The iMac G3 or Original iMac was the first all-in-one legacy-free desktop computer by Apple. With its’ Bondi Blue plastic body the iMac G3 had a futuristic captivating look, but it’s innards are more interesting. It was the first personal computer lacking the floppy drive and all the legacy ports but USB. Even the keyboard and the mouse had an USB not a PS/2 connector. The iMac G3 had an inbuilt 15” 16-bit monitor with resolution of 1024 x 768, 56 kbps modem, in-built speakers. The headphones dual jacks were on the front of the machine while the peripheral ports were hidden on the right side of the computer behind the little door. The iMac G3 was originally available in one color: Bondi Blue. Later it was available in thirteen colors or flavors: Bondi Blue, Strawberry, Blueberry, Lime, Grape, Tangerine, Graphite, Ruby, Snow, Indigo, Sage, Blue Dalmatian, Flower Power.
iMac G3 Original
Introduced on: Announced in May 1998, released on August 15, 1998.
- Code name: “Columbus, Elroy, Tailgate, C1”.
- Processor Speed: 233 MHz (Bondi Blue), 266 MHz / 333 MHz (Blueberry, Grape, Strawberry, Tangerine, and Lime).
- Processor architecture: 32-bit.
- Processor type: PowerPC 750 “G3”.
- Cores: 1.
- On-Board Ram: 32 MB, expandable to 384 MB (128 MB supported by Apple).
- Video: 15-inch (13.8-inch viewable) shadow-mask CRT screen with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution.
- Graphics: ATI Rage IIc with 2 MB of SGRAM expandable to 6 MB of SGRAM.
- Storage: 4 GB, 5400-rpm ATA-3 up to 128 GB Hard Drive Supported.
- Input\Output: 2x USB 1.1, 2x Headphone mini-jacks, analog audio input mini-jack, built-in stereo speakers, “Mezzanine” slot.
- Optical drive: 24x CD-ROM.
- Internet \ Wireless connection: 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet, 56k modem 4 Mbit/s, IrDA.
- Preinstalled OS: 8.1. OS max. upgrade: 10.3.9.
- Dimensions: 15.8 x 15.2 x 17.6 inch Weight: 38.1 lb.
- Colors: Bondi Blue, Strawberry, Blueberry, Lime, Grape, Tangerine, Graphite, Ruby, Snow, Indigo, Sage, Blue Dalmatian, Flower Power.
Apple Orders, Discontinuation, Price
Apple Order number: M4984.
Model No: M6709LL/A.
Discontinued: March 18, 2003
- The iMac G3 or Original Mac was the first user-facing product of Apple and a harbinger of drastic changes soon to happen to the computer manufacturing world.
- The desktop was revised twice before being discontinued. Though, it’s hardware was designed liberal and could perform task throughout five years and beyond, which is simply astonishing. Some users report, it can support Mac OS Yosemite, though lags a bit.
- What’s more important, the iMac G3 and the all-in-one conception rebooted the Apple corporation career. Steve Jobs, back in CEO position, staked everything on it and won.
- The iMac G3 design was legally protected to prevent other manufacturers to legally copy it.
- The iMac is not DIY upgrade-friendly. The upgrade is left to Apple engineers and any upgrade means a new revision of the same iMac whether it features a video card, a larger hard drive or more RAM on-board. So, save for the above mentioned parts the hardware remained the same.
- iMac G3 is the all-in-one desktop system, designed, produced and manufactured by Apple Inc. iMac G3 features a futuristic unprecedented design, the display, the speakers, the drives and other hardware housed in a blob translucent casing.
- It was not the first all-in-one system Apple dabbed the hand in. We should remember Power Macintosh G3, available since 1997 up to 1999 and even more ancient Macintosh Performa, available between 1992 and 1997. Those two never took off actually. Experts say, there were numbers of reasons, poor marketing and maintenance included (Performa’s displays, for instance, turned out to be very fragile), but eventually it all came down to the fact that people wouldn’t see how it fitted their everyday life beyond the office.
- With sales plummeting, Apple faced the perspective of surviving in the market. It was the moment Steve Jobs came as an interim CEO and announced abrupt changes both in marketing and engineering. iMac G3 was announced on May 6, 1998 with the shipping starting since August 15, 1998. Original iMac G3 ran on PowerPC 750 processor of 233 MHz clock speed and 32 Mb of RAM from the box. Pentium II Klamath and Pentium II Deschutes – the leading IBM processors of the time – yielded the same clock speed, 460 MHz tops.
- So cute small figures, come to think of that. It’s impossible to believe, one could work on such systems! But the hardware specs were not that made it.
- Well towards the end of the 21st century’s second decade, one can’t fully appreciate the delight G3 evoked. First the color. Back then you could have the desktop of any color, if it was white, beige or eggshell. You could buy a desktop in the store or find a cheaper boutique builder and have your system customized up to your needs. But, you got only the system casing and had to buy a display to compliment it, as well as a keyboard and a mouse. And don’t forget a modem – another not so small box to connect you to the Web. Yeah, Internet already existed back then, trust me, I’ve been there.
- iMac G3 came in Bondi-Blue, in translucent Bondi-Blue like those fantastic machines that helped sci-fi movies characters. iMac G3 came in a blob casing with a built-in 15” 16-bit monitor with resolution of 1024×768. In went the speakers, the modem. Peripheral sockets were hidden in a right-hand side of the device behind a little door. And the cherry on the cake: iMac G3 got a handle to take the desktop around your room. That’s how close it came to being portable.
- Speaking of peripherals: Apple was the first to ditch all the sockets but USB. The floppy disk drive was also dropped. That caused an uproar to which the skirmish about ditching the headphone jack in iPhone 7 cannot be compared. Some third-party companies manufactured USB-connected floppy drives, but Apple stuck to the course. Floppy drives are over and done with.
- Of course, iMac G3 would incorporate optical discs’ drives, first tray-loaded, then slot-loaded, as it would incorporate other modern features. Yet, iMac G3 is not and has never been too home upgrade friendly. Apple considered revision and upgrade to be their job entirely.
We all know how scrupulous Apple is about its products. The bootloaders locked, the hardware options restricted to certain vendors, models and makes. Even the expansion slot in early iMac G3 was of proprietary model dubbed the “mezzanine slot”. A closer look reveals nothing special of this card with architectural moniker. Conventional PCI-Express cards are mounted at a 90 degree to the motherboard, while with the mezzanine card they are mounted parallel to the motherboard. It brings some restrictions to the upgrade, cards’ models option and arrangement. But taking into account the iMac G3 shape, employing the mezzanine card was only logical.
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