Ben Murphy (ben_murphy) wrote in mac_vs_pc,
Ben Murphy

iMac determined to be "cute", sir

May 1998, Apple decides to revive itself with the introduction of the G3 iMac. Aside from being "cute" the G3 iMac effectively put Apple back on the consumer PC map. Prior to the release of the iMac, Apple was on a steady downward spiral towards obscurity with machines that appealed only to graphics specialists. Steve Jobs, the real genius and marketeer of Apple, knew that Apple's re-entry into the consumer market would be difficult. Apple needed a machine that could not only perform, but also place itself above the Windows machines that were building the internet. Meet iMac,

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Easier to use than Windows 3.11 machines for sure... Windows 95/98 machines were just as easy to use (face it, they were Mac OS clones, how could they be any harder to use?) but had serious stability issues. The all-in-one presentation also saved the consumer the headache of all the cables from speakers and monitors, etc. Techies were not happy with the all-in-one deal, but that wasn't Apple's target audience. Why would you put your entire computer in your monitor? What if the monitor goes bad? You have to replace the whole computer then?

Luckily Apple also took special care of making sure that the components of the iMac would last. OS 8 was solid and OS 9 soon followed suit. However, despite being a work of art both outside and inside, consumers could not get over the sticker shock. Furthermore, the time for the iMac revolution would have been a year or two earlier. If Apple had developed its new consumer hardware/software reachout in lockstep with the internet revolution the story of the PC wars could have been very different. As it happened, IT professionals were more used to x86 machines and Windows. Even today, although both are fairly simple to use, I still find it easier to set up a network with a Windows machine than with an OS X machine simply because I've dealt with networking on Windows more often.

Still, hats off to you, iMac. You were revolutionary in your own right. With a little more work, you could have been the ultimate light-user web machine. You had a brilliant OS, solid hardware, and let's face it, iMac, you were adorable.
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