91: iMac Special


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode number 91.

00:00:13   Today's special episode is brought to you by MailRoute and FreshBooks.

00:00:17   My name is Myke Hurley. I have the pleasure of being joined on this beautiful holiday day

00:00:22   by Mr. Jason Snell.

00:00:23   Hi Myke, this is our holiday episode. So in the United States, we're releasing this on

00:00:28   Memorial Day, which is the last Monday in May, I believe it's defined that way. And that's,

00:00:37   apparently stems from the Civil War. I looked this up. It's a holiday to recognize the people

00:00:43   who died in wars. We also have a holiday to recognize people who served in the military.

00:00:49   That's Veterans Day, but this is Memorial Day. And in the UK, you crazy kids, you just put

00:00:57   holidays at the end of May and call them because of the banks? Is it to honor the banks, the

00:01:02   spring bank holiday?

00:01:04   Yep, that's what it's for. We all go to the bank and we deposit one pound each, and that's

00:01:11   how we honor our banks on our bank holidays.

00:01:13   I understand the bank holiday now, it's so sweet. What a great tradition that you have.

00:01:17   It really is very nice. It's very nice. It's how the banks stay afloat in the UK.

00:01:20   Oh, that's good. It's the bank holiday. It's like Black Friday. It's like the day that

00:01:24   the banks get the money.

00:01:26   So that's why we all need a day off!

00:01:28   So we can all go in.

00:01:29   Go to the bank!

00:01:30   But you may have heard we have a guest this week.

00:01:33   We have Mr. Steven Hackett joining us.

00:01:36   Hello, uh, Upgradient Masters.

00:01:39   Upgradient of the Lords.

00:01:41   Welcome, you are in the circle now.

00:01:44   We decided to do a pre-recorded special episode, and because we were gonna have Steven on,

00:01:49   there's only one thing we can talk about, which is the original iMac.

00:01:53   For people that are not familiar with the story, Mr. Hackett, can you explain to the

00:01:58   Upgradients why you are now synonymous with the original iMac?

00:02:03   So the beginning of April, I think it was, I put out a little blog post saying, "Hey,

00:02:09   I would like to have one of each color to do some video projects with."

00:02:15   And it took about four or five weeks, and now I have all 13.

00:02:22   sitting here in my office. It's like podcasting with an audience, but they're all facing away

00:02:26   from me, so I guess they don't like what I'm saying. But they're all here and I've done

00:02:30   some reporting and a video and got some more stuff coming. So yeah, I've been playing with

00:02:34   41-pound computers all month.

00:02:38   Yeah, and it's funny because for me, boy, nothing makes me feel older than having stuff

00:02:47   that I covered and not even at the beginning of my career being nostalgia, which is what

00:02:53   this is, but that's what this is. Like, I was working at Macworld when the iMac came

00:02:58   out. It was after they had merged Macworld and Macuser and I had gone to work in Macworld,

00:03:05   and so it's just kind of funny. I mean, it wasn't a long time ago. It's like, what, 18

00:03:09   years ago now? So it's a long time ago. But still, yeah, it's a little strange. That's

00:03:16   one of the reasons that this episode is putting me and Steven together. We're being put together

00:03:22   because Steven's got the IMAX and I was there for it. And so that's a fun combination. Steven

00:03:31   and I have been talking like in Slack and stuff like that about IMAX things and he's

00:03:35   been asking me questions about like, "What was this? Why did this happen? And what was

00:03:40   the reaction to this?" And I get to be like an eyewitness to that, an eyewitness to history,

00:03:44   which is kind of fun.

00:03:45   And we said, "We should talk about this somewhere.

00:03:47   Where would we do that?"

00:03:48   And the answer was,

00:03:49   "Why don't we do an iMac special for the holiday

00:03:54   and put that out

00:03:56   because we're all gonna be doing holiday stuff."

00:03:58   And so here we are.

00:04:01   We're talking about the iMac.

00:04:02   Not the one that I'm talking to you from right now,

00:04:05   the original bulbous Bondi colored and other colors, right?

00:04:10   Bondi, did Russell tell us it's pronounced Bondi?

00:04:14   - That's the word on the street.

00:04:15   - Yep. - Yeah.

00:04:16   - The nostalgia thing is interesting.

00:04:19   For me, I was coming to the Mac for the first time

00:04:22   in this era.

00:04:23   I was in high school and it was 2000, 2001,

00:04:27   and at that time we had some like 1999 iMacs in the school,

00:04:32   'cause we didn't have necessarily new things

00:04:34   in the newspaper room.

00:04:35   But some of these machines are the machines

00:04:39   that I sort of cut my teeth on,

00:04:40   and running Mac OS 9,

00:04:43   and then transitioning to Mac OS X.

00:04:45   And so for me, they're right in that sweet spot

00:04:49   of not only coming to the Mac,

00:04:51   but also learning a lot about the Mac.

00:04:53   And I broke a lot of things in software,

00:04:55   running on computers like these.

00:04:58   And so for me, it's not so much that it was the computer

00:05:02   I had at home, 'cause we didn't have a Mac at home,

00:05:05   but it was one of the models that really

00:05:08   kinda brought me into this world.

00:05:10   - And that's the same for me too, by the way.

00:05:12   this computer was around when I was a kid.

00:05:15   And you know, like when I hear many people, you know,

00:05:19   mainly seems to happen on the talk show recently,

00:05:21   talk about like the first Mac that they ever used

00:05:24   and kind of how it brought them in.

00:05:26   And people talk about the Macintosh.

00:05:28   Like, and I really do think that for mine

00:05:29   and Steven's generation, it was this iMac.

00:05:32   Like it was the same thing.

00:05:34   It was like, this was the computer that was like,

00:05:36   nothing we'd ever seen.

00:05:37   It wasn't like the gateway computers that we'd used

00:05:40   in the cow boxes, right?

00:05:42   Like they were, these were like these beautiful,

00:05:45   crazy looking things that had really interesting mice

00:05:49   and keyboards and they had really weird,

00:05:52   cool software on them.

00:05:53   And they were at this point like starting to become Apple

00:05:57   was starting to become the cool company

00:05:59   that we know them at now.

00:06:01   And for our generation, this is our Apple.

00:06:04   It started with this iMac.

00:06:06   - I would actually say that it's not even just age wise

00:06:10   because I think a lot of people either came back to Apple

00:06:14   or bought an Apple product for the first time with the iMac.

00:06:18   And we'll get into like the way it was sold,

00:06:21   why would you buy an iMac?

00:06:24   What could you do with it?

00:06:25   But it was a lot of people,

00:06:28   this was the thing that made people consider buying a Mac

00:06:31   for the first time.

00:06:32   And so, would the iMac have saved Apple on its own?

00:06:37   I mean, Apple needed to keep doing new things

00:06:39   and they did, but this is the first sign that Apple was turning it around because people

00:06:47   saw this Mac and said, "I want to actually buy it." And so I think for a lot of people,

00:06:52   obviously for a lot of people the iPhone is their first Apple product, and for a lot of

00:06:54   people the iPod was their first Apple product, but I do think for a lot of people the iMac

00:06:58   was the first Apple product that they bought or used because how could you forget it? It's

00:07:05   a recognizable computer, a computer with a personality at a time when computers did not

00:07:09   have personalities. In a way that they don't have them today as well. Yeah, true. So can

00:07:16   you guys put into perspective for me, like at this point in Apple's history, what's going

00:07:22   on? So how long has Steve been back? What is Steve's position at this time? Like what

00:07:28   is Apple as a company in early 1998? Well I mean, so Jobs had only been back, like the

00:07:35   announcement that they were buying, that Apple was buying Next was in January of '97 at Macworld

00:07:43   Expo. And that was Gil Amelio and all of that and talking forever and then Steve Jobs appears.

00:07:51   And the idea there was they're buying Next and Steve's going to be an advisor. And that

00:07:54   was because they needed a new operating system and the Copeland wasn't working and they didn't

00:07:57   want to buy B, so they bought Next to get Next Step and use that as the basis for what

00:08:04   would become OS X. So Steve comes back and, you know, in the Steve Jobs movies, especially

00:08:10   the one with Ashton Kutcher, you actually get the scene of him engineering his revenge

00:08:17   and getting rid of the board that betrayed him and taking over as interim CEO. And, you

00:08:24   know, there are plenty of stories about him coming in and finding these people, including

00:08:27   Johnny Ive, who were working there and still had sort of pride in what they were doing,

00:08:32   and trying to set Apple on a path to figure it out. And among the things they did is in

00:08:41   August of that year, they made the deal with Microsoft to like drop the patent lawsuits

00:08:47   and Microsoft gave them some cash and Bill Gates appeared on a big screen behind Steve

00:08:51   Jobs at Mac World Expo like he was Big Brother and everybody was creeped out by that and

00:08:55   enjoyed the irony of it. And they killed the clones too is the other big thing that they

00:08:58   did around then is they it turns out that all of the Mac clones that were

00:09:02   there at the end of the Emilio era all had a license for System 7 but not for

00:09:08   iOS for Mac OS 8 and so they announced that Mac OS 8 would be the next version

00:09:15   of the operating system and that there would be no clone licenses effectively

00:09:19   killing the clone program and there were some lawsuits and Apple bought the assets

00:09:22   of power computing and you know presumably there was some other payoffs

00:09:25   behind the scenes to shut it down but Jobs wanted to shut it down so all that

00:09:28   was going on he's like getting his house in order but there was a real question

00:09:31   about like okay where are the products and you know Jobs put up I think I think

00:09:36   maybe at at some event I don't even know but we had gotten the product grid right

00:09:42   Steven I mean this is this is no this this is when he did it he unveiled the

00:09:46   product grid here yeah yeah so the the grid of four which what they kind of

00:09:52   came to call it you know one of Jobs big thing when they came back was just

00:09:57   clearinghouse of all these crazy models of Mac running around. Performas and G3s

00:10:03   and Unix servers and all sorts of stuff. It was a mess, right? It was a

00:10:08   disaster.

00:10:09   Let's get our house in order. And so some of what he did was he killed the

00:10:12   Newton, he killed OpenDoc, he killed all these projects that were not

00:10:17   anything. And he said, "Let's just go back to making products.

