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Apple’s iMac Turns 20

If you were in school in the ‘90s, chances are your computer labs were lined with rows of Apple II’s. The Apple II was a ubiquitous symbol of the early-nineties, but became eclipsed in popularity by IBM and other Windows-powered desktops. Sales began to decline and the company appeared doomed to the annals of the obsolete.

Apple was at a crossroads.

So in 1997 and brought back its enigmatic and famously mercurial CEO Steve Jobs, and Jobs—more of a marketer and designer than programmer—unveiled the Apple iMac the following year. The iMac, with its assortment of brightly colored, see-through monitors which gave you a glimpse of the computer’s internal components, changed the tide for a company in freefall.

It set the tone for Apple to become the global leader in tech that it is today.

And this week we’re celebrating 20 years of the iMac, officially announced on May 6, 1998.

Jobs always believed that the best computers should set the industry benchmark for power, efficiency, and ease of use—but he also felt strongly that a computer should not just be a machine. A computer should be as uniquely designed as intricate furniture—it should be art. And the iMac released in 1998 reflected his vision.

The subsequent Apple iMac’s were clean and minimalist. Its sleek edges and clean, silk white look embodied Jobs’ ideas for how Apple’s computers should be designed. Owners should enjoy using them, but also enjoy displaying them as well.

So cheers on your 20th year, iMac. You truly changed the world.


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