As the manual for this Mac Pro states, “This is no floor model. Go ahead and keep it right on your desk.” This Mac Pro was a radical design departure from all previous Mac Pro—and other Apple desktop models with its cylindrical design. According to an Apple press release:
“Designed around an innovative unified thermal core, the all-new Mac Pro packs unprecedented performance into an aluminum enclosure that is just 9.9-inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. Mac Pro features 4-core, 6-core, 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processors running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz and two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs that deliver up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous generation Mac Pro.* PCIe-based flash storage delivers sequential read speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives, and ECC DDR3 gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth for seamlessly editing full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background. With an incredible six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each with up to 20Gbps of bandwidth per device, the new Mac Pro completely redefines desktop expandability with support for up to 36 high-performance peripherals, including the latest 4K displays.”
As is often the case with unique designs, this Mac Pro is sometimes unfortunately referred to as the “trash can” Mac. I have included a couple of tongue-in-cheek photos in reference to this moniker.
Apple’s 30W USB-C Power Adapter may be used to charge and/or power iPhone, iPad, and Mac models that use a USB-C port or Lighting cable with a USB-C plug. Apple describes the adapter:
“The Apple 30W USB‑C Power Adapter offers fast, efficient charging at home, in the office, or on the go. While the power adapter is compatible with any USB‑C–enabled device, Apple recommends pairing it with the 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina display for optimal charging performance. You can also pair it with select iPhone and iPad Pro models to take advantage of the fast-charging feature.”
The M1 iMac was the first iMac to offer Apple’s M1 chip. It was introduced on April 20, 2021, at Apple’s Spring event that also introduced AirTags, AirTag accessories, the purple iPhone 12, and a new Apple TV 4K with a redesigned remote.
This higher-end version of the M1 iMac uses an 8-Core CPU with an 8-Core GPU. It also has 4 USB-C ports with 2 of 4 ports supporting Thunderbolt (USB 4). The Retina display is a 24-inch (23.5-inch) 4.5K LED (4480 x 2520 at 218 PPI). The display and computer measure just 11.5mm thick and is attached to an aluminum stand that pivots on a hinge. This model has 8GB RAM and a 2TB hard drive. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0. A gigabit ethernet port is built into the power brick (not included in the lower-end iMac M1 models).
The built-in camera and microphones are greatly enhanced compared to all other previous Mac cameras with its “Best Camera, Mics, and Speakers Ever in a Mac.” It included a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, a “studio-quality three-microphone array for clearer calls and voice recordings” and a “six-speaker sound system that produces a massive sound stage with strong, articulate bass and crystal-clear mids and highs.” The standard 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the lower-left corner of the display on the side.
This iMac shipped with a matching Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and a matching wireless Magic Mouse. A matching Magic Trackpad is also available and a wider Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad.
I consider the M1 iMac my longest-awaited Apple product. Before the M1, my last personal iMac was back in 2015 when I purchased the iMac 5K, 27-inch with an Intel Core i7 processor. Except for what I would consider modest speed enhancements, the iMac did not change much until the iMac Pro was released in 2017, but I never considered a $5,000+ iMac realistic for my own home use. So I waited.
When the M1 Mac chips were introduced in 2020 I knew it was only a matter of time before the M1 (or another Apple silicon chip) would appear in an iMac. The first M1 chips were put into the Mac mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook—all excellent computers, but the previous computer design was adopted instead of Apple offering a redesign. I almost immediately started testing the (original) M1 MacBook Air for use in the school district where I work and found its performance to not only live up to hype at the time, but exceed all expectations I had.
Meanwhile, I waited for an iMac announcement and finally got it on April 20, 2021. I ordered it the moment it was available and it arrived on June 3, 2021.
My setup commenced immediately after arrival, and I started by moving my over-800GB Photos Library to the M1. The library consists of my entire Apple Collection and is not on iCloud. The Photos app began processing the library and I was able to begin photo editing. The difference in speed was striking. Even though the processing was happening in the background, absolutely no waiting, stuttering, or sluggishness was apparent during two hours of photo editing. My previous iMac paused for the beach ball every few minutes and Photos crashed every 30 minutes or so.
