20 years of iMac: What made the iMac so important

Whether you’ve watched Steve Jobs, or read any of his autobiographies, it’s evident that the iMac defined Apple long before the iPhone transformed the company’s fortunes.

Today, Apple is known for its iPhones more than its iMac. But on the 20th anniversary of the iMac, it’s important to remember why Apple has never given up on its iMac, despite making most of its profits from its iPhone, its second hero product after the iPod.

Apple CEO Tim Cook today tweeted reiterating how the iMac changed the way people looked at computers.

“20 years ago today, Steve introduced the world to iMac. It set Apple on a new course and forever changed the way people look at computers.”

Accompanying it is a video showcasing the jelly-coloured G3 presented on stage by none other than Steve Jobs himself at an ‘Apple Special Event’ back in 1998.

In the presentation, Steve Jobs went on to explain why the iMac existed, “…to get on the internet, simply and fast!”

He also went on to explain the concept behind Apple’s iconic “i” prefix. According to Jobs, ‘i’ to Apple stood for “internet, individual, instruct, inform, inspire.” In other words, you can say that it could stand for any positive-sounding adjective you can think off, just as long as it starts with the letter ‘i’.

The other purpose for the iMac was also education. Jobs went on to explain its features and hardware before showcasing the iMac G3 for the first time ever. Indeed, what managed to wow the audience, wasn’t the specifications, but the colourful new design.

The approach to design too was very different from what most multimedia computers from other brands looked like at the time, with their boring off-white colour and mostly boxy appearance.

Jobs went on to explain how the whole system was translucent, came with dual speakers and how everything was integrated into one system, with just the keyboard and the mouse being the two other wired accessories (that were also colour-matched with the iMac).

The “simplicity” came from the fact that this was a machine that you could pop out of a box, plug it in and be ready to go. Compared to the popular IBM and Windows machines at the time, this was extraordinarily simple.

Twenty years ago, the iMac was a revelation. Today, twenty years later, it still remains as relevant and significant as the day it was launched.

Hopefully, Apple never loses sight of the philosophy that launched its first iMac.

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