This thin plastic mousepad was made by the company Microthin and features the strawberry (red) Apple logo printed in a manner to simulate the translucent plastic Apple logo used in the iMac line of computers at the time. This mousepad is red to match the strawberry iMac. The iMac colors of the time included tangerine, lime, blueberry, grape, strawberry, and graphite.
The back of the mousepad is covered in a sticky material that provides traction to prevent slippage. The tackiness of the material is still viable after over 20 years and can be reactivated by rinsing accumulated dust with water. However, the entire mousepad is beginning to show signs of yellowing.
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.
This set includes five magazine spreads printed on 18 x 14.1875 paper and laminated. Each magazine spread is labeled at bottom-center with “TBWA CHIAT/DAY INC. LA” (Apple’s ad agency at the time) and a code number. The spreads feature slot-loading iMac computers and one features the tangerine iBook.
Q200-99-P2618AO features the tangerine iBook with the tagline “iMac to go.” (1999)
Q200-99-3172A features the lime slot-loading iMac with the tagline “And the award for Best Home Movie goes to…” (1999)
Q200-99-3502A features the grape slot-loading iMac with the tagline “Baywatch Baby” (2000)
Q200-99-P3739A features the tangerine slot-loading iMac with the tagline “Rock‘n Roll Machine” (2000)
Q200-99-P3740A features the lime slot-loading iMac with the tagline “Leapin’ Lizards.” (2000)
The iBook magazine spread introduces the iBook laptop and touts its built-in 56K modem as “the world’s easiest path to the Internet.”
All iMac magazine spreads feature slot-loading iMac models and DV camcorders with “Desktop Video” or “Desktop Movies.” Apple mentions the iMovie app in three of the four ads, but the main purpose of the ads is to show the ease of using the iMac to create videos, a relatively cumbersome task before Apple introduced FireWire and iMovie.
Unfortunately, I have no idea where I acquired these magazine spreads. I’m not now—nor have ever been—in the publishing, printing, or advertising business. If anyone has additional history on these, I’d appreciate it!
This poster was included in the package of all new iMac computers in 1999. After the success of the original iMac that was available in one color, Bondi blue (named for the color of the water at the beach in Australia of the same name), the second iteration of the iMac was available in five colors: blueberry, grape, tangerine, lime, and strawberry.
This poster shows all five iMac colors in a circle. The tagline is simply, “Yum.” to reference the fruit-inspired color names. (I use the term “fruit-inspired” because the shade of blue bears no resemblance to the color of a blueberry, and the dark-pink hue used matches no strawberry I’ve ever seen.) At bottom-center, the tagline “Think different.” is included along with the Apple logo.
This version of this poster is folded (to fit in the iMac box) and is 30 x 24 inches unfolded. I have another version of this poster that is rolled in a poster tube, and a rectangular button with the same design.
In early January 2002, Apple introduced a major design update to the iconic original iMac design. Previously the iMac was an all-in-one CRT-based design available in translucent and transparent colors and designs. The new 2002 design remained an all-in-one computer, but used a half-sphere white base, a chrome adjustable arm, and a “floating” flat-panel display.
Apple described the design in a press release:
“Apple today unveiled the all-new iMac, redesigned from the ground up around a stunning 15-inch LCD flat screen that floats in mid-air—allowing users to effortlessly adjust its height or angle with just a touch.”
The 2002 iMac was available in 15- and 17-inch models. This 24 x 36 inch poster depicts the 15-inch iMac on a white background and adds a reflection under the base. The text is printed in Apple Garamond, “The new iMac. Macworld San Francisco 2002.” and is followed by a gray Apple logo.
Also notable, this iMac has a screen showing Mac OS X. The icons in the Dock include Finder, Mail, Microsoft Internet Explorer, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, AppleWorks, Sherlock, QuickTime Player, System Preferences, and Trash. The inclusion of iMovie and iDVD underscored the addition of the SuperDrive “for playing and burning custom CDs and DVDs” as standard equipment on this iMac.
