iMac old and new

5th September 1998 – the first day the very first iMac was available in the UK. I’m not sure anyone then would have imagined iMac would be a machine that would help save Apple’s fortunes (more on recent Mac successes, the original iMac launch keynote), but the £999 machine with a 233MHz G3 processor that my parents purchased for me on its very first day of UK release at John Lewis in Bristol was an ideal computer to take away with me to university.

Now 3543 days later the iMac is still around and I have bought myself the latest one – the scarily large 24″ LCD screen version with a 3.06MHz Core 2 Duo processor, and it cost me £1389. Replacing my not-so-swift Powerbook G4 as my everyday computer, the new iMac is true to the original spirit – extremely smart design, seamless integration with the operating system. A joy to use.


  1. Stephen,

    I would counter your facile comment but it seems foolish to debate with someone who cannot even be bothered to check who he is talking to.

    However, I will point out that my PowerPC 7300 (1997), PowerPC blue & white G3 (1999), PowerPC G4 (2002), Mac Pro and MacBook (both 2007) are all running beautifully, thank you very much.

    I upgrade because I am what is called a “power user”; in other words, I work with files rather bigger than a Word document and I need speed (and I seriously doubt that you are running the full version of Vista swiftly on your very old PC).

    Oh yes, and I’m a print designer, so I’ve always needed full Postscript implementation too. I’ll let you look that one up.

    Linux is a geek’s toy, nothing more; in terms of productivity for the average man on the street, it is useless.


  2. Stephen

    There’s no point in debating the relative merits of Apple and MS software; if you’re a devotee of either you’ll not be persuaded.

    It is worth saying though that my PC pre-dates your first iMac, and with the addition of RAM and a larger hard-drive is quite comfortable running XP pro, Solaris 10, and two different builds of Linux; against that I rather suspect that your 1998 iMac is long since defunct. I don’t regard it as either financially or environmentally friendly to see a computer as having a three year life cycle, although Apple and many Mac users appear to do so. I’ve serviced quite a few G3 machines for friends which seemed plagued with faults in their old age (stemming in the main from very poorly manufactured motherboards), aside from their refusal to accept OS upgrades.

    The current iMacs appear to have reliability issues with their screens (check out the online discussions and petitions) but Apple don’t appear to offer any meaningful support outside the regular guarantee period (did I hear someone mention the iPod?).

    Macs look nice, and if you are prepared to accept the restrictions and quirks of their OS and pay handsomely for the privilege, then it’s obviously the machine to go for.

  3. Jon,

    You’re quite right, they are beautiful machines (although, being primarily a print designer, I have always bought the pro boxes*).


    Macs are, these days, comparable in price to similarly-speched PCs and the Mighty Mouse does, in fact, have five buttons.

    And Apple abandon Mac OS X? Who’s been speculating about that: Rob Enderle? The Mac OS is what makes Macs Macs (and is what drives the iPhone).

    There’s a lot of speculation that Apple will license the Mac OS X and start up the clone programme again, and that’s bollocks too (after all, they did it before and it was not a success: in fact, it was one of the main things that nearly bankrupted the company).

    And you’re right, there is a lot to be said for Linux and – beyond “stability” – very little of it is polite**.


    * Currently running a dual 2GHz Mac Pro with 5GB RAM and a selection of hard-drives amounting to over a terabyte of storage.

    ** Yes, I am aware that Mac OS X is running on a type of Linux but with heavy modifications; and it is those modifications that make it usable by the layman.

  4. Stephen

    Well it took them long enough to get to that!

    Like I said, it’s obviously perfect for you. In 3 years time though, prepare yourself for the worst. There’s a lot of speculation now that Apple are not going to replace OSX, just switch to their main competitor. There’s a lot to be said for Linux or particularly Solaris actually; I’m certainly no apologist for MS software.

  5. It has a 2 button mouse!

    Plus I know it’s not easy to upgrade the hardware, but why am I going to want to? I’m buying it for website work for a 3 year timeframe and for that it’s no problem at all. I’ve been using Mac computers since 1994 and there’s no way, absolutely no way I am ever going to buy anything else…

  6. Stephen

    Great processor. If your idea of a computer is something that looks like it fell off the back of a Bang and Olufson lorry, and a mouse that has only one button and you’re prepared to spend £1389 on a computer in this day and age, it’s obviously perfect. Let’s hope you never want to get inside it to upgrade the hardware though, unless you’re a highly skilled safe-cracker in your other life!

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