While performance is a non-issue, the design and color of the iMac has been unexpected.
When the iMac M1 models were introduced, I thought for a long time about my color selection. Since the “vibrant” color is only on the back and sides, I’d never see it. I’m no fan of pastels so I needed to make a selection among options I dislike least, rather than selecting what I like most. While silver was always an option, the collector in me didn’t want to waste the opportunity to own one of six new colors. And silver is boring. After a long deliberation, I went with yellow.
I selected yellow because it is a color that Apple had never offered an an iMac, and yellow is relatively rare in other Apple devices. Other yellow devices offered by Apple have included two iPod nano models (Generations 4 and 5), iPhone 5c, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11. Apple also offered the iPod touch (Generation 5) in yellow, but this shade of yellow is more lime green than yellow.
The shades of yellow shown on Apple’s website are to my eye, very far off from the actual color. Further, the iMac M1 uses three different shades of yellow. The “chin” of the device is a pale yellow; the back and sides is a rich yellow-orange; and the aluminum base is gold with hint of yellow. The aluminum parts of the mouse and keyboard use the exact same shade of gold as the iMac base. Other yellow parts include the magnetic power plug (an exact match of the back and sides color); the braided power cord (yellow braided with white); and the braided USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable (yellow braided with white matching the power cable). The plastic glides on the bottom of the mouse introduce a fourth shade of dark yellow.
The packaging also includes several yellow accents. The photos of the iMac on the front, back, and sides of the box are all yellow, but they do not match the actual color of the iMac. To be fair, the box photos match the iMac far better than the web versions of the colors. The box contains an internal container with the accessories that is printed in yellow. The M1 iMacs each include two Apple-logo stickers, a matching light and dark version of the iMac colors (except silver which only contains one silver sticker). Finally, the three-panel “Getting Started” guide is printed in the color that matches the iMac.
I’m not bothered by these color issues, but I do find them surprising. I am no fan of the gold base, mouse, and keyboard, of my yellow iMac—I ordered yellow, not gold—but as a collector I appreciate the design and many details.
Traditionally, Mac purchases have included a cardboard envelope with basic instructions, other materials, and Apple logo stickers.
The 2020 M1 MacBook Air included a white cardboard envelope that measured 3.25 x 5 x 0.375 inches. The envelope used a fold-over tab at the top. The envelope was printed on the front with the words “Designed by Apple in California” and contained a trifold “manual” printed in color, a one-page notice that included safety information, and two Apple logo stickers.
The Apple logo stickers were printed in a metallic silver reminiscent of Space Gray, unlike the traditional white Apple logo stickers usually accompanying Apple devices.
The back of the envelope included the copyright date of 2020 and the part number 602-03390-A.
This particular version of this packaging was included with M1 MacBook Air laptops purchased in a five-pack bulk purchase in March 2021. These were the first version of MacBook Air laptops with Apple’s M1 chip.
Instead of sending a manual with Mac devices, Apple includes this 2-page brochure that provides a diagram of the ports, power button, camera, basic macOS features, list of accessories, charging instructions for the keyboard and mouse, and URLs to access the online “manual” (iMac Pro Essentials guide) and support. In addition, Apple includes two complimentary Apple logo stickers and a microfiber screen cloth.
The Apple logo stickers that shipped with the iMac Pro—and other “Pro” Mac devices—are black. Other Apple logo stickers are most often white.
All these items are enclosed in a custom white cardboard envelope. The envelope measures 3.75 x 4.5 inches and is approximately 0.1875 inch thick.
This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches and features an eMac on a white background on the front. The back has the headline “Fast. Affordable. Simply amazing.” and includes specifications of the two available configurations.
