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iMac: Every Now and Then

by Dewi Safitri

The iMac was the first all-in-one Macintosh computer announced by Steve Jobs in 1998. Although the first iMac computer only had 32 megabytes of RAM and a hard drive with storage of only 4 gigabytes. The iMac is evolved to become one of the fastest and most reliable computers today!

This is the Evolution of the iMac! The first Apple personal computer was the Macintosh 128k released on January 24, 1984, for $2,495. It had a 9-inch display and extremely low specifications, but at the time these specifications were impressive and that led to strong sales of the Macintosh. Within a few months, 70,000 units were sold.

Apple made many more computers, including the Apple Performa series. Unfortunately for Apple, these led to a series of setbacks, with more consumers choosing a Windows computer instead. Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 and realized that things at Apple had to change. He saw the internet as a real opportunity to build an internet computer.

So just 2 years later, in 1998, Apple announced the iMac G3. No one had imagined that a company that struggling to keep up with its competitors, would design and build something that would change the personal computer industry.

The first advantage that this computer had was that it gave the users faster access to the internet. Unlike what we have today, the internet was just becoming mainstream, and devices were not optimized for internet use. It became one of the selling points of the iMac G3 with the popular catchphrase “There’s no step 3!”, meaning that users only had to go through two steps to connect to the internet.

This may not sound like a big deal now, but it was back then! Also, at the time many computers were simply boxes and towers. The iMac G3 looked completely different with a translucent “Bondi Blue” egg-shaped chassis with a 15-inch screen that Forbe Magazine described as an “industry-altering success.”

The G3 also used a CD drive instead of a floppy disk drive which was a controversial change. The iMac G3 featured a G3 PowerPC processor, 32 megabytes of RAM, 2 megabytes of video RAM, 4 gigabytes of storage, and a price of $1,299. It was a huge success and it sold more than 280,000 units in the first 6 weeks after its launch!

In 1999 a new model of the G3 was launched with more colors. The RAM, video RAM, and storage were all upgraded. One year later another model of the G3 was released with significantly better specifications. Fun Fact! The “I” in iMac stands for the internet.

Ken Segall proposed this name and Steve Jobs didn’t agree at first because he wanted to call it, the “MacMan”. That would have been a funny name for a computer that couldn’t play the official Pac-Man. In 2002, Apple introduced the iMac G4 with an improved design

The CTR monitor in the iMac G3 was replaced with a flat panel screen in the iMac G4. The screen was supported by a stainless steel arm attached to a hemisphere base. The design gave this new computer a unique look that made it seem as if the screen was floating in the air.

This time customers could choose between 15, 17, and 20-inch models. The G4 featured a faster processor, improved RAM, and video RAM, 40 gigabytes of storage and it had a starting price of $1,299. 

Two years later, Apple completely changed the design of the iMac with the iMac G5. This was the first iMac that had its entire computer hidden behind a flat screen. The flat-screen was supported by an aluminum stand, and it was considered the “thinnest” desktop computer at the time.

The G5 was available in 17-inch and 20-inch displays and the specifications were improved significantly. The lower-end model cost $1,299 while the more expensive 20-inch was sold for $1,899. In 2005, the iMac G5 received an integrated iSight camera. The RAM, video RAM, and storage were also improved. It had a base storage of 160 gigabytes but was also available in 250 or even 500 gigabytes.

Fun Fact! 2006 saw the arrival of the first iMacs to use Intel Processors and this started a historic partnership between the world’s leading chip innovatior computer company.

Just when you think that Apple has nothing new to offer, they’ll always surprise you with an outside-of-box innovation. In 2007, they replaced the white polycarbonate plastic that has been used in the previous models with aluminum and a black bezel around the display in the iMac Aluminum.

This model was more aesthetically pleasing, and it was the first to use the wireless keyboard and magic mouse. The iMac Aluminum was the first to have 1 gigabyte of RAM and storage options ranging from 250 GB to 1 Terrabytes. Surprisingly, the starting price was lowered to $1,199, which is $100 less than all previous models.

In 2009, Apple further improved the iMac Aluminum by introducing the Unibody. Unlike previous models, it was the first one to have an end-to-end glass screen with a larger screen size of 21.5 inches. Also unlike previous models, it had a 16 to 9 widescreen aspect ratio, which has since become an international standard for computer monitors. 

All the features were upgraded, with significantly more RAM, video RAM, and 500 gigabytes of storage. In 2012, Apple released the iMac Slim Unibody, slim because it was indeed much slimmer than all previous models. The processor was upgraded to a Core i5 processor, making it much faster. That’s not all, it also had 8 gigabytes of memory, and it had a whopping 1 terabyte of Fusion Drive storage

This type of Storage combines a Hard Disk Drive with a Solid State Drive and offers a substantial speed boost compared to the Hard Disk Drive used in previous models. The 21-inch model cost $1,299, and a few months later the 27-inch model was released for $1,799. In 2014, Apple launched the first iMac with a 5K retina display. Although the appearance did not change much compared to its predecessor, some specifications like the 2-gigabyte graphic card were greatly improved.

The price however was increased to a whopping $2,499. A more affordable model came to market one year later with the 21.5-inch 4K iMac. The iMac Pro is what would be later known as the “most powerful Mac ever”. This model was introduced in 2017 and it is the last iMac that would have an intel processor. The iMac Pro also has a 27-inch 5K retina display and is equipped with powerful processors and graphic cards.

All these features come at a very high starting price of $4,999! In 2019 options of an astonishing 256 gigabytes of memory and a 16 gigabyte Radeon Pro Vega, 64X graphics card became available, making it not just the most powerful iMac ever, but also one of the most powerful PCs in the world. Fun Fact! If you would have bought the iMac Pro with all of the best specs, the price would have been a massive $14,299! “Say hello to the new iMac! You’ve never seen a computer like this before

In April 2021 the new iMac was announced. It is available in 7 different colors and it is very thin. It can be this thin because of the new M1 chip. This chip combines CPU and GPU, and it is expected to be 85% faster than the iMac Pro. It’s the M1 chip. Which is a kind of magic. And it makes the new iMac fast. Like your apps open instantly fast Like check that text while you clean your inbox while you share that photo while you stream that show fast.

The new iMac comes with a 24-inch 4.5K retina display, 8 gigabytes of unified RAM, 256 gigabytes of Solid State Drive storage, and a starting price of $1,299. It is very impressive to see how the iMac has evolved throughout the years, and I can’t wait to see how Apple will continue to innovate.

Source: Evolution of the iMac

Dewi Safitri

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