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.
The Power Macintosh G3 was the first new tower desktop to be released after the original iMac in 1998. The iMac at the time was originally released in “Bondi” blue—a translucent blue-green hue reminiscent of the waters off Bondi beach in Australia—that was replaced in 1999 with a brighter translucent set of colors including a shade of blue called “blueberry.” The Power Macintosh G3 was closer in color to the blueberry iMac, but it was not an exact match.
The Power Macintosh G3 was known as the “blue and white” tower. The tower used a translucent white outer case on both sides and featured both a glossy, translucent blue Apple logo and the characters G3 boldy printed under the frosted white translucent plastic to achieve a blurred, shadowy effect.
The front of the Power Macintosh G3 was translucent blue with an underlying pinstripe pattern. The top of the front included spaces for two optical drives. This example includes a CD-ROM and a Zip drive (from the company Iomega). Below the media drives was a speaker, the power button, and two additional smaller buttons—reset and “interrupt” buttons—both used to recover from system-level issues.
The back of the tower included ports, including two FireWire (400) ports, one ADB port, one ethernet port, two USB ports, and side-by-side 3.5 mm microphone (audio-in) and audio-out ports. A space for a modem port is included, but unused in this example. Four slots were also available. This model includes slot 1 with a standard VGA port, slot 2 with AV ports including a DB-15 (“Mac Video”) port, two S-video, and one yellow video-in RCA port. Slots 3 and 4 are unused.
The port choices represent an interesting mix of legacy and brand new technology. While the desktop was the first to include FireWire 400 ports, it also included the then-new USB standard, but curiously included one then-outdated ADB port. The slots below show a similar mix of old and new: VGA and the old-style “Mac Video” DB-15 port. Thus, while the iMac was only looking forward, this tower allowed old and new peripherals to be used.
The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video and memory) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.
Internally, this Power Macintosh G3 uses a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 6 GB hard drive, a 32X CD-ROM drive, and an ATI Rage graphics card. The hard drive was a faster, server-grade Ultra ATA/33 model when iMac computers of the time included IDE/ATA hard drives.
A highly specious rumor of the time noted that the design of this tower included a Disney reference. When viewed sideways, a Mickey Mouse ears shape can be seen in the negative space between the “bite” in the Apple logo and the inside of the Helvetica Bold “3” in the “G3” logo on the sides of this tower. The conspiracy theory speculated that Disney was contemplating the purchase of Apple.
I used versions of this blue and white tower in two of my educational technology leadership positions. In both cases, I used this tower to create videos and other multimedia using early versions of iMovie and other multimedia creation software.
The PowerBook G3/250 is the first Apple laptop to use the G3 processor. It shipped with a 250 MHz G3 processor; contained 32 MB RAM and 2 MB VRAM; used a 5 GB hard drive; and had an internal 20X tray-loading CD-ROM drive. It included “hot-swappable” drive bays—drives could be swapped while the computer was running without restarting—and dual PC card slots. The display was a 12.1-inch color TFT active-matrix display at 800×600 resolution.
The design of the original PowerBook G3 is nearly identical to the PowerBook 3400 that proceeded it. The laptop included the 3400’s notable four-speaker sound system. It shipped with MacOS 8.0 and could be updated to a maximum of MacOS 9.1. Its average weight was 7.5 pounds.
Because of its G3 (third-generation) PowerPC 750 processor that included a backside level 2 cache, the laptop’s performance exceeded that of some desktop systems at the time. When released, its retail price was $5,700.
The original iMac was introduced on May 6, 1998, and shipped August 15, 1998. It featured a 233 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 32 MB of RAM, a 4.0 GB EIDE hard drive, and a tray loading CD-ROM drive. Its screen was a 15-inch CRT display.
The original iMac was available in one color called “Bondi blue,” named for the blue-green color of the water at Bondi Beach near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. “Bondi” is an [Australian] Aboriginal word meaning “water breaking over rocks.”
This was the first consumer computer product released after Steve Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO. The iMac was primarily credited with returning Apple to profitability and re-establishing Apple’s commitment to simplicity and design, but at the time was criticized for dropping the floppy disk drive and adopting the emerging USB standard.
The “i” in “iMac” has been described by Apple to represent “Internet,” but Steve Jobs also specified the “i” to mean internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire in a presentation in 1998.
