Ports and plugs
Over on the right side of the iMac there was a pop-down door with a 25mm rubber-ringed hole through which cables could be threaded to the iMac's ports. And behind that door was where the iMac broke most clearly away from its predecessors.
"We're leaving the old Apple I/O behind," Jobs told his rollout audience. And the iMac most certainly did. Gone were SCSI, the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connecters for mouse and keyboard, and serial connectors for printer and networking.
In their place were stereo audio-in and -out ports, a pair of 12Mbps USB 1.1 ports, an RJ-45 100Mbps Ethernet port, a power-reset switch and NMI (nonmaskable interrupt) button (better known as the "programmer's switch"), and an RJ-11 port for the iMac's modem.
Below the ports was an enticing rectangular area blocked by a screw-in plate — but more on that entryway into the supposedly non-upgradeable iMac's innards later.
The modem, by the way, wasn't the 33.6Kbps V.34bis unit that Jobs had said the iMac would have when he announced it in May. At that announcement, Jobs had said that "We are targeting [the iMac] for the number-one use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet, simply and fast."
V.34bis wasn't exactly what would be called "fast" — even in those pre-broadband days, and complaints were raised by many observers. When the iMac shipped in August, however, it included a 56Kbps modem based on the V.90 (aka "V.Last") standard, which was a harmonic convergence of the two competing 56kbps wannabe modem standards at the time: US Robotics/3COM's X2 and Rockwell/Lucent's K56flex.
Apple's attention to design detail was evidenced in such small niceties as that port door's rubberized ring, and even the iMac's recessed AC-cord socket. Principal industrial designer Jonathan Ive once referred to the iMac as being "unashamedly plastic". He also noted that the iMac's translucency had caused him and his team to "[find] ourselves caring about the appearance of internal components that had previously had little impact on the product's appearance."
Next page: User-serviceable — for some users, at least
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.