00:10:20   How simple can I make this?" And he would say internally, too,

00:10:24   Look, consumer, professional, desktop, laptop,

00:10:27   fill the four boxes, that's it, let's do that.

00:10:30   And people, you know, we got to see this at this event

00:10:35   that happened in April '98.

00:10:39   But at that point, Steve had been back running around

00:10:41   for more than a year, and so they had had enough time

00:10:44   to build a product that was kind of a fully,

00:10:48   it's not like they hadn't done some other products in there.

00:10:51   At that event, he kind of crows a little bit

00:10:53   about some of the other G3 stuff that they're doing,

00:10:55   but this is the full-on Steve Jobs.

00:10:57   And actually, as it turns out,

00:10:59   Steve Jobs and Jonathan I have a product

00:11:01   that's the first tangible example

00:11:03   of how Apple is not the old Apple since Jobs came back.

00:11:06   - Yeah, the grid of four really is,

00:11:09   I mean, even today, such a genius move.

00:11:11   It's like, get rid of all this stuff,

00:11:13   and you are either a consumer or a pro,

00:11:15   and you either want a desktop or a notebook.

00:11:18   And they spent really two years filling that box out.

00:11:21   So they had the beige Power Mac G3 that got replaced with the blue and white.

00:11:27   They had the PowerBook.

00:11:29   But the consumer side, the iMac was the first thing.

00:11:32   The iBook was months or maybe even close to a year later, I think.

00:11:37   It took them time to get all those ducks in a row, but it set forth a very clear vision.

00:11:42   So the iBook was in June 1999 at Mac World Expo in New York.

00:11:47   So over a year.

00:11:49   So this is, and this is what I was gonna say is not only was this genius in terms of simplifying

00:11:53   and sending the message that they were simplifying and genius in terms of communicating that

00:12:00   it was a new Apple and that they were gonna focus, but it was actually genius in terms

00:12:05   of promising a product that they weren't ready to deliver.

00:12:10   Because I will tell you for that year plus, everybody was talking about what the consumer

00:12:14   laptop was gonna be.

00:12:16   'Cause the power books were expensive.

00:12:17   I mean they were they were expensive and the idea that Apple was had just put out there a slide that said yes

00:12:23   We're gonna do a consumer laptop

00:12:25   And it sat there for more than a year with an empty box like question mark

00:12:30   I think they may have even put literally a question mark in that box and

00:12:34   That was great marketing to to make us all wonder. What was their next trick gonna be in so many ways

00:12:40   1998 feels like such a long time ago

00:12:43   You have all the Apple stuff, but you also have like this is deep in the throes of the like the megahertz war

00:12:49   So all throughout this keynote, it's like racing pinion computers because that's what they did in the day

00:12:56   We watched a video that is clips from it's not the whole thing, but it's a lot of clips from this event

00:13:01   Which was at the Flint Center like the original iMac and in fact, the Apple watch was also launched there

00:13:06   and

00:13:08   So much of that is Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller brought out to

00:13:14   talk about how the

00:13:16   Megahertz for Megahertz the the Pentium is not as efficient as the PowerPC at doing work and

00:13:23   and

00:13:24   Doing bake-offs which I had forgotten that they did but they absolutely did this all the time where it's like we'll press these buttons

00:13:31   And then everybody just sits there and watches as some

00:13:34   something renders on two screens to show how fast this Mac is compared to this PC that they've

00:13:40   ginned up. And of course, that's also amazing marketing, right, where they're picking exactly

00:13:45   what they want to do because they know they're going to win and all of that.

00:13:48   Ready, set, go.

00:13:49   There's so much of that, which is just defending the Mac against the perception that Macs were

00:13:55   slow and awful and that the PowerPC lagged behind what Intel was doing.

00:14:00   What was the situation though? Like, were they faster? Or like, is this just, you know, Steve Jobs spin?

00:14:06   My recollection is that they were faster depending on what the tests were.

00:14:12   That one of the things that I believe that the... it went back and forth. I think in this era,

00:14:18   they had added a whole bunch of instruction sets to the PowerPC chips, and if you had that were like

00:14:25   the vector instruction sets, I believe, that basically if your software took advantage of them,

00:14:33   it was faster than it was on the Intel chips. But of course, Intel was working on their special

00:14:38   command sets too. It would be, I think that's what MMX, the multimedia extensions stuff was. So it

00:14:44   was an arms race. I think there was generally a feeling that, you know, you got more for the same

00:14:51   megahertz between a Pentium and a G3. But the G3 is... this is also the earlier in the G3 life,

00:15:02   where G3 was a big deal, because previously you would have the PowerPC like the 604s and the 603s

00:15:08   and the 601s, which were these chips that were not... they were way more powerful than the

00:15:13   Motorola 68000 chips that they had run before. But the G3 was a rebranding and kind of a generational

00:15:20   leap that, hence the name, that gave them more ammunition against Intel. But they're

00:15:28   so Intel-focused, right? Because we forget about this now that the Mac is Intel, but

00:15:32   at this point they really need to justify their lack of compatibility and their lack

00:15:35   of understandability. Like, you know, it wasn't the same part, so you couldn't easily compare

00:15:40   them, and so they had to do lots of spin. So, Jason, I know that leading up to this,

00:15:45   know we talked about Apple kind of being like messy I know in here there's a lot

00:15:51   of like software only events like Apple used to have I don't even know like how

00:15:56   many expos and stuff they would attend and a lot of these videos you find on

00:15:59   YouTube from this era just like recycled content yeah so I mean that was kind of

00:16:05   the scene going on so like was there any indication going into this event that

00:16:08   there was something like really special coming down the pipe or did you guys

00:16:12   just write it off as another event? In fact, I would say that there was a real

00:16:18   "boy who cried wolf" kind of feeling about Apple at the time at Macworld, certainly. We felt like,

00:16:24   and I wish I could remember what it was, but the last event that Apple had told us,

00:16:29   you know, Apple PR contacts us and says, "Okay, we're going to do a thing. You should come."

00:16:34   We're like, "What's it about?" "Well, we can't say. You know, we're not going to say, but you

00:16:36   should come. Be there. Trust me. Be there." And I remember that we went to that, and I wish I knew

00:16:41   knew what it was. But I remember we all got out of it afterward and we're like, "What

00:16:44   the hell was that?" Like, it was just nothing. That it was a waste of our time. They didn't

00:16:50   respect our time. They had something inconsequential to announce or it was nothing new. And we're

00:16:56   all like, "Why did we do that?" And really, it's like, "Full me once, shame on you,

00:16:59   full me twice, shame on me," right? It's like, "Okay, okay, Apple, you got us. You

00:17:03   got us. We came to your thing not knowing what it was, and you didn't give us anything

00:17:09   new. So then they call up and say, "Okay, we're going to do a thing. It's going to be

00:17:11   at the Flint Center. You got to come. You got to come." And we're all like, "Yeah, pull

00:17:17   the other one." No. So what ended up happening is our editor-in-chief at the time, Andy Gore,

00:17:23   he lived in the South Bay around the peninsula, so it wasn't that far away. And somebody needed

00:17:29   to go, right? We were not going to blow them off entirely, but we're not going to send

00:17:32   like a bunch of people and have them. Most of our staff was in San Francisco. We're not

00:17:36   have them all drive down all the way down to Cupertino and go to this thing when we'd just gotten,

00:17:41   you know, kind of wasted our time with the last Apple events. More of the same, as far as we could

00:17:47   tell. So only Andy went to the event for Macworld. We could have sent as many people, we could have

00:17:52   sent the whole staff, we could have sent as many people as we wanted. Flint Center is huge,

00:17:55   and Apple at the time was not a big draw for anything like that. And so only Andy went. And

00:18:01   in fact, I wasn't even at work that day. I was working at home. I was working on some story from

00:18:06   from the apartment that I was living in at the time. And I just distinctly remember getting a

00:18:11   phone call from somebody back at the office saying, "You got to come into the office." Andy's called

00:18:18   an all-staff meeting for three o'clock or something like that, four o'clock. Everybody's got to come

00:18:24   in. I'm like, "So seriously, I'm going to go into San Francisco in the afternoon and then go to a

00:18:31   meeting and then turn back around and come home? That's ridiculous." And they're like, "It's a huge

00:18:35   announcement, you gotta come in. So we all came in. And it was the iMac, right? But we all, you know,

00:18:43   we all just weren't even paying attention. So Andy had the details and we started working on a story.

00:18:48   And if you look at the Macworld from that period, there's a story that we did as a drop-in,

00:18:54   essentially, because we were about to ship our issue. So there's a cover that says "Cool" with

00:18:59   with a period on it.

00:19:01   And inside there's like a two page article

00:19:03   that was written in less than a day

00:19:06   about the iMac that we dropped in.

00:19:08   And then we started work on the next issue still,

00:19:12   'cause it didn't ship, still with no product,

00:19:16   but it's like that's not gonna stop us.

00:19:18   We're gonna put it on the cover again

00:19:20   and we wrote more about it.

00:19:21   But unfortunately, I would say this is the last major

00:19:24   Apple product announcement that I was not in attendance at.

00:19:29   The funny thing is, is here you explain it is so weird,

00:19:32   because it's like, oh, it was announced,

00:19:34   then we had a meeting at three o'clock later that day.

00:19:37   Nobody still knew what it was.

00:19:40   - No. - Right?

00:19:40   Like it was just, 'cause that's just not how it is now,

00:19:42   right? - There was no internet,

00:19:45   there was no streaming on the internet of Apple events,

00:19:47   there was no live blogging of Apple events.

00:19:50   - There was no point in anybody explaining it to you

00:19:53   over the phone, 'cause it's like, it's not just,

00:19:55   we've got a deadline which is like a week away,

00:19:56   like it's, you know, whatever.

00:19:58   - It'll be in the newspaper tomorrow morning.

00:20:00   Well, in our case, our deadline, I think, was the next day.

00:20:02   And we did figure out who was writing it and editing.

00:20:04   And I think I edited that story,

00:20:06   but it was written by our reviews editor, Anita,

00:20:08   and by Andy.

00:20:10   And we worked on the cover.

00:20:12   I was the features editor at that time.

00:20:14   So I worked on it, but I didn't write that story.

00:20:18   And we were also planning our attack for the next issue too,

00:20:21   and gearing up for that and all of these things.

00:20:23   And it was, but yeah, I mean, there was no reporting.