Mac mini (original) “Take One” store brochure (January 2005)—This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches. The front features a photo of the Mac mini and the headline “The most affordable Mac ever.” on a white background. The front also includes a diagram of the Mac mini set up with “your existing keyboard, mouse, and display.” and the iLife logo. The back has the headline “Moves at the speed of life.” and includes specifications of the two available configurations. The back has the headline “Introducing Mac mini” and includes a photo of the back of the computer (presumably to show its ports) and specifications of the two available configurations.
eMac “Take One” store brochure (May 2005)—This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches and features an eMac on a white background on the front with various features highlighted. The back has the headline “Fast. Affordable. Simply amazing.” and includes specifications of the two available configurations.
Mac mini “Take One” store brochure (July 2005)—This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches and features a Mac mini on a light blue background on the front with various features highlighted. The back has the headline “Full featured, compact, Mac mini” and includes a photo of the back of the computer (presumably to show its ports) and specifications of the two available configurations.
iBook G4 “Take One” store brochure (July 2005)—This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches and features an iBook G4 on a light blue background on the front with various features highlighted. The back has the headline “Moves at the speed of life.” and includes specifications of the two available configurations (12-inch and 14-inch).
iMac G5 “Take One” store brochure (October 2005)—This 1-page brochure measures 4.375 x 6.5 inches and features the headline “The new iMac G5” on a gray-blue background on the front. The front photo shows a hand holding a white Apple Remote pointing at the iMac G5 screen with the Front Row (media) interface. The back includes specifications of the 17- and 20-inch configurations.
This MacBook Pro 15-inch laptop shipped with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (Santa Rosa) processor and 2 GB RAM. It contained a 160 GB hard drive and 8X SuperDrive. The display was an LED-backlit 15.4-inch widescreen at 1440×900 resolution that was available in a matte or glossy finish. This example has a glossy display.
The keyboard design used a numeric keypad accessed using the fn (function) key, a feature removed from later models. This MacBook Pro had similar features to previous Core 2 Duo systems, including an ambient light sensor that adjusted keyboard illumination and screen brightness, a scrolling TrackPad, and a MagSafe power connector. It used a built-in iSight video camera at 1.3 megapixels.
Wireless connectivity on this 15-inch MacBook Pro included AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.0. Ports included an ExpressCard/34 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 400 and 800 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, optical digital audio in/out (in a single 3.5mm port), and DVI out.
When the original Macintosh was introduced in January 1984, this Numeric Keypad was also announced as an accessory for an additional $99. The keypad uses the same telephone-cord-like interface as the Macintosh to attach in a daisy chain to the keyboard or computer.
The exterior packaging, included with this example, uses a stylistically similar “Picasso” abstract rendering of the product and Apple logo as the packaging of the original Macintosh.
The interior packaging is white styrofoam with an embossed Apple logo.
The Macintosh Server G3/300 Minitower was released in 1998 as the final beige tower design by Apple. This G3 Server used a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, a single 4.0 GB SCSI hard drive (with space for a second drive), and a 24x CD-ROM drive.
This minitower also contained a “Whisper personality card” that added audio input and output ports. According to LowEndMac, Apple had planned various “personality cards,” but only audio (“Whisper”), audio/video (“Wings”), and audio/video/DVD playback (“Bordeaux”) were ever produced.
The case design of this minitower includes a removable side panel and two internal tabs that, when released, allow the entire tower to tilt 90 degrees on a hinge allowing easy access to all internal components. Interestingly, the side door panel latch and internal tabs are made from translucent blue-green plastic, a design aesthetic that would soon become the Mac design norm that same year when the original iMac was released.
Ports on this computer include SCSI; ADB (Apple Desktop Bus); Ethernet (10-100); Mac serial and printer ports; Apple Video (DB-15), line-out and microphone 3.5 mm jacks. Three card slots are available: the first is empty, but ready for a high-speed SCSI port; the second slot has a second high-speed ethernet port; and the third slot adds two USB ports.
The exact factory configuration of the server is shown as: 1MB Cache/128MB/2x4GB UW/CD/10-100 ENET. The model is M4405, and the serial number area specifies a production date of May 27, 1998, at 3:30 PM.