Early 2001: The iMac G3 Goes Psychedelic

At Macworld Tokyo 2001, Steve “Business Suit” Jobs showed off what would be the last two new iMac G3 designs: Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power.

Blue Dalmatian

Flower Power

Like Sage and Ruby before them, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power were used for just one generation of iMac: the Early 2001 models.

According to Jobs, the new cases took 18 months to develop. They weren’t “colors,” but rather patterns molded “right into the plastic.” While some companies may have just used a decal, Apple wanted something special with these machines.

There’s no denying that the designs were a line in the sand. A lot of people liked them, but even today, people poke fun of them, too.

(I think it’s telling Apple returned to more sensible colors for the last set of iMacs, later in 2001.)

Blue Dalmatian features a pattern of white blobs on a blue and green background. It’s a little bit like a cartoon disco ball.

Flower Power is way out there. The pattern of simplistic flower shapes may have been colorful, but it soon picked up nasty nicknames comparing the design to moldy bread left in the refrigerator too long.

Both of these machines were a big departure from the previous colors used, and it feels a bit like Jobs (and Jony Ive, maybe) really wanted them to exist.

All “Early 2001” iMacs came with FireWire and iMovie, but Apple still shipped multiple lines of iMacs within this generation.

Our old friend Indigo sat at the base of the “iMac” line with a 400 MHz G3, a 10 GB hard drive and a $899 price tag.

The $1,199 mid-range Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power machines ran at 500 MHz with 20 GB of storage.

The high-end “iMac SE” (sold in Graphite, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power) came with a new 600 MHz G3, 40 GB of storage and CD-RW optical drives for burning music. It sold for $1,499.

This was part of Apple’s Rip. Mix. Burn. campaign:

The Early 2001 iMacs were even featured in print and banner ads:

Rip Mix Dalmatian

With the Early 2001 iMacs, Apple didn’t simplify the line up all that much, but I think people were starting to wonder how long the iMac G3 would stick around.

At this point, the PowerMac, PowerBook and Cube were all running with G4 chipsets, leaving just the lower-cost iMac and iBook with the G3. The division made the overall product line a little easier to understand, but some wanted more power out of a consumer machine.

To be fair, Apple was still updating the internals of the iMac at this point. The G3s used in these models was markedly better than before, and the inclusion of CD-RW drives was a big deal. Remember, these machines shipped months before the iPod would be announced.

The G4 was the chip of the future, but the iMac would have one more round in the ring after these extra colorful machines.