00:20:27   We heard it from the person who was there,

00:20:29   and we started to plan our attack

00:20:31   because, yeah, that was it.

00:20:34   That was the world back then.

00:20:35   It's kinda hard to believe now,

00:20:37   but that is definitely how the world was in 1998.

00:20:41   - Yeah, I mean, looking at Apple's press releases

00:20:43   for the spring of 1998, it's stuff like QuickTime and Java,

00:20:47   and there's one about unveiling a new commercial.

00:20:51   Like, it's really just kind of--

00:20:53   - I bet you it was a QuickTime or Java thing

00:20:57   that we went to, like something where it's like,

00:20:58   hey, we've got, 'cause, okay,

00:21:00   I know this is a little off topic,

00:21:02   but since we're deep in the history of Apple, I will say,

00:21:06   in the '90s, the biggest offenses that Apple did

00:21:09   in terms of spending money on and wasting people's time

00:21:14   on stuff that they were doing that wasn't that interesting,

00:21:18   QuickTime takes the cake.

00:21:19   QuickTime, the people who were in charge of QuickTime

00:21:23   and in charge of marketing QuickTime,

00:21:24   and this is before Jobs was back there,

00:21:26   but I think it kept going for a little while

00:21:28   after he got back.

00:21:29   They were so in love with themselves,

00:21:31   and they would do like,

00:21:32   they had like the QuickTime Live Conference,

00:21:34   and they'd talk about how,

00:21:35   where it was all about like how great QuickTime was,

00:21:37   and they had, they had a,

00:21:39   I wrote about this for the Apple 40th.

00:21:42   Macworld did a slideshow of like 40 things

00:21:44   we remember about Apple,

00:21:45   and one of mine was how much money old Apple used to waste.

00:21:50   We went to this, it was like a hotel on the peninsula,

00:21:53   and it was like a party slash event.

00:21:56   And I think I could, I could swear to you,

00:21:58   I think it was about QuickTime

00:22:00   and just like all the cool stuff

00:22:01   they were doing with QuickTime,

00:22:02   like QuickTime VR and QuickTime 3D and CD-ROMs

00:22:06   that you could click on and they use QuickTime.

00:22:08   And so I would bet you that that early 1998 event

00:22:12   that made us all roll our eyes

00:22:14   was something about QuickTime.

00:22:16   That it was like, oh, we've got this new thing

00:22:18   and isn't it great that people are gonna be able

00:22:20   to do more cool things that are impractical

00:22:23   and that will largely not be actually done with QuickTime.

00:22:27   It was very much like we see the future

00:22:29   and the future is QuickTime.

00:22:31   I guess we're brilliant scientists

00:22:32   who've invented QuickTime.

00:22:33   There was just so much of it back then.

00:22:36   I can't even properly describe just,

00:22:38   that was the biggest eye roll for me

00:22:41   of that period of Apple was that they were just so,

00:22:44   there was a strain in Apple at that time

00:22:46   that was so enamored of their genius

00:22:48   with the future of computers and media and how they were making it all happen.

00:22:52   And, you know, literally nobody else was using QuickTime.

00:22:55   So, yeah.

00:22:59   So that would be my guess, is that that press release about something related to QuickTime

00:23:02   is probably related to whatever event it was where the boy cried wolf.

00:23:08   Yeah, I just found a 20-page white paper that, you know, there's actually a whole QuickTime

00:23:14   PR page in the Wayback Machine.

00:23:16   is really, really painful. But I think all that's important to say, like the world the

00:23:22   iMac entered, right? That even you guys, like it was your job to cover Apple and even y'all


00:23:30   We didn't bother going.

00:23:31   Couldn't be bothered. Like, oh great, they're doing another event. Like, Myke's right,

00:23:35   that is so crazy to think about now. But that's the world that Steve Jobs has stepped into

00:23:42   when he came back.

00:23:43   Yeah, yeah. And so instead, and this changed everything, right? You didn't miss an Apple

00:23:48   event after this. This was them delivering. This was them saying, "When we call an event,"

00:23:52   and right, and that was a lesson I think Apple had to learn too, is you can't call an event

00:23:57   for just anything. And to this day, we spend time, Myke and I do it every Monday, right?

00:24:02   We parse like what would be in that Apple event and was that enough in that Apple event

00:24:07   and would they, you know, what will be in the WWDC keynote in a few weeks and all of

00:24:11   that. But at the time, I think they learned their lesson because after this, every event

00:24:17   that they invited us to was basically relevant. They didn't cry wolf anymore. They realized

00:24:25   that they had trained us badly. They had trained us to ignore them because we couldn't trust

00:24:29   that what they were doing was newsworthy. And it all changed after this event. So yeah,

00:24:37   So we should talk about these bulbous blue beasts that they unleashed on the world. They

00:24:44   didn't unleash them in April, they announced them in April.

00:24:47   Yeah, it shipped in early August. Yeah, see, so that's another thing that people

00:24:52   miss is that it was mid-August before they shipped, even though they were announced in

00:24:58   April. So imagine four months where everybody's really excited about this new thing that Apple's

00:25:03   finally doing and we'll talk about what happened in those intervening four months,

00:25:09   but it was a weird time.

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00:27:19   After they talked about Pentiums and megahertz and things like that, they finally got into

00:27:26   why they were all there, why Steve Jobs invited everyone there. Steve wearing a white shirt

00:27:33   and a suit jacket, by the way, not his soon-to-be traditional turtleneck and jeans.

00:27:42   Yeah, it's always funny to see what I like to call "Formal Steve" on stage at these early

00:27:47   But he really starts and what's maybe the most fascinating thing to me about watching this this keynote

00:27:53   Is that all the elements of later keynotes are here right that he starts with sort of yeah defining a problem

00:28:00   And the problem is that there's not a great way to get a Macintosh on the internet. Like there's not a Mac built

00:28:05   for internet use and

00:28:08   and then he talks a little bit about kind of what the product means and what it will how it will change the world and

00:28:15   And then he pulls, quite literally in this case, pulls the sheet off of it and shows

00:28:19   it to everybody.

00:28:21   There's a big unveil.

00:28:23   I was also shocked by and fascinated by it.

00:28:27   If you're an aficionado of Apple events, you really should watch this because you can see

00:28:32   that it's a proto event.

00:28:34   It would evolve into something else.

00:28:36   But also it is so bizarre to see the terrible fonts and the terrible charts that are on

00:28:43   the screen.

00:28:44   - It's like clearing throat stumbling Steve.

00:28:47   - Yeah, it's not all there.

00:28:49   - It's like clearing his throat constantly,

00:28:50   like he stumbles his words in a few places,

00:28:54   which just shows like he has, I think at this point,

00:28:58   a real understanding of what makes a good event,

00:29:00   but what he hasn't nailed down at this point

00:29:03   is how much he needs to practice that.

00:29:05   - Right, nor has he exerted enough art direction

00:29:09   over the slides and stuff.

00:29:10   - Yeah.

00:29:11   - Like the slides feel like, you know,

00:29:12   the marketing team slapped them together.

00:29:14   and he ignores them or uses them at will,

00:29:17   but it's not at the point yet where he's like going

00:29:18   to take complete control of the art direction

00:29:22   of those slides and say they need to be better.

00:29:24   Also, I think the slides are using like Garamond,

00:29:27   which was the Apple font at the time,

00:29:29   which they went away from,

00:29:30   but it's weird to see like these serifs on Apple slides.

00:29:35   - Yeah. - Like, no.

00:29:36   - Well, it's better than the chalkboard

00:29:38   they would use after this.

00:29:39   The slides got worse before they got better, I think.

00:29:41   That's true.

00:29:42   - That's true.

00:29:43   That's true.

00:29:44   So this is a time when the internet became relevant to people.

00:29:47   People were dialing in to AOL or other online services

00:29:51   or just directly into the internet.

00:29:53   And that became a thing that people wanted to do.

00:29:56   Like, why do you use a computer went from being,

00:29:58   well, maybe you'll keep your books or you'll type up reports

00:30:01   or you'll do things like that too.

00:30:02   I want to get on the internet.

00:30:03   I wanna use a web browser.

00:30:05   I wanna do email.

00:30:06   And that's how they conceived the iMac.

00:30:08   The i, which now lives on as the letter that was in the iPod

00:30:14   and then went to the iPhone and the iPad.

00:30:17   But initially it came from the iMac

00:30:18   and on the iMac it really meant internet.

00:30:21   Because the idea was this is a single device,

00:30:25   you pull it out of a box, the way the ad,

00:30:27   which I would say is maybe the best Apple product ad

00:30:30   it had done in years, if not a decade,

00:30:35   is famously the there's no step three from Jeff Goldblum.

00:30:39   The idea here is you take the iMac out of the box

00:30:42   and you plug it in and you plug in the phone line into the modem port and you're online.

00:30:48   That's it.

00:30:49   That's all you have to do.

00:30:51   Presenting three easy steps to the internet.

00:30:55   Step one, plug in.

00:31:00   Step two, get connected.

00:31:04   Step three, there's no step three.

00:31:09   no step three and that was the idea they used and they had to build around a huge

00:31:17   CRT and so they did and so it's all but bulbous and everything and they used it

00:31:23   to their advantage by putting it in you know covering it in translucent plastic

00:31:27   at a time when as Steve Jobs hilariously says in this video and these things are

00:31:32   U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U

00:32:02   did right I mean you could tell that that's actually what it stood for and

00:32:05   they said that's what it stood for but that slide was a super weird hedge of

00:32:08   like it means whatever thing starts with I but you like yeah exactly and you know

00:32:14   and like I said that I in today's world just means Apple product right like it

00:32:20   it's that that of course that meaning is gone he opens it up and he says look you

00:32:24   know the best consumer PC out there and he has a picture of a compact or

00:32:28   something that looks like junk. It could just as well be the Power Mac G3, which

00:32:33   is also just not cheap but just as ugly and looks awful. Right, a beige tower, beige CRT

00:32:40   wires everywhere. And he says, "Look, we're gonna beat this thing in speed, display

00:32:44   size, networking, I/O, and design." And that's very, very similar to how he

00:32:50   introduced the iPhone years later of like, "Hey, look, these phones have like crazy

00:32:54   crappy hardware buttons everywhere and the software is not very good and

00:32:57   and they're slow and we're gonna blow them all out of the water. Like,

00:33:01   that parallel jumped out at me big time in watching this video.

