The iMac at 25

Today marks 25 years since the original iMac was introduced. It saved Apple and changed the world.1 We live in a Notebook World today, but if Apple was going to reinvent itself in 1998, it was going to be with a desktop:

iMac G3

In a world of beige boxes, the iMac was new and different. Sure, it ran the same old (and kinda busted) Mac OS, but the design — and the move to USB — made huge waves, some of which are still felt today.

There’s a lot of great stuff out there today to mark the occasion, including this wonderful article by Jason Snell for The Verge:

After the wild early days of the personal computer revolution, things had become stagnant by the mid-1990s. Apple had spent a decade frittering away the Mac’s advantages until most of them were gone, blown out of the water by the enormous splash of Windows 95. It was the era of beige desktop computers chained to big CRT displays and other peripherals.


With Jobs’ brains, Jony Ive’s designs, and the new PowerPC G3 chip supplied by Motorola, the company began to form a plan. Essentially, Jobs went back to his playbook for the original “computer for the rest of us,” the Mac, to sell simplicity. The Mac’s mouse-driven graphical interface may have changed the course of the PC world, but its all-in-one design just hadn’t clicked. Jobs decided it was time to try again.

Back in 2016, I set out to collect every model of iMac G3 that was produced over the machine’s six generations. The result of that was one of my favorite projects to ever grace the pages of 512 Pixels. That page has links to all of my iMac G3 coverage, including my look back at the original’s announcement:

  1. I even wrote a book about the computer and how it gave Apple the runway it needed to get Mac OS X out the door.