Steve Jobs unveils the iMac G3, the brightly colored, translucent computer that will help save Apple.
Ten months after Jobs’ new management team takes over, the iMac loudly announces that the days of Apple quietly fading into the background are over.
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The iMac was a computer from a good planet
It’s difficult to overstate just how different the iMac looked when compared to other computers at the time. Next to the gray or beige boxes built by rivals, it really stood out.
“It looks like it’s from another planet,” Jobs said at the time. “A good planet. A planet with better designers.” The designer responsible for the iMac G3 was Jony Ive, then just 31 years old. Ive had been at Apple for several years before Jobs’ return, but he was on the verge of quitting. Instead, he found so much in common with Jobs that his planned resignation turned into the pair developing a breakthrough new machine.
The iMac G3 was very much an update of the philosophy that drove the original Macintosh in 1984. At the time, Apple’s most affordable computer cost $2,000, almost twice what a typical Windows PC ran. Jobs initially wanted something stripped-down and affordable, through which users could access the internet.
However, just as happened with the original Mac, the project became more ambitious and morphed into a statement computer. With its translucent sea-blue design (named Bondi Blue after the water at an Australian beach), the iMac G3 looked accessible and easy to use.Not everyone liked it, though. Some people thought it looked too toylike, especially with its terrible “hockey puck” mouse. But everyone acknowledged its distinctiveness.