August 15, 1998: The iMac G3, Apple’s brightly colored translucent Macintosh relaunch, goes on sale to a rabid audience.
Steve Jobs’ first major product launch since returning to Apple, the internet-ready iMac cements his legacy as a forward-thinking tech visionary, introduces the world to the design talents of Jony Ive, and pretty much saves Apple in the process.
To coincide with today’s brand new Retina iMacs release, Apple has launched a superb new mini-site comparing the latest Mac desktop with the 1998-era iMac G3.
The first major release under Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple, the original iMac was also the computer which introduced Jony Ive as a creative force at Apple, as well as the machine that announced that Apple was on the comeback trail.
Needless to say, Moore’s Law and an extra 17 years of innovation means that the current iMac is on a totally different plain to Jobs’ comeback computer.
I really like Nikolai Lamm’s concepts for imaginary, rumored, (and possibly forthcoming) Apple products, and this transparent concept for a cheaper budget iPhone is no exception. I love how it merges the 2012 iPod touch’s candy colored backshell with the iMac G3’s transparent casing.
I think there’s little to no chance Apple would actually make an iPhone that looks like this — in the mind of Jonny Ive, transparent gadgets are so 1998, I bet — but heck, I’d buy a phone like this.
This computer, in turn, is based on the IBM PowerPC 750 CPU, which Intel first introduce on November 10, 1997. This CPU was used by Apple in many computers in the late 1990s, including the original iMac.
As one insightful redditor notes: “Curiosity is essentially a 2-CPU Power Macintosh G3 with some nifty peripherals and one HELL of a UPS.”
For the last year or so, I’ve had an old indigo blue iMac G3, throbbing its orange oculus silently on my computer desk. I inherited it from the previous inhabitant of my apartment, and while I was at first enthusiastic about it, I’ve never quite been able to decide what I want to do with it.
While my budgerigar, Humbert J. Humbird, likes it well enough, converting it into a bird cage doesn’t really seem like a good idea: a gloomy demesne indeed for a parakeet already morbidly inclined. Another idea I had was to install Writeroom and put it in the front hallway of my palatial blogger’s luxury apartment, as a sort of guest book, but the only nook suitable is already the napping post of my senescent man servant, Beasley.
The other day, though, inspiration struck: I would Hackintosh it. I’d just rip out that iMac’s guts — the bulbous CRT, the 450MHz Power PC architecture, the 10GB hard drive and the 350MB RAM — and install a homemade mini-PC, hacked to run Snow Leopard. A perfect New Year’s project, and an excellent way to make that gorgeous, old and obsolete piece of plastic junk into a modern Mac.
I haven’t started yet — I expect the real challenges to be the installation of an LCD screen and getting the slot-loading DVD drive to play nice — but I was curious if anyone had tried to Hackintosh an old iMac G3. Sure enough, someone had, as demonstrated this gorgeous picture guide of some maker who gutted his own, tray-loading Tangerine iMac G3 and installed a Hackintosh.
Unfortunately, there’s no text instructions, but the process seems simple enough. I plan to start sometime in January, and I’ll update here about it as I do. Any of our Cultists done something similar and want to warn me away from potential pitfalls? Pipe up in the comments.