00:33:04   Yeah, and I mean, the simplicity of the product is its greatest advantage. If you

00:33:09   think about PCs at that time,

00:33:11   you know, like his picture of them, it is a beige,

00:33:14   it is a beige box, it's probably a mini tower.

00:33:17   So it's a tall, ugly beige box sitting on or under your desk.

00:33:21   There's a big beige monitor, it's a CRT monitor, so it's gonna be huge and it's

00:33:26   in your face and it's beige.

00:33:27   And then there's wires everywhere, right?

00:33:30   You've got cables going to the keyboard and the mouse.

00:33:34   You've got cables going from the monitor to the computer.

00:33:36   You've got cables coming from the computer to the modem.

00:33:39   You've got cables going from the modem to the phone box.

00:33:43   It's messy, it's messy.

00:33:47   And you gotta set it all up.

00:33:48   I remember we had a, for my wife's job,

00:33:52   she had a Pentium, like a P100 PC at one point.

00:33:55   and we set it up and it was, I don't even know

00:33:58   if it's a Dell or a Gateway or whatever,

00:34:00   but it was, they had like all these color-coded wires,

00:34:04   all the cables were color-coded

00:34:05   'cause they were trying really hard

00:34:07   to make it easy to figure out what to plug in where.

00:34:10   So I appreciate that they made the effort.

00:34:12   But when you look at the iMac, it's just like, there it is.

00:34:15   And it's so clean and clear.

00:34:17   And the number of wires is dramatically reduced

00:34:20   because it's all in one.

00:34:21   Which I guess we should mention the molar

00:34:25   'cause people don't know about the Molar,

00:34:27   which is one of my favorite weird Macs of all time.

00:34:30   The Power Mac G3 all-in-one was sold only really

00:34:34   to education.

00:34:36   It looks like a, well, it kind of looks like a giant monitor

00:34:39   but we call it the Molar

00:34:40   'cause it also looks kind of like a big tooth

00:34:42   and it's got like a translucent bit of plastic on it

00:34:45   and it totally was a Johnny Ive thing.

00:34:47   He was experimenting with this before they got to the iMac.

00:34:49   And it's almost like a proto iMac

00:34:51   where it is an all-in-one computer.

00:34:54   And the idea there is you plug it in and you got a computer.

00:34:57   And for schools, what they were saying is you put this

00:34:59   on a cart or you put this in a classroom,

00:35:00   you don't have like the monitor and the PC

00:35:04   and the peripherals all kind of mixed up

00:35:06   and getting tangled.

00:35:06   You just have this, it's a computer all in one.

00:35:09   Like the original Mac, right?

00:35:10   The inspiration was clearly the original Mac.

00:35:13   It is a monitor and a computer all together

00:35:15   and it goes with you and it is self-contained.

00:35:18   And so they went from something like the Molar,

00:35:21   which was like the Proto iMac, the iMac Zero,

00:35:23   to this iMac and it had all those same characteristics

00:35:27   of not having all the wires and stuff,

00:35:30   which let them do that Jeff Goldblum ad.

00:35:33   And I guess we should dive into what else is in this thing

00:35:36   'cause it was not just that it looked good,

00:35:39   it has that transparent aqua,

00:35:42   it was blue with a tint of green plastic,

00:35:45   which everybody aped, everybody put panels,

00:35:50   translucent plastic colored panels

00:35:52   on their products after this. But in terms of, even if it looked like a regular PC, in

00:35:56   terms of specs it was unlike any Mac that was ever made.

00:36:00   It was such a big break, right? I mean, like you said, the G3 had been around, but this

00:36:07   is the machine where Apple basically wiped, or got hit the reset button on all of their

00:36:11   I/O, so... Yeah. It's called the I/O since the Mac, really since the Mac SE. Like, the

00:36:16   Mac SE brought on ADB and regular Mac serial, I think, or maybe that was the Plus had Mac

00:36:25   serial. I don't know if the Plus had ADB yet or not. So forgive me. I—turns out, I'm

00:36:33   unclear on the differences in the exact ports of the 128.512 Plus and SE, because there's

00:36:39   an error in an issue of Macworld from this period that is my fault that nobody has mentioned

00:36:44   to me until Steven noticed it last week. No way! Yeah, it's true. I made reference to

00:36:52   some like, you know, and it's not even, I don't think it's even my byline, but I know

00:36:56   that it's me who did that. And it's something like, you know, the iMac gets rid of all these

00:37:00   ports that, you know, you've loved since the, you know, Mac 128. And it's not accurate because

00:37:07   those ports weren't in the Mac. The 128 and the 512 didn't have ADB on them. I don't think

00:37:12   had Mac serial, they had a different kind of serial port on them. But by the time the

00:37:17   SE came out, which is the first Mac that I had, those were there, and they stayed there

00:37:21   from that period, which, you know, for me, I got my Mac SE in like 1990, early 1990.

00:37:28   You know, they had been on every Mac from that point forward, certainly. So, maybe not

00:37:33   quite a decade, but for years, you know, every single peripheral that was sold was ADB for

00:37:40   keyboards, serial for modems and things and printers and things like that those

00:37:45   were how you connected peripherals to your Mac and they got rid of all of them

00:37:50   at once they got rid of the floppy drive at once this thing had no writable

00:37:55   storage it had a CD-ROM drive and it had USB which was at the time esoteric

00:38:00   nobody made USB devices it wasn't on PCs really either. It really struck me that

00:38:06   that Steve kept calling it Universal Serial Bus.

00:38:09   - Yeah.

00:38:11   - Like he didn't call it USB.

00:38:13   It was interesting to me to hear that.

00:38:14   It was like, oh, this must be,

00:38:16   'cause again, I didn't have the context,

00:38:18   this must be really early on in this

00:38:19   because he keeps referring to it.

00:38:23   He never uses an acronym.

00:38:24   He just keeps calling it Universal Serial Bus.

00:38:26   - We are going to the new generation of I/O.

00:38:29   12 megabit Universal Serial Bus, two ports.

00:38:32   We're leaving the old Apple I/O behind.

00:38:35   - Yeah, it wasn't a thing that anybody knew really

00:38:38   or had used.

00:38:39   Oh, I didn't mention SCSI.

00:38:40   Steven mentioned SCSI.

00:38:41   SCSI, how you hook up hard drives, gone, gone.

00:38:44   - Gone. - Gone.

00:38:45   - Gone. - It's all gone.

00:38:46   It's amazing, but it had a modem built in, right?

00:38:50   So there's like just a phone jack on the side of this thing

00:38:52   and there's a little door that you could fold down

00:38:56   that had the ports inside

00:38:57   and it had a little hole in it, right?

00:38:58   Very Steve Jobs, Johnny I, right?

00:39:00   Little hole in it so you could like pass through the cables.

00:39:03   so you could close the door

00:39:05   and still have your cables come out.

00:39:07   Amazing.

00:39:09   So they had a modem and an ethernet port.

00:39:10   And in the video, in the event,

00:39:13   I think it's really funny that Steve Jobs has to justify

00:39:16   why he thinks having ethernet on the computer

00:39:18   might be a good idea.

00:39:19   - It's super awkward though.

00:39:20   - Yeah, it is weird.

00:39:22   But there was no wifi.

00:39:24   And he's like, "You know, more people are hooking up

00:39:27   ethernet networks at home,"

00:39:29   which I'm not sure if that's true or not.

00:39:31   - That felt weird.

00:39:31   I think that's still weird today, but.

00:39:33   But you know, Jobs was big into like the networked home folder thing and obviously they were

00:39:38   working on server-side stuff, so like I think maybe it was a bet against the future, but

00:39:43   also it made a big difference in education like computer labs and schools and stuff where

00:39:49   these things would be sold also.

00:39:50   So maybe it wasn't for like the home user, but for education and businesses it made tons

00:39:55   of sense.

00:39:56   And I think my understanding from people like James Thompson I think worked on stuff at

00:40:01   at this point, is that one of the concepts they had was for a diskless iMac, that the

00:40:06   idea that you could actually buy these and put these in schools and they would have no

00:40:11   disk at all, and they would boot over the network. And that was part of the strategy,

00:40:15   and it sort of never really happened with this product, but that was a part of it. Also,

00:40:22   I mean, I think Steve Jobs felt like networking was always a good idea, and that you never

00:40:27   really knew what you were going to do with it, but that it was good to have it on board,

00:40:30   that goes back to the original Mac, right? I mean, the original Mac had network capability

00:40:35   at a time when that was like, why would you even bother with that? But, you know, from

00:40:40   the original Mac on, networkability was in the box. It was part of the thing and people

00:40:45   used it. And over time, some people didn't use it, but a lot of people did use it. And

00:40:50   I think maybe philosophically that became part of Jobs's thing is like, well, why not

00:40:54   do that? That makes this device more, yes, it's a little more expensive this way, but

00:40:59   makes it much more flexible than--and also let's not forget this is a device that they

00:41:05   want people to be able to use it out of the box and you can't open it up, right? You can't

00:41:09   open it up and put an expansion card in it. So if it's going to go into offices and schools,

00:41:15   maybe we should just put Ethernet in it. So they did.

