updated 01:20 pm EDT, Fri August 15, 2008
iMac marks 10 years
Apple's famous iMac turns 10 years old today, marking an important milestone. The computer -- which first began shipping on August 15th, 1998 -- helped usher in the modern Mac era, distancing Apple from an era of Performas and Quadras. It was also the first major new product from the company following the return of co-founder Steve Jobs, and broke with previously standard Mac technologies at the time such as ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) in favor of those like the then-new USB format.
The original computer has been noted for its radical, gumdrop-like design, which was aesthetically unlike any other system, and restored the concept of an all-in-one desktop. The system was further equipped with built-in modem and Ethernet connections, which helped feed into an Apple marketing campaign, observing that it was far easier to get online with a Mac than an equivalent Windows PC.
The first iMac proved so successful that while Apple lost $878 million in 1997, by the end of 1998, it had turned a profit of $414 million, and made the iMac a cultural icon.
The computer has since undergone a number of revisions, such as a switch to a lamp-like configuration in 2002, followed by a flat, rectangular shape in 2004. Apple has also switched from PowerPC chips to Intel processors, and ditched much of the plastic once used in preference of aluminum and glass. Operating systems have progressed through many versions, from Mac OS 8.5 to Mac OS X 10.5, and rumors hint that future iMacs may even incorporate touchscreens.