May 6, 1998
At the Flint Center Theater, the same place where the Macintosh was first unveiled in 1984, Steve Jobs introduces the original iMac. This iMac was later referred to as the “Bondi Blue”, after the color of its case (named for a beach in Australia). According to Jobs, the iMac is “the Internet-age computer for the rest of us.” By reimagining and reintroducing the simplicity of the all-in-one computer that was the hallmark of the original Macintosh 14 years earlier, Apple was banking on the ease-of-use of the iMac to attract many people to the Macintosh platform who wanted to make use of the still emerging Internet. Originally slated to be available in ninety days, it will actually be released on August 15th. In the meantime, Apple will book an unprecedented 150,000 orders before its release, marking the beginning of Apple’s renaissance. With its colorful design, the iMac ended the trend of the beige personal computer and even influenced the design of products outside the computer industry. It also ushered in the era of Apple adding the letter “i” to just about every product it created for a time. But hey, Apple eventually became the world’s most valuable company, so who’s arguing?
I remember helping my uncle buy an original iMac at a computer store in St. Louis (I think it was CompUSA but I don’t remember for certain now). I believe there were only a total of 15 iMacs for sale so we had to get there early to make sure we got one when they officially went on sale. There was a lot of fanfare and excitement in the air. I knew this was a big deal for Apple at the time, but little did I know exactly just how important an event this was in technology history. Plus I was a little jealous of my uncle for being able to get an iMac but at least I would be able to experience it when helping him set it up.