00:41:17   Yeah, it's such a big break from where they were, but it's also like a return to form,

00:41:22   like you said, with the original Mac where you couldn't open the box. It was like what

00:41:25   you bought is what you had and that's it that's it and you know from such a

00:41:32   change of pace from even that molar Mac you could slide like cards in they were

00:41:37   called profile cards so you could do like audio stuff or video stuff and like

00:41:41   take the back off and put this big thing in and put the back back on and suddenly

00:41:44   you had new capability where the iMac really the the vision was to offload all

00:41:50   of that on the USB devices you said that stuff just didn't exist when they

00:41:55   announced it. Yeah, that's something, I mean, we definitely need to talk about the universal

00:41:59   serial bus. Thank you, Myke. Yes, it's the new, it's the universal serial bus, which

00:42:03   replaced ADB and serial and SCSI, right? So all of those things that we used to connect

00:42:10   devices to the Mac in different ways were replaced by USB. That was it. We had never

00:42:17   seen it before. And so that was what this had. And the funny thing is that the devices

00:42:24   didn't exist. So fortunately we did have those four months or whatever where Apple announced

00:42:28   this where basically Apple saying, "People are going to want this computer. You should

00:42:32   build USB devices for it." And everybody like was scrambling. There were a lot of companies

00:42:36   that were working on USB peripherals for the PC market because it was starting to happen,

00:42:41   but this was the impetus for people to use USB. Like USB as a standard really owed its

00:42:48   existence to, maybe it would have happened anyway, but the iMac made it happen. The iMac

00:42:53   made USB a thing. This reminds me a lot of like Thunderbolt and the Mac Pro, like, "We've

00:43:00   got this thing and it's awesome!" No peripherals. Right, and this was, so some of them were

00:43:09   out there or were being worked on and so we ended up in the months following this some

00:43:14   hilarious things where we would get, we were trying to do a feature about USB stuff. We

00:43:17   literally in the next issue of Macworld had a table of like, here are products that people

00:43:22   say they're going to make that are USB and it's not that big a list. I remember it as

00:43:27   this huge table, it's like 25 products. Like literally, here's every USB product that anybody

00:43:32   has announced. And we had a couple of them, like two, three of them that we got in non-working

00:43:39   - we didn't have any USB devices to plug it into anyway, iMac hadn't shipped yet - non-working

00:43:44   samples and they were generally like, like iOmega sent us a zip drive where instead of

00:43:50   it being the the opaque blue enclosure it was translucent blue plastic enclosure

00:44:00   around the zip drive and they said see it's for the iMac that's how you know it

00:44:07   looks just like yeah it's there's plus and there was like a printer that a USB

00:44:11   printer was announced because that was a big thing is like how are they going to

00:44:14   print it's like well there will be USB printers and it was like literally just

00:44:18   a regular printer it was gonna have USB on it and what they did was they the

00:44:22   the little lid that you would lift to do the ink and stuff they replaced that

00:44:27   with a with a translucent blue plastic panel so now it's for the iMac and I

00:44:34   think they called it it was instead of the 880 it was the 880 I because it had

00:44:40   that little plastic thing or inspire it could be it could be ordinance or

00:44:46   instruct? Who knows? Who knows? So, USB was strange and weird and we didn't really understand

00:44:52   it. And in that Macworld issue, there are some hilarious diagrams because hot-plugging

00:44:57   wasn't a thing. Like with SCSI, if you wanted to plug in a hard drive, you were supposed

00:45:03   to turn off your computer, plug in the hard drive, and then turn on your computer. And

00:45:06   then if you needed to unplug it, you needed to turn off your computer, and then unplug

00:45:10   it, and then turn on your computer. And with USB, it was like, "Eh, just, uh..." We had

00:45:14   have a little diagram of like, you could have a hub, and then you can plug things into the

00:45:17   hub, that works. All the stuff we take for granted now, but at the time it was like mind-blowing

00:45:22   kind of things, because you were never supposed to hot-plug, unplug anything, not a keyboard,

00:45:26   not a mouse, certainly not a hard drive. And that you could chain things on the hub, which

00:45:32   was a much different approach than SCSI, where they kind of like all had to chain one after

00:45:35   another of this, you could plug in a thing and then plug five things into it. It was

00:45:41   big deal. The downside was you lost or you needed an adapter for ADB keyboards

00:45:50   and mice, for serial, for like modems and things like that, or whatever else you

00:45:55   would use with serial. All your floppies are now useless because there was no

00:46:00   floppy drive on this thing, only a CD-ROM drive, and that freaked people out.

00:46:04   That's famously a panic, but it was true. People were like really blown

00:46:07   away that there was no floppy on it. It's true. Any other questions children? Oh you

00:46:12   want to know about infrared? Yeah so so the front of this thing on the so you

00:46:17   had the stereo speakers and on the left one was a little cutout with a with an IR

00:46:22   window. Yes. And I could only think of two things that you would use this for. One, a

00:46:28   bunch of the Newton's had a little IR window at the top so you could like beam

00:46:31   information to your computer. Yeah. I mean never mind that your keyboard was in the

00:46:34   move your keyboard, put the Newton down, do it. And then I seem to remember, but

00:46:39   maybe this is just a hallucination from moving iMacs all day, that some cameras

00:46:45   had this as well so you could transfer your photos, but did that, I mean,

00:46:49   I know for a fact because I have them all here, this didn't last very long.

00:46:52   What was the deal? This was like the Bluetooth of the day, was how do you do

00:46:57   simple peer-to-peer data transfer. So in the presentation, Jobs chalks it up to

00:47:06   like transferring your photos, although I never ever did that. I don't remember

00:47:10   that happening once. People who had like palm organizers and stuff like that, you

00:47:16   could like beam your business card to somebody else who had a palm by holding

00:47:19   down a button. And what palm did is palm actually wrote software that let you use

00:47:27   the IR port on the iMac to sync with the iMac. It was slow because you are literally blinking a light

00:47:38   to do data transfer. It is light blinking data transfer. But it was, yeah, I mean, it was really

00:47:46   not that reliable and it was super slow and I don't think people really ever used it. I'm

00:47:52   surprised that it got in there at all. I suspect this is the flip side of Steve Jobs being open to

00:47:56   to let's put that in there who knows what people will do with it and in

00:48:00   hindsight what happened is this is not a thing people did anything with and they

00:48:03   took it off but but that's my memory is that the IRDA port was the I think you

00:48:10   could sync like your palm update update the palm contact information from the

00:48:15   iMac it lasted exactly one revision yeah so not not a not a winner compared to

00:48:23   something like USB.

00:48:24   I mean so much of this computer is so forward thinking.

00:48:27   - It's true.

00:48:28   - And it's one of those things too,

00:48:29   like it's really hard to separate,

00:48:31   so there's like two parallel thoughts

00:48:33   in my brain about this.

00:48:35   One is that Apple through Steve Jobs

00:48:38   saw a vision for the future of consumer computing.

00:48:41   And they built the iMac and the future

00:48:43   was going to be that, right?

00:48:44   They met the future.

00:48:46   But there's also this thought that

00:48:48   it's also kind of the future that Steve Jobs

00:48:50   wanted to see happen, and so they forced it.

00:48:53   So like, you know, if Steve Jobs says

00:48:56   you don't get a floppy drive,

00:48:57   or in 2008 with the MacBook Air,

00:48:58   he says you don't get CD drives anymore.

00:49:00   Then floppy disk and CDs kind of die, right?

00:49:05   - Yeah, there was a huge market momentarily

00:49:08   for USB floppy drives.

00:49:11   Like, oh God, we need a floppy drive, USB floppy drives.

00:49:14   And very quickly it went away.

00:49:16   But yeah, that was that moment of like,

00:49:19   can I just be unburdened and make a product?

00:49:21   this is still in Apple's DNA to this day, it's like let us be unburdened by the

00:49:25   past and make a product that we think is the best product for the future even if

00:49:29   the future is not here yet because it'll be here soon and we will have been ahead

00:49:32   of the curve. I mean look at the MacBook but something I guess my question in that

00:49:37   is like where did this seem to fall between those two things like I mean was

00:49:43   it a big pain or did people kind of very quickly get over it and Phobbe just went

00:49:47   way overnight. I'd say, well, I mean, so I'd say it's kind of like now or like with a MacBook

00:49:54   or something like that, where there are people whose worldview is like, "This is something

00:49:59   you have to have in a computer." And then there are people who were thinking about things

00:50:06   a little bit more deeply and would say, "Do you really need that in a computer?" Who's

00:50:10   using that? Is that something that most people are using or almost nobody? Quite honestly,

00:50:15   One of the reasons that I think people were skeptical about the floppy is that the floppy

00:50:18   was much more necessary on the PC.

00:50:22   This was the era where still PCs needed to have floppies, because sometimes you would

00:50:27   need to boot off of the floppy.

00:50:31   And so how could you not have--I believe at this point you literally could not have a

00:50:35   PC without a floppy, because the floppy drive had to be there.

00:50:40   That was your emergency boot solution, was the floppy drive.

00:50:45   And so some people just couldn't get over that.

00:50:48   It's like, well, how could you have a computer

00:50:49   that doesn't have a floppy drive?

00:50:50   But this is the zip drive era.

00:50:52   People are already buying external storage

00:50:55   with way more than the one megabyte

00:50:57   that you could fit on an HD floppy

00:51:00   because that wasn't enough space.

00:51:03   Like System 7 came on what, 10 floppies or something?

00:51:07   - Yeah, it's a whole like little booklet of them.

00:51:09   - Yeah, a little envelope full of floppy disks

00:51:12   and you had to put them in one at a time

00:51:13   to install it on your hard drive

00:51:14   'cause it was just, so that technology had already

00:51:18   outlived its usefulness.

00:51:19   I'd say the trick of this timing is that CDR

00:51:23   wasn't ready yet.

00:51:25   And so there was no writable storage on this device at all,

00:51:29   like for portability reasons.

00:51:31   And that bothered people

00:51:32   'cause there was still a lot of sneaker net.

00:51:34   There was still a lot of taking things to your friends.

00:51:36   And how could you do that on your iMac now?

00:51:38   Like how do you get data somewhere else?

00:51:41   And people didn't know.

00:51:43   And there weren't just USB keys back then, right?

00:51:47   It's like maybe you get a USB hard drive

00:51:49   and you copy it to the hard drive.

00:51:50   So I think that was painful,

00:51:52   that this landed before you could even burn a CD-ROM

00:51:57   to give to people.

00:51:58   So how do you get data out of this thing

00:52:00   other than by emailing it to somebody

00:52:04   from your AOL account, I guess?

00:52:07   So I'd say that was the reaction to that.

00:52:09   And the same, ADB,

00:52:10   I mean, USB was very clearly superior to ADB

00:52:12   and serial, but you definitely had everybody complaining.

00:52:16   Like people are worried about their headphones

00:52:18   with their headphone jack, right?

00:52:20   They were like, man, I'm gonna buy adapters

00:52:22   and it's gonna be, you know, I'm gonna have to do that.

00:52:24   And I wager that, you know, they made so many ADB

00:52:28   and serial adapters for USB back then

00:52:30   that, you know, you can still get.

00:52:33   They probably were all made in 1998.

00:52:36   And if you use like, you hear about people

00:52:40   who use the Apple extended keyboards to this day,

00:52:42   like John Gruber, right?