Although this poster (and the iMac itself) used the Apple Garamond font, later versions of this iMac design would switch to the Apple Myriad font.
Apple announced the iBook laptop in 1999 as a successor to the popular original iMac desktop computer. The iMac had been released in a translucent Bondi blue color and the iBook followed suit being available first in blueberry (aqua blue) and tangerine (orange). The design of the iBook was arguably as “shocking” as the original iMac. The iBook not only came in colors, but also featured a curved clamshell design with a built-in handle.
The iMac was among the first computers released that was not only made for “surfing the Internet,” but was also relatively easy to set it up and get online. This was not the case with most computers at the time. The iBook extended this ease of Internet connection by adding a built-in wireless card—named “AirPort”—and an accompanying AirPort Base Station. While these technologies were not new, they were among the first to be easy to set up and configure.
A print ad version of this idea featured an iBook with the words: “Introducing iBook: Up to six hours of battery life. Pentium-crushing G3 processor. Out of the box and onto the Internet in 10 minutes—no desk required. www.apple.com.”
The poster measures 24 x 36 inches and is printed on glossy paper. The design features a blueberry iBook with text below in the Apple Garamond font that reads, “iMac unplugged.” At bottom center is a translucent blueberry Apple logo and the words “Think different.” This poster includes no date or other information.
This Macintosh Products Guide CD is from Winter 2000. The cover art shows a graphite iMac DV Special Edition and it specifies that the CD contains “A catalog of over 16,000 products for your Mac.”
The publisher of the CD is ADC (Apple Developer Connection). The back of the CD says that it will help you “learn about the hottest products available for your Mac, including games, productivity applications, printers, scanners, image editing applications, utilities, digital cameras, USB peripherals for the iMac, and much, much more.”
When the original iMac shipped in 1998, it had a unique design never before seen in a personal computer. Apple also took the opportunity to redesign the internal packaging of the iMac, down to the book of CDs that shipped with every iMac.
The iMac CD book had cardboard front and back covers in bright yellow. Its white pages with clear fronts each held one CD. The iMac shipped with a bright orange Software Restore CD, a bright orange Software Install CD, and various third-party CDs, including Williams-Sonoma Good Cooking, Quicken 98, and others.
This Education Resource CD is dated Winter 2000. Its design features a rendition of the glossy 3D tabs on the apple.com website at the time. The toolbox image at the bottom of the CD matched the iTools design. iTools is a precursor to what has become Apple iCloud services.
My collection of Apple CD and DVD media includes operating systems, applications, software collections that shipped with devices, promotional media, diagnostic tools, and educational content. In general, Apple-branded CD or DVD examples in original packaging have been presented separately, while single discs or collections of discs are presented chronologically.
Apple CDs from 1999 include:
Mac OS 8.6 Updater CD (1999)
Mac OS 8.6 (Version 8.6, 691-2312-A, 1999)
Mac OS 9 (Version 9.0, 691-2386-A, 1999)
Macintosh PowerBook G3 Series Software Install (SSW version 9.0, 691-2458-A, 1999)
iMac Software Install (SSW version 8.6, CD version 1.1, 691-2376-A, 1999)
iMac Software Restore (SSW version 8.6, CD version 1.1, 691-2375-A, 1999)
Software Bundle (600-7647-A, 1999)
iBook Software Install (SSW version 9.0, 691-2472-A, 1999)
Apple Network Assistant (Version 4.0., Z691-2474-A, 1999)
SoftRAID For Power Mac G4 and Macintosh Server G4 computers (1999, SSW version 9.0, CD version 2.2.1, 691-2534-A, 1999)
AppleCare Service Source For Power Macintosh computers before G3 (includes AppleCare License Booklet, November 691-2508-A, 1999)
Apple shipped CD bundles in cardboard envelope packages in 1999. The envelope design shown here is orange with a white Apple logo.