ARCHIVED: What is the iMac?
Debuting in August 1998, the iMac is Apple Computer's line of consumer-targeted desktop computers. It replaced the Performa line, which was cancelled in 1997. The original iMac had much in common with the first Macintosh computers, because it was a conscious break from the past, even compared to the rest of the Macintosh line. Like the early Macintosh models, it featured an all-in-one design, and it even sported a handle. There the similarities ended, however. The original iMac's translucent plastics came in several bright colors, and with its curvaceous casing, it was far less boxy than other personal computers.
In 2002 and again in 2004, Apple introduced a completely redesigned version of the iMac. As different from its predecessor as the original iMac was from the Performas, the 2002 "flat panel iMac" incorporated elements from the unsuccessful Power Macintosh G4 Cube and added a built-in flat screen display. The main body of the computer was a compact white dome that contained the CD and/or DVD drive, hard disk, motherboard, CPU, and other components. The display was attached to this base via a highly-adjustable swivel arm, making it somewhat resemble a desk lamp. In 2004, Apple did away with the base altogether and incorporated the entire computer into the structure of the display. Just two inches thick, it was consciously designed to look similar to the iPod.
Apple has positioned the iMac as a user-friendly alternative for the non-professional and education markets. Its self-contained design and helper software make it easy even for beginners to get connected to the Internet (the "i" in iMac). It comes standard with an internal modem and 10/100Base-T Ethernet and has an extensive software bundle, including productivity, financial, and gaming titles. Since October 1999, iMacs have also supported the AirPort card for wireless networking.
Because iMacs are for consumers, they are not designed to be very expandable. They have no expansion slots, and have replaced the SCSI, ADB, and serial ports of older models with USB ports. The iMac DV models, as well as all iMac models introduced since 2001, offer FireWire support. iMacs also do not have floppy drives, though their CD and/or DVD drives and excellent networking capabilities more than make up for lack of the former technology. The iMac's success is frequently credited as an important factor behind the explosion in the USB market, including printers, removable storage devices, scanners, and converters for connecting older devices to USB. It has also helped bring FireWire to the consumer audience.
For specifications, accessories, pricing, and other information, visit Apple's iMac web page at:http://www.apple.com/imac/
Last modified on March 31, 2010.