00:52:43   They're all using an ADB to USB adapter to do that.

00:52:48   - You can still get them on Amazon.

00:52:50   - Sure, they're out there.

00:52:51   And serial, I used a Mac serial to USB adapter for years

00:52:56   with my weather station,

00:52:57   'cause it had a serial port on it,

00:53:00   and then it had a little Mac adapter for it,

00:53:02   and it was just a Mac serial.

00:53:04   What the heck is this?

00:53:06   That was 2000, I got that in 2004,

00:53:08   and they still were just like,

00:53:08   "Here's a Mac serial adapter."

00:53:10   I'm like, "Okay."

00:53:11   And there's a, yeah, there's a key span USB serial adapter

00:53:14   that I put in and that gave me the access that I needed.

00:53:17   So yeah, I think it was, in hindsight,

00:53:21   it was largely a great move.

00:53:22   The infrared didn't carry off, but the rest of it,

00:53:24   they were correctly envisioning what the future

00:53:26   was gonna be like and what the needs were.

00:53:28   And the biggest hit they took

00:53:30   was not having writable storage on it,

00:53:32   other than like removable writable storage.

00:53:34   You couldn't get data out of it in any good way to a disk.

00:53:41   - Yeah, it really is just fascinating.

00:53:43   We obviously have the benefit of time now,

00:53:47   but I like to play this game even now,

00:53:49   where you can get the MacBook of like,

00:53:51   is USB-C the thing?

00:53:52   Like, is that where we're going?

00:53:54   And sometimes Apple gets it right,

00:53:56   sometimes they don't, or sometimes they're too early.

00:53:59   But it's always like this repeating cycle with the company.

00:54:02   And clearly the iMac is one of the biggest examples.

00:54:05   - Oh yeah, it's like the root example.

00:54:08   - So with a lot of Apple products,

00:54:10   this thing came with a new keyboard and mouse.

00:54:14   And of course they were using the new fangled USB.

00:54:18   And they even have a little side of like,

00:54:21   you can plug the mouse on either side.

00:54:23   So if you're left-handed,

00:54:24   you can use the mouse on the left side

00:54:25   'cause the ports were on the right side of the computer.

00:54:27   - Yeah, I mean, the ADB did that too.

00:54:30   I mean, the ADB keyboards for Apple

00:54:31   had the left and the right too, but still.

00:54:33   - Look at this mouse.

00:54:34   It's the most wonderful mouse you've ever used.

00:54:38   - Yeah, so this mouse, I mean,

00:54:40   we'll put a picture in the show notes,

00:54:42   it is perfectly round and it's very,

00:54:45   I mean I've got a whole stack of them.

00:54:47   It is very difficult to use it

00:54:49   because it's easy to get it like turned

00:54:51   and suddenly going up or down isn't quite up or down,

00:54:54   it's diagonal and for me at least,

00:54:57   and I just have like I guess like normal sized human hands,

00:55:00   it's pretty small and so it's uncomfortable for me at least

00:55:03   to use for long periods of time and they,

00:55:06   what kills me about this is they stayed with it

00:55:09   And as they moved on, they did like the five flavors.

00:55:12   They introduced this mouse in a bunch of different colors,

00:55:14   but they didn't change anything.

00:55:15   It was just like, oh, now it's an orange.

00:55:18   Eventually they moved away from it,

00:55:19   but it's definitely a mess in the design department.

00:55:24   - Did people hate it?

00:55:25   I mean, I think it's good looking,

00:55:27   but when you say from the design,

00:55:28   it was like, economically, and just to use it,

00:55:31   people didn't like it.

00:55:33   But was that the feeling at the time?

00:55:36   - Yeah, I think when people started using it,

00:55:37   was a feeling of like, "Oh, I don't know about this thing," but you want to give it a chance.

00:55:43   I think when people were looking at it, they were just like, "Well, that's really cool. It's all

00:55:46   like translucent-y plastic, and isn't that awesome? And it's USB, and it's very different

00:55:51   from the old mouse." And always people will be skeptical because they like their new thing,

00:55:56   and that's why they rushed out to buy an ADB adapter. But once it came out, it became clear

00:56:03   very quickly I would say that you couldn't orient it properly. Right? You pick it up,

00:56:09   it's turned a little bit but you haven't noticed and you just reach your hand down and you start

00:56:13   to push it upward to move your cursor upward and your cursor goes left. You're like, "Oh,

00:56:18   damn it mouse!" And then you gotta like reorient it to get it back to upright because you can't.

00:56:22   And that was the killer. It's like it's not comfortable in your hand. My favorite accessory

00:56:26   at the time was there was a plastic shell that you basically snapped onto it that made it shape

00:56:31   like essentially like the old Apple mouse where it made it oval and it was

00:56:35   like literally it just made it so that you could tell you it was bigger to grip

00:56:39   and you could tell whether you were using it up and down or not the fact that

00:56:44   that exists is just really sad for the people who designed this mouse yeah yeah

00:56:49   it looked great I mean it looked great but but it was a mistake and obviously

00:56:53   they did correct the hockey puck mouse eventually with the with the the one

00:56:57   that they, I think in 2000 maybe it was, that they did at Macworld Expo that was

00:57:02   the new, yeah the one with the that was a like a big dome and it was it was

00:57:09   mouse-shaped, it was elongated and had the little like laser underneath and and

00:57:16   that was that was that design is still in use. I mean essentially Apple's mice

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00:59:08   - So I mean, how was the response to this?

00:59:11   So this thing goes on sale in the fall of '98.

00:59:15   Was it just mayhem to get your hands on one?

00:59:18   Or did it take time for people to catch on?

00:59:22   - No, I mean, there was a huge,

00:59:24   my recollection is there's a huge pent up demand.

00:59:26   People were really excited about it.

00:59:29   It came out in the fall.

00:59:30   I think the idea that you would buy these,

00:59:32   keeping in mind the internet at that time,

00:59:34   like the idea that you could buy a computer,

00:59:37   like I said earlier, and just do it to get on the internet,

00:59:39   get you do it to do email.

00:59:41   They were selling to people who finally had a reason

00:59:44   buy a computer or had bought a computer in the past but have been frustrated by it, and

00:59:49   the idea was, "This is like an internet appliance. Use it to get onto the internet." And that

00:59:53   was a powerful message because then it doesn't matter about compatibility. Like, it'll do

00:59:57   email and it'll do a web browser, and that's all you really need. So you can buy a Mac,

01:00:05   you don't have to worry about it not running Windows. And so that was successful, the fact

01:00:10   that they had product-focused ads beginning with the original one with a,

01:00:14   you know, there's no step three, but in for the later editions they also did ads

01:00:19   that were, you're like, "I see now this is like Apple," like the the multicolored

01:00:23   iMac ads feel very Apple and point the way to the iPod. So I think, yeah, I

01:00:29   think it was very successful with a broad number of people. I will say that

01:00:32   that people, you know, power users were really not a fan of it because they were Power Mac

01:00:41   users and this was a toy. It was not as powerful as their Power Macs. It didn't have the ports.

01:00:46   And so I think in the install base, there was an enthusiasm for it because it got people

01:00:52   excited about it. But in the like grizzled veterans who were power users, they were not

01:00:57   impressed by the iMac because and it took years I think for Apple to drive

01:01:03   pro model users down to the iMac to the point now where very few even like

01:01:11   high-end Apple users are actually using the Mac Pro but it took a while

01:01:17   because this was as many nice things as they say about it it was kind of

01:01:22   underpowered like it was not super fast it was okay it was not cut rate but it

01:01:26   was not super fast and it was super super incompatible so it took time it

01:01:33   took time for that also lots of adapters lots of USB floppy drives sold lots of

01:01:39   USB products rushed to the market some of which were super buggy they were

01:01:44   arriving oftentimes after the iMac I think there was a printer that arrived

01:01:48   about when the iMac did but a lot of times you get the iMac and then there

01:01:51   would be months where you were still waiting for your additional USB products because they

01:01:59   just weren't ready because it was an entirely new market and there was not a lot of USB

01:02:04   stuff for it. And then of course there was the mezzanine slot which I should mention

01:02:08   which was there was like a testing slot inside and people took it apart and discovered this

01:02:12   thing and they tried to make some products for it and it was like to add a port or to

01:02:17   add video out or all these things that people tried to do with it. And the

01:02:22   problem was, like, to crack the iMac case was not something anybody should try to

01:02:25   do. It was not good. So people tried, and Apple learned its lesson and did not

01:02:30   leave an open testing slot on future editions of the iMac. But I

01:02:36   remember we had, at Macworld, we had one where we had done some mezzanine hack to

01:02:40   it, where there was, like, a port that was, like, added on to the existing ports on

01:02:47   the iMac where we had added whatever thing turned that mezzanine slot into

01:02:51   something useful. It was super weird. So people were enthusiastic but

01:02:54   they were also, I think, frustrated longtime Mac users by just how

01:02:57   untouchable it was. People complain about that today but this

01:03:02   is like where it really started, where it's like, "No, don't open it, don't

01:03:06   change it, don't modify it, it is what it is, just use it, it's an appliance."

01:03:10   That appliance mentality is really what sums the whole thing up for me. Like we spoke

01:03:14   about early with the original Mac but this thing was designed something you

01:03:18   bought you sat on your desk and you didn't have to be some sort of like

01:03:23   really nerdy or like technical person you could just sit down and use it and I

01:03:28   think yeah that this computer for so many reasons like it doesn't nailed that

01:03:34   a hundred percent and it is what like without a doubt like I wrote this thing

01:03:39   years ago and called it the Mac that helped save Apple and like it absolutely

01:03:42   is because it returned them to that demographic of user.

01:03:47   - The computer for the rest of us, right?

01:03:50   14 years later, here's Steve Jobs again

01:03:53   with a computer for the rest of us.

01:03:54   And it's the same rationale.

01:03:56   - Yep, and it was one that really, I mean,

01:03:58   so many of these things are sold to education,

01:04:01   it really returned them to that world as well in a big way.

01:04:05   And this single computer would spin off,

01:04:10   depending on how you count them,

01:04:12   like three or four or five generations after it,

01:04:14   but this moment in 1998 is like one of the purest looks

01:04:19   at like Steve Jobs' vision, not only for Apple,

01:04:24   but for computing in general, that it's simple,

01:04:26   it's easy to use, and you don't have to like deal

01:04:30   with all these antiquated connectors with pins

01:04:34   and like terminators, like you could just plug something in

01:04:36   and use it and unplug it when you're done, just simple.