Although the original iMac was not meant to be user-upgradable, it did contain what was referred to at the time as a “mysterious” slot behind the hinged side door called the “Mezzanine” slot. Inside the iMac was a Mezzanine connector soldered on to the motherboard. Officially, Apple never explained its purpose, but a few developers created expansion products that used the slot and/or port. I installed one such port in a few iMac computers in 1999, namely the Griffin iPort that added an Apple serial port and video-out port. Although the Griffin iPort didn’t use the Mezzanine internal connector, it did use the Mezzanine slot to make the ports available.
The Revision A iMac (M6709LL/A) and Revision B iMac (M6709LL/B) are identical with the exception of graphics systems. Revision A (August 15, 1998) had an ATI Rage IIc graphics with 2 MB of VRAM, and Revision B (October 26, 1998) had an ATI Rage Pro Turbo graphics with 6 MB of VRAM.
The iMac G3/500 DV Special Edition (Summer 2000) featured a 500 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 30.0 GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a slot loading 4X DVD-ROM drive, a Harmon-Kardon designed sound system, and two FireWire 400 ports. The screen was a 15-inch CRT display.
The iMac G3/500 DV Special Edition (Summer 2000) is similar to the iMac G3/450 DV+ (Summer 2000) released at the same time, but was offered in graphite and snow rather than indigo, ruby, and sage. It was referred to as a “Special Edition” model because it had a faster processor, twice the RAM, and a larger hard drive (30.0 GB instead of 20.0 GB).
This iMac model also replaced the Apple USB Keyboard and round Apple USB Mouse with the Apple Pro Keyboard and Mouse.
The iMac G3/333 featured a 333 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 32 MB of RAM, and a 6.0 GB EIDE hard drive. The screen was a 15-inch CRT display.
This iMac was offered in five different colors: lime (lime green), strawberry (pinkish-red), blueberry (bright blue), grape (purple), and tangerine (orange-yellow). The previous version of this iMac was offered in the exact same colors.
Apart from the faster 333 MHz processor, this iMac was identical to the iMac G3/266 before it.
The iMac G3/266 featured a 266 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 32 MB of RAM, and a 6.0 GB EIDE hard drive. Its screen was a 15-inch CRT display.
This iMac was offered in five different colors: lime (lime green), strawberry (pinkish-red), blueberry (bright blue), grape (purple), and tangerine (orange-yellow). Previously, the iMac was available only in Bondi blue (blue green).
This iMac is grape.
The iMac G3/266 models had similar specifications to the Revision B iMac line before, but shipped with a larger 6.0 GB hard drive and lacked the “Mezzanine” internal expansion slot and IrDA.
The iMac G3/350 (Summer 2000, indigo) featured a 350 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 7.0 GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a slot loading 24X CD-ROM drive, and a Harmon-Kardon designed sound system. The all-in-one case design was transparent indigo blue with a 15-inch CRT display.
This model does not support FireWire (400) or AirPort (802.11b), even though its predecessor added support for both technologies. However, this model included a slightly larger hard drive (7.0 GB compared to 6.0 GB), a slightly better video processor, and replaced the Apple USB Keyboard and round Apple USB Mouse with the Apple Pro Keyboard and Mouse. This model sold for $200 less than the previous model at $799.
Due to the price drop, this model was purchased for many schools to update the computer labs common at the time. In my Technology Director position at the time, we upgraded at least three computer labs from tray-loading iMac to slot-loading iMac computers due to the price drop.
The PowerBook G3/400 had a distinctive translucent bronze-colored keyboard and was often referred to by its codename, “Lombard.” The codename was a reference to its curvy case design reminiscent of the curvy Lombard Street in San Francisco.
The bronze-keyboard PowerBook featured a 400 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 64 MB of RAM, and a 6.0 GB hard drive, and a tray-loading 2X DVD-ROM drive. The screen was a 14.1-inch TFT active-matrix color display.
The PowerBook G3 bronze keyboard systems were approximately 20% thinner than earlier PowerBook G3 models, had a longer battery life, weighed substantially less, and added dual-display support. This was also the first “professional” PowerBook to drop the ADB and Mac serial ports for dual USB ports. However, the laptop retained the old SCSI port.
The PowerBook G3 500 was a member of the PowerBook FireWire family and referred to by its codename, “Pismo.” It featured a 500 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 12.0 GB or 20.0 GB hard drive, and a tray-loading 6X DVD-ROM drive. The screen was a 14.1-inch TFT active-matrix color display.
Although the PowerBook G3 shares a case that is similar to the “Lombard” PowerBook G3 models that came before them (with a bronze keyboard), the “Pismo” PowerBooks used a faster logic board, a faster hard drive, and faster graphics. Pismo PowerBooks also supported optional AirPort (802.11b), and included dual FireWire ports.