33.6kb/s anyway. You needed something like a DS0 setup, which could directly inject digital signals into the phone system, to give you the 56k download speed to end-users.
Most home users mostly downloaded data, so this was not a big issue.
Don't compare your 20Mb/s ADSL line, or even channel-bonded ISDN with what home users had available at the time, because ISDN was far too expensive for home users to consider, even the 'reduced-cost' Home Highway that BT tried to sell.
I wan my whole household (several computers with thin-wire Ethernet, and then wireless as it became available - we're a techie household) on a dial-on-demand 56K modem for several years, until BT got round to upgrading our exchange to ADSL.
The best-selling computer of all time is the Commodore 64 - by a significant amount.
There's a tendency amongst both Apple execs and fans to re-write history in their favour - Commodore had the best-selling computer ever with the 64, and the first colour DTP machine with the Amiga.
I'm sure we all remember Bill Gates' and his hilarious on-stage USB "demonstration".
Whatever the bitter and twisted anti-Apple-tards might post in these articles, Apples resurgence redefined the PC industry - and that's why *every* major tech company is now scrambling to keep up with them.
A pint for Mr Jobs.
Windows 95 shipped with MSN preinstalled and I daresay other PCs shipped with AOL or other apps preinstalled. So a good few PCs doubtless existed way before your "first personal computer to ship that was ready to connect to the internet in seconds" that did exactly that.
Of course maybe Apple bragged they were the first, but it wouldn't be the first time they made baldfaced lies in ads. See also claims about the Mac being the first 64-bit OS, the fastest PC ever etc.