01:04:39   - Yeah, I mean, it was, and having new stuff like that,

01:04:43   right, I mean, often the cutting edge stuff

01:04:45   doesn't go on the computer that regular people buy,

01:04:48   but on the iMac it did.

01:04:49   Like this is for regular people, but it's got the USB,

01:04:52   it's a lot easier to use with USB, you don't have to,

01:04:55   these people don't care about legacy hardware, right?

01:04:58   These new Mac buyers, iMac buyers do not care about that.

01:05:01   They just wanna have a thing that lets them get

01:05:03   on the internet and they can just plug it in,

01:05:05   or a school or a business just wants to put it down

01:05:07   plug in an ethernet cable and they're on the internet and they can, you know, use this Mac.

01:05:14   And it's got all the Mac software and they can use the CD-ROMs and, you know, their software

01:05:17   story was still in flux at this point. But yeah, it is the Mac that saved Apple. This

01:05:23   is the thing that turned it around. And then the growth really kind of followed as they

01:05:28   cleaned up the rest of the product line and then they eventually went to the iPod and

01:05:32   the rest is history. But this was the start of it. This was the artistic statement in

01:05:35   addition to being strategic by Steve Jobs about what they were trying to do. It fits

01:05:40   in with the story of all the products that he made before and after, really. And from

01:05:46   here, the question—and you sent me a little clip from that Macworld article that I was

01:05:52   talking about earlier about what is missing, where could we go from here? And I feel like

01:05:58   the two things that were obvious were more colors and more, you know, writable storage,

01:06:05   I mentioned, the ability to like do CDR or something like that so you could get data

01:06:08   out of this thing in some way. And when we look at the history, I mean we've been talking

01:06:13   about the initial Bondi iMac, but as you look at the history, that's exactly what happened.

01:06:19   The next generation was the famous five flavors. You can go look at them right now in the room

01:06:24   that you're in, right? Blueberry, strawberry, lime, tangerine, and grape. Aw, how cute.

01:06:31   that and they did that took out the infrared took out the mezzanine slot

01:06:36   stop messing with our computers right and then and then later that year in 99

01:06:42   they did the iMac DV which is a big deal because that was the one where they got

01:06:47   they got slot loading that had CDR right some of them did some of them had CDR

01:06:57   right sure so that firewire some of them had CDR on the iMac DV and then and then there was

01:07:07   the graphite special edition which was like the fancy high-end iMac for $14.99 you got you got

01:07:13   more RAM and oh and it had video out I mean they added that was when they really kind of like turned

01:07:18   the turned the product over and they made the slot load because the first iMacs just had the little

01:07:22   slide out like you had to pull the drive out a little drive it was it was a

01:07:26   compromise I mean I think Steve Jobs didn't want the trail loading CD and I

01:07:31   think he wanted them to be CD-R and it just they couldn't make it work yeah I

01:07:35   get I had that feeling as well because they did it really as soon as they could

01:07:39   and you know so that they as they're adding all these things on and adding

01:07:46   firewire and a big push in this machine later in this life was iMovie right you

01:07:50   You have a Firewire digital camcorder,

01:07:53   and you can come in, you can edit your videos in iMovie,

01:07:55   which is-- - That's what the DV is.

01:07:57   The whole idea here is you sell people digital camcorders,

01:08:00   they edit their camcorder files on iMovie and output them,

01:08:04   and that's how you make movies in 1999.

01:08:08   I made a lot of iMovies in 2000 and 2001.

01:08:12   - But seeing all these things together,

01:08:14   the heart and soul of the machine is the same.

01:08:17   Even the way, one of the little details that I love

01:08:20   the later ones when they added the VGA out so you could you know you could if

01:08:25   you were like a teacher and you wanted to put it on a TV or projector it

01:08:28   mirrored it yeah but there was a little there were two covers for it and so if

01:08:32   you didn't want to see the port you could snap a cover on the back and not

01:08:34   see the port sticking out or if you wanted to use it put another cover on

01:08:38   and the port was exposed like even then adding that that expand you know simple

01:08:43   expansion Apple did it in a way that still kept the the product as a whole

01:08:49   like clean and neat and sort of unassuming and

01:08:52   You know if you didn't know what you were looking at

01:08:55   it's really kind of hard to tell besides the case colors like the evolution of these things because they

01:09:00   That that shape was a so well defined by the CRT

01:09:04   But they kept it so similar over the years where if you sat down to iMac from 1998 or 2000, you know, you felt

01:09:13   familiar with it. And I think a part of that, a big part of that, is how fast they turn

01:09:18   these things over. So in their heyday, they were revising these things every nine months.

01:09:24   And you would have new colors, new technology come in at the top of the line. And just like

01:09:27   the iPhones today, you know, the previous best case iMac would sort of drop down to

01:09:33   the middle slot and sometimes they would have a really cheap one.

01:09:36   If you look at 2000, which I remember clearly the Mac World Expo in 2000, I remember, you

01:09:40   this is when the G4 Cube came out. I think this is when when this is like a year

01:09:46   after maybe the iBook came out. So this product line they've got a generic iMac

01:09:50   at $799. That is your low price leader. It's old tech basically. No

01:09:56   airport card slot, no video out, no firewire, CD-ROM instead of DVD-ROM. But

01:10:04   you know that was the $799. Then at $999 you get something a little bit better.

01:10:07   That's the iMac DV.

01:10:10   And at $1299 you get the DV Plus.

01:10:12   And at $1499 you get the DV Special Edition.

01:10:16   And the colors are variants of each other.

01:10:20   This is when they've got new names.

01:10:23   This is the Indigo, Ruby, Sage, Graphite, and Snow iMacs that they did.

01:10:29   So the colors are a little bit different and they've got different names.

01:10:32   But they still have that product line spread.

01:10:34   Seems like the complication came back though, you know, like some of the complication that Steve tried to get rid of with this product

01:10:40   Seemed to come back

01:10:42   I don't know

01:10:43   I mean because it's sort of like now right where you know, you can get max in different different skews with different features

01:10:49   but essentially it's sort of like

01:10:51   You know good better best inside a single product line

01:10:55   There's some more

01:10:55   Complication but yeah more about like we have lower margins on this one and we can blow it out for

01:11:00   $7.99 and get it off the price list. I think what why it seems messy now is that you know

01:11:06   Apple has for a very long time done good better best

01:11:09   But they in this era they were naming those things right now if you go in and you want to buy a 13-inch MacBook Pro

01:11:15   Apple sells several default SKUs of that but they're all named

01:11:19   13-inch MacBook Pro

01:11:22   where in these days they

01:11:24   labeled each of those steps in between yeah and TV plus

01:11:29   Yeah, DV special DV se okay, that's that's why I think yeah, I'm like I'm hearing you list these and I'm like

01:11:36   This is horrible, but that makes sense, but they're really just yeah good better best kind of skews

01:11:42   Yeah, and sometimes it'd be like a real cheap one down at the bottom

01:11:45   But um, and I think they learned from that right they did this and the iMac and they did it in the iBook g3

01:11:50   but the time they got the g4 error all that was gone and it was just

01:11:53   iBook g4 and there were a couple different

01:11:56   default SKUs and you could custom build one in between. Did they not have the facility to custom build them?

01:12:01   Was that maybe why they offered more kind of SKUs on the shelf? Yeah, I think that's exactly it.

01:12:06   Steven, we need to talk about 2001 and what happened that year. Yeah.

01:12:10   But I want to start with an anecdote, which is we did a "Customize your Mac" feature early in 2001, late in 2000.

01:12:17   Customize your Mac. Idea was like, you know, utilities to change your menu bar and your backdrop and

01:12:25   sounds and whatever. It was just a little feature about ways you can personalize your Mac. And we thought, "What is the cover?"

01:12:31   Because that was gonna be the cover story. We're like, "What?

01:12:33   What is the cover?"

01:12:35   And

01:12:38   we decided to do something fun with the cover, which is actually hire a couple of models and do like

01:12:44   fanciful ideas of like

01:12:48   fancifully decorating an iMac. So we had one like with a cowboy

01:12:54   lassoing an iMac that had like cow spots on it.

01:12:59   - Wow.

01:13:01   - And I think we had a hippie with like a hippie iMac.

01:13:05   We did multiple covers.

01:13:06   So depending on where you are, you got different covers.

01:13:09   And this issue came out in late 2000, early 2001.

01:13:13   And we got this furious call from somebody at Apple

01:13:16   and we couldn't understand it.

01:13:17   They're like, how dare you deface our computers?

01:13:20   They made this argument like we didn't have the right

01:13:23   to change the appearance, it made no sense.

01:13:28   Like the appearance of their computers,

01:13:30   that that was their trademark and something like that.

01:13:32   And you know, they were, it's Apple.

01:13:33   So, you know, the CEO of the company

01:13:35   and the editor-in-chief, I think were concerned

01:13:37   about Apple being mad about this, but we were all baffled.

01:13:40   Like, why is it that you don't want us to do that?

01:13:44   Do you not like the photos?

01:13:45   Do you not like our silly kind of customized Mac designs?

01:13:48   They claimed that that was the reason.

01:13:50   And then what happened is they announced the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power IMAX.

01:13:57   So you beat them to it!

01:13:59   And we went "ohhh" because we beat them to it. Yeah.

01:14:03   Turns out we just stepped in it.

01:14:05   Wow.

01:14:07   So, and it's fine because those are really, really ugly computers.

01:14:11   Yeah, they're not great.

01:14:13   The flower power one is the weird one to me because like the flowers are all like weirdly oriented and they're like different sizes and stuff. Very strange.

01:14:23   And it's interesting note too that these aren't like vinyl wraps like they are embedded in the plastic.

01:14:31   In the plastic, yeah.

01:14:32   It's very strange and thankfully they only did two of them.

01:14:35   It surprises me you could find these ones as easily as you did, Steven.

01:14:39   Yeah.

01:14:40   - Yeah.

01:14:41   - It feels like you couldn't have sold

01:14:42   that many of these, surely.

01:14:44   - I tapped into some weird Macintosh gray markets.

01:14:47   There's also some other weirdness,

01:14:48   like the cases have Apple logo embedded in the top

01:14:52   above the CRT and then one right on the back.

01:14:55   And so the Ruby one, which I can see right now,

01:14:57   that Apple is red to match the rest of the case.

01:15:00   The blue dimension and flower power,

01:15:01   they use a baby blue and a white, but they don't match.

01:15:04   So the one on the top is white

01:15:06   and the one on the back is baby blue,

01:15:08   and then vice versa on the flower power.

01:15:10   like why did you change it?

01:15:13   Like why did you think that was an important thing to do?

01:15:16   But they're so strange and what really kind of

01:15:20   is most upsetting to me about it

01:15:22   is that the ones right before it looked so good,

01:15:24   like the Sage and the Indigo and the Ruby and the Graphite

01:15:28   like are very subdued.

01:15:29   Like you could see them like in an office, right?

01:15:32   Like if you walked into your attorney's office

01:15:33   and he had a Graphite iMac,

01:15:35   you wouldn't think twice about it.

01:15:36   But if you walked in and he had a flower power,

01:15:38   be like, okay. - What I like about that

01:15:41   addition, like the graphite, sage, ruby ones,

01:15:44   is that the plastic is clear.

01:15:46   - Yeah, so they, a big change when they went,

01:15:50   so when they went to the slot loading optical drives,

01:15:53   they, the case got just slightly bit smaller

01:15:57   and you would never know unless you had two of them

01:15:59   side by side, the case gets a little bit smaller.

01:16:02   - Do you know? (laughs)

01:16:04   - I do know. (laughs)

01:16:05   also got lighter they got substantially lighter like I think they dropped like six

01:16:09   pounds and the reason for that is the the early ones had some electronics that

01:16:14   were vertically oriented kind of next to the CRT and they had to shield those

01:16:19   with metal and so if you look at the side photos of those early ones you can

01:16:24   see through the plastic and all you see is like a big sheet of metal and they

01:16:27   were able to get rid of that over time and with the slot load it was it was

01:16:31   gone all together you could see right through it. So you could see the CRT

01:16:36   which I think is really like a beautiful way just to embrace the technology and

01:16:39   they decrease the opacity on the plastic so you could actually see through this

01:16:44   the graphite probably being the best example you can just see through the

01:16:47   thing. I think graphite is my favorite looking at your photos for sure. You

01:16:54   know this will make me unpopular but I didn't like it because all you can see

01:16:58   is the back of that CRT and I think it's better imagined than seeing. What's your

01:17:04   favorite, Jason? I don't have a favorite. I guess maybe snow because it

01:17:08   just obscures the CRT as much as possible. I would not have said this, I

01:17:12   would have said graphite until I unboxed my tangerine and something about that

01:17:16   bright orange just speaks to me. It is a very good-looking one and I know it's

01:17:20   like the one that you picked out was like for the video that you did like

01:17:23   it's the thumbnail animation and stuff like that yeah that is a beautiful

01:17:27   and the tangerine, the orange is great.

01:17:29   - And keep in mind that the colors that they decided

01:17:32   to import into the iBook were blueberry and tangerine.

01:17:36   - Yep.

01:17:37   - They decided that they were only gonna do two colors

01:17:38   of iBook and those were the colors that they chose.

01:17:41   So you could get it in blue or orange.

01:17:44   - Yeah, they eventually brought graphite

01:17:45   and then a variant of, so the lime iMac

01:17:49   and the key lime iBook are slightly different,

01:17:51   but they did bring them eventually, but--

01:17:54   - Eventually, but when they launched them,

01:17:55   they launched them with two colors

01:17:56   and it was Blueberry and Tangerine.

01:17:58   - So the thing for me is like,

01:18:01   these things have a lot of personality, right?

01:18:03   And I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing some of that come back.

01:18:07   I mean, now you look at a MacBook Pro

01:18:08   and you have no idea how old it is

01:18:10   'cause they all look the same,

01:18:11   and they've become very utilitarian in design.

01:18:16   And I'm not saying that I want a Blue Dalmatian Mac Mini,

01:18:21   but I do think there's room for like some whimsy

01:18:24   and some fun in the hardware

01:18:26   that we just don't see anymore.

01:18:28   - So the funny thing is when you,

01:18:30   when people talk about the unibody aluminium computers,

01:18:35   they talk about them as like a timeless design, right?

01:18:38   When they're introduced, you know,

01:18:39   like, oh, this timeless design.

01:18:40   I actually think this is more of that, right?

01:18:43   This personality, I think,

01:18:45   'cause making these really stand out,

01:18:47   I'd be like, I would love something like this right now.

01:18:50   I think that the unibody aluminium style

01:18:54   will become boring and old quicker than this will.

01:18:57   - Also there's something about personality

01:19:00   and making memories.

01:19:01   I mean, Myke, you stick your stickers on everything, right?

01:19:04   - Uh-huh.

01:19:04   - I remember, like, I never owned one of these

01:19:08   'cause I was one of those people,

01:19:10   one of those Power Mac people.

01:19:11   But like, I remember my blue and white G3.

01:19:14   I remember my graphite G4.

01:19:16   It had some personality that, you know,

01:19:18   those models got the plastic treatment

01:19:20   and the color treatment and all of that,

01:19:21   although only one color.

01:19:23   And I remember like my mom, when she, when they,

01:19:28   my parents sold my my childhood home and they moved into a motorhome and started

01:19:33   traveling the country, you know, she had a series of laptops over the,

01:19:36   over the years, but the first one she had was the Tangerine iBook.

01:19:39   And I remember that. I remember that that it's Tangerine.

01:19:42   I remember the personality of that laptop because, uh,

01:19:47   because of that. And I feel like Apple's designs are missing that.

01:19:50   And the shame of it is that they had it with the iPods,

01:19:54   with all the colors, and I feel like they're getting there.

01:19:59   They're bringing it back slowly with the MacBook

01:20:02   having the color options, the four color options.

01:20:06   I'm hoping the MacBook Pro will get that too,

01:20:09   but boy, I would really like it

01:20:11   if they would go to colors again and let people,

01:20:15   you know what, if somebody wants to get a blue MacBook,

01:20:18   let them get a blue MacBook.

01:20:19   It would look great.

01:20:20   - I want a blue iPhone though.

01:20:22   That's what I want.

01:20:23   - Yeah, that's true too.

01:20:24   And I know people can do cases and all that,

01:20:25   but the iPod taught us the anodized aluminum is beautiful.

01:20:30   It's just like, and Apple can do it.

01:20:32   Apple can do beautiful colored anodized aluminum shells

01:20:36   on these things.

01:20:36   So I would love to see more of that.

01:20:38   - I've been looking at white plastic and blue plastic

01:20:41   for the last nearly 10 years.

01:20:43   - Yeah.

01:20:43   - I would love to see a blue here or an orange here

01:20:47   or a green.

01:20:49   - Well, and silver and black,

01:20:52   black glass and silver aluminum forever, right?

01:20:56   For so long that a little more personality.

01:20:59   That's something that I think I too take that away

01:21:02   from this, Steven, is they, Apple,

01:21:06   when it was not a supply chain powerhouse,

01:21:10   Apple managed to sell IMAX in like six, seven,

01:21:14   eight different colors.

01:21:17   wouldn't it be nice if the Apple of today could do some of that because it's fun. It's

01:21:23   just fun to have computers with this personality and then you remember it, "Oh, that's my blue

01:21:27   iMac," right? Instead of like, "That's the latest in a series of silver laptops."

01:21:33   You mentioned me and the stickers, right? And it's a bit of a joke, but that's like

01:21:37   kind of what it is for me. These machines are my machines and I decorate them with stickers

01:21:43   of things that mean something to me or things that I enjoy.

01:21:48   And that's why I do it, because now these are like my iPads,

01:21:51   because they're decorated in my way.

01:21:54   And I think we're missing that now.

01:21:56   Everybody has the gray one.

01:21:58   - There's definitely something to that.

01:21:59   And the idea that the computer for everybody,

01:22:04   part of that was having something that you could connect

01:22:06   with on an emotional level.

01:22:07   And it's funny, in posting, I posted a bunch of images

01:22:10   of these things, and I had several emails and tweets

01:22:13   people saying, "Oh yeah, like I totally had a, you know, a Ruby one in high school that

01:22:17   my parents bought." And like, every single time I hear about anyone about the iMac they

01:22:22   use, the color 100% of the time is in their comment. Because it was just so important

01:22:29   to people. Yeah, well, it's important to Apple's history. They made products of personality

01:22:36   that were important to people's lives. They reached a lot of people who Apple had never

01:22:39   Apple had never made a product that was fit in their life in any way. It reached an education,

01:22:45   it reached into the home. Yeah, it was a hugely influential product. Probably since the original

01:22:52   Mac, the most influential Mac that was ever made was this one. It was just a huge thing

01:22:58   for Apple and the culture, and Apple's future was really saved by the existence of this

01:23:07   And yeah, when you think about it, you kind of want Apple to embrace its

01:23:13   whimsical, colorful side. I don't know whether Johnny Ive got really just sick

01:23:16   of colors after a while or what, but Macs have been monochrome for way too long.

01:23:22   And although the MacBook shades are a little bit better and people are, you

01:23:27   know, squealing over the fact that there's the rose gold MacBook now, which

01:23:32   is ever so vaguely pink, like, yeah, but you haven't seen a Ruby iMac. You

01:23:37   haven't seen a Tangerine Eye book. Those are serious statements.

01:23:42   It's trends, right? I mean, and that's why I think that we have these four colors of

01:23:47   aluminium right now. But, you know, fashion is cyclical and I think we're going to see

01:23:53   colors come back again, and I hope that they do.

01:23:56   Yeah, I think so. I think they're putting their foot in the water with those four variations

01:24:01   on the MacBook and that it will eventually be everywhere and then they'll give us something.

01:24:06   moving in that direction but it's interesting to look back and see where we've been and

01:24:10   see how Apple succeeded so wildly by giving people the choice of six colors of iMac.

01:24:18   Nice plug there. You should throw six colors in there.

01:24:21   Oh yeah, I'd look at that. I didn't even do that on purpose but yeah, totally. That was

01:24:26   it. Yep.

01:24:27   Apple