The iMac is range of Macintosh desktop computers designed and built by Apple Inc. It has been a large part of Apple's consumer desktop offerings since its introduction in 1998, and has evolved through four distinct forms. In its original form, the iMac was gum drop- or egg-shaped with a CRT monitor, mainly enclosed by colored, translucent plastic. The second major revision, the iMac G4, moved to a design with a hemispherical base containing all main components and an LCD monitor on a freely moving arm attached to the top of the base. The iMac G5 placed all the internal components immediately behind the display, creating a self-contained design that tilts only up and down on a simple metal base. All subsquent Intel-based iMacs have followed this design, despite changes in materials and size. The current iMac shares the same form as the previous models, but is now slimmer and uses black-bordered glass and anodized aluminum for its case.
Like other Apple products, the iMac enjoys a relatively high profile in popular culture due to its distinctive aesthetics and Apple's successful marketing. The iMac and other Macintosh computers can also be seen in various movies, commercials, and TV shows (both live action and animated). The iMac has also received considerable critical acclaim, including praise from technology columnist Walt Mossberg as the “Gold Standard of desktop computing"; Forbes Magazine described the original candy-colored line of iMac computers as being an “industry-altering success”. The first 24" Core 2 Duo iMac received CNET's “Must-have desktop” in their 2006 Top 10 Holiday Gift Picks.
- Main article: iMac G3
The iMac G3 was released from 1998 to 2003 in a trend-setting transparent form factor. It first shipped with Mac OS 8.1 and and could support up to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. It has 34 MB of Ram and could go as high as 384 MB of RAM. It has a 15" display. It has a 4GB Hard Drive or with 226 MHZ has a 6GB Hard Drive. It was featured in 13 colors also dubbed as 'Flavors': Bondi Blue, Strawberry, Blueberry, Lime, Grape, Tangerine, Graphite, Ruby, Snow, Indigo, Sage, Blue Dalmation & Flower Power. An enlarged version of the design was used by the G4-based eMac.
- Main article: iMac G4
The iMac G4 is an all-in-one desktop computer produced and sold by Apple from 2002 to 2004. It shipped with Mac OS 9.2 and could go as high as Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and unofficially 10.5 Leopard. It has a 40, 60 or 80GB hard drive and can have a maximum of 1GB of RAM.
- Main article: iMac G5
An all-in-one iMac G5 was a desktop computer produced and sold by Apple. It is the final iMac to use a PowerPC processor, also making it the final iMac to support Mac OS 9 through the Classic environment. It shipped with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and can go as high as 10.5 Leopard. It has a maximum 250 GB hard drive and the highest RAM level is 512 MB. It was replaced in 2006 by an Intel-based model which used the same design.
iMac (2006 Intel)
- Main article: iMac (Intel-based)
In January 2006, Apple introduced the first Intel-based iMac which featured a Core 2 Duo chip and a lower price. In September 2006, Apple added a new 24-inch model with IPS-display and a resolution of 1920 × 1200 (WUXGA), making it the first iMac to be able to display 1080p content in its full resolution, and a VESA Flat Display Mounting Interface. Except for the 17-inch 1.83 GHz processor model, this version also included a draft 802.11n Wi-Fi card.
iMac (2007 Aluminum Intel)
In August 2007, Apple introduced a complete redesign of the iMac, featuring an aluminum, glass and plastic enclosure. There is only one visible screw on the entire computer, located at the base of the iMac for accessing the memory slots. The back is no longer removable and is now a continuation of the aluminum body from the front and sides. The 17-inch model was completely removed from the lineup.
iMac (2009 Widescreen Intel)
In October 2009, a 16:9 aspect ratio screen was introduced in 21.5" and 27" models, replacing the 20" and 24" 16:10 aspect ratio screens of the previous generation. Video card options entirely switched to AMD, save for the standard onboard Nvidia card in the base model. The iMac's processor selection saw a significant increase.
Default RAM was also increased across the iMac range. With the advent of the larger screens, Apple doubled the number of memory slots from two to four. Consequently, the maximum memory capacity was also doubled (to 16 GB), and for Intel Core i-series (27-inch), quadrupled, to 32 GB.
iMac (2012 Slim Intel)
- Main article: iMac (2012)
In October 2012, a new iMac model was introduced that featured a considerably slimmer body depth than the previous models, measuring 5mm at its thinnest point. This was partly achieved by using a process called full lamination. The display and glass were laminated together eliminating a 2 mm gap between them. The 21.5 in and 27 in screens remained at their previous resolutions, 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 respectively. The optical drive was completely removed in this iMac.
iMac with Retina display (2014)
- Main article: iMac (Retina display)
On October 16, 2014, Apple introduced the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina 5K display, featuring over 14.7 million pixels. Alongside the display, internal improvements were made across the board, all without changing the external appearance. On October 13, 2015, the rest of the iMac line was updated when the 21-inch models were outfitted with Retina 4K displays. The change has been considered controversial as the Fusion Drives in the new 21-inch models are much slower than their higher-end counterparts.
iMac Pro (2017)
- Main article: iMac Pro
Introduced on December 14, 2017, the iMac Pro became the flagship of the iMac series. Based around Intel's high-end Xeon processor with a Retina 5K display, the iMac Pro was marketed towards professional users as an all-in-one alternative to the Mac Pro. It is only available in a darker "space gray" finish with matching peripherals.
- Main article: iMac (2021)
On April 20, 2021, Apple announced 24-inch iMacs in a thin new design with assorted color finishes and a Retina 4.5K display. It is the first iMac model based on the Apple M1 processor and the first desktop to support Touch ID. However, the classic ports were removed and went to the same port layout as MacBooks do.
- Sara Kehaulani Goo (April 15, 2006). Apple Gets a Big Slice of Product-Placement Pie. Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-05-10.
- Walter Mossberg (November 30, 2005). A New Gold Standard for PCs. All Things Digital. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
- Jon Swartz (April 14, 2000). Resurgence Of An American Icon. Forbes. Retrieved on 2006-11-24.
- Must-have desktop: Apple iMac Core 2 Duo (24-inch, 2.16 GHz). CNET (November 22, 2006).
- iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac ever, available today, Apple Inc. 2017-12-14.
- All-new iMac features stunning design in a spectrum of vibrant colors, the breakthrough M1 chip, and a brilliant 4.5K Retina display, Apple Inc. 2021-04-23.