This is a computer from the heyday of unthinkable forms and really daring ideas from Apple.
Continuing the cycle of retro reviews of cult products from the time of Steve Jobs, I decided to review the iMac G4 monoblock, which is absolutely amazing even today.
This futuristic computer was first introduced by Steve himself in January 2002, replacing the colorful plastic iMac G3.
When the trees were big
In even more distant 1998, iMac G3 monoblocks set a new, unattainable bar for all computer manufacturers of that time.
For 5 years, no one has been able to come up with something cooler than these teardrop-shaped devices of various colors, as if descended from the pages of science fiction novels.
Apple itself had the hardest time of all – engineers led by Jobs simply did not have the right to lower the bar of quality by presenting the next generation of personal computers.
I imagine how many sleepless nights and nerves it took young Johnny Ive to make the next iMac eclipse the almost perfect G3.
The task was not easy: it was required not just to update the existing G3, but to come up with something completely new.
This “something” was supposed to continue the idea of monoblocks, compare favorably with competitors in visual terms and have a more advanced filling, corresponding to technological progress.
Think Different 2002
We will never know at what cost the iMac G4 was invented. Did Johnny Ive sell his soul to the devil? Did you see in a dream the smooth forms of a semicircular container of all components? Or maybe the new computer was born after thousands of rejected drawings?
In any case, at the presentation at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, after a brief introduction by Jobs, the most unusual personal computer of all time effectively appeared on the stage.
The iMac G4 was an instant bombshell. It was better, prettier and more powerful than all the personal computers in the world. Apple was able to replicate its 1998 success, when the world was also fascinated by the smooth edges of the iMac G3.
This day, January 7, 2002, was the day when Apple, in the person of Steve Jobs, wiped out all competitors to powder. The moment of erasing competitors is clearly visible in the video (watch from 1:53):
The new iMac G4 evoked a variety of emotions. There was nothing like this device in the world and rumors seriously claimed that this computer was created using alien technology obtained from the mysterious “Base 51” in Nevada, where (everyone knows it!) stores the wreckage of a crashed UFO.
Beautiful outside and inside
We were lucky to get a working copy of the iMac G4 in near mint condition. Slightly yellowed plastic, a few scratches on the frame around the screen and not a presentable power cord.
Otherwise, no complaints, the machine works smartly, loads quickly and can be used for office work in 2016.
The only serious disadvantage of our “old man” is that it just does not turn on. It takes a few minutes for the iMac G4 to start up. An ordinary hair dryer is ideal for this procedure.
iMac G4 consists of a semi-circular base with a diameter of 25.7 centimeters. The novelty of that time, a thin LCD monitor, is attached to the base with a metal “leg” and moves in different directions.
The whole design resembles a table lamp on a multi-jointed leg, which is why the iMac G4 has been dubbed the “Jobs Lamp”. To adjust the screen for yourself, you just need to pull it in the right direction.
Despite the deceptively soft move, the screen was firmly fixed in the desired position, and the entire advertising campaign of the new monoblock glorified this particular feature of the device.
All the necessary ports and connectors were located at the rear of the base. In addition to 3 USB ports, amazing for that time, the user could find a jack for connecting a telephone wire (yes, a real modem was installed inside), FireWire and Display Port ports.
There was also an Ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Kensington lock. In addition to all this splendor, there was another unusual connector: it had a diameter of 2.4 inches and served to connect the Pro Speakers that came with every iMac G4.
These speakers were specially designed by Harman/Kardon for monoblock and with their unusual appearance effectively emphasized the creation of design genius Jonathan Ive.
Unfortunately, we were not able to listen to them, but on the Internet they assure that these speakers sound great even for our time, easily digesting all musical genres.
In addition to the appearance, the filling of the G4 also caused genuine delight: a processor with a clock frequency of 800 to 1.25 GHz, depending on the configuration, worked inside the plastic base.
The discrete video card GeForce MX 2 was responsible for the graphics, with a memory capacity of 32 MB. A separate AltiVec Velocity Enging processor was used to work with vector graphics.
The creators did not stint on RAM either: a whole gigabyte (however, in our copy there is only 512 MB). The operating system was the latest Mac OS X 10.1 with pre-installed programs, including iTunes, Internet Explorer (Yes Yes!) and even an electronic textbook dedicated to working on the mysterious Internet.
The screen with a diagonal of 15 inches had a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. Subsequently, the iMac G4 was equipped with screens with a diagonal of 17″ and even 20″, with increased resolution up to 1680×1050 pixels.
It was a powerful machine that could not only work comfortably, but also play any computer games that existed at that time.
You could buy an unusual iMac G4 in several options, for the cheapest you had to shell out about $1300, and in the top configuration – all $1800.
In addition to the speakers, each G4 came with a branded keyboard with two additional USB ports and a ProMouse mouse with one button.
For that time it was a lot of money, even for computer equipment. Many potential buyers did not dare to purchase such an unusual device, preferring simpler solutions, both visually and technologically.
However, the iMac G4 lasted three years and allowed Apple to establish itself as an innovator in the computer market. Many products from competing firms have come to resemble this marvel of engineering and design, although none has come close enough to Apple’s creation to remain forever in our memory.
PS The iMac G4 is currently available for around $100 if you look hard enough. There are even instructions on the Internet on how to breathe new life into the old man by installing the iMac Mini inside the plastic base.
It is possible that you will also have a desire to have this iconic candy bar at home, in memory of the great times. The iPhones.ru editors warmly welcome this desire, because we already have one 🙂
This is a computer from the heyday of unthinkable forms and really daring ideas from Apple. Continuing the cycle of retro reviews of cult products from the time of Steve Jobs, I decided to review the iMac G4 monoblock, which is absolutely amazing even today. This futuristic computer was first introduced by Steve himself in January 2002, replacing the colorful plastic iMac G3. When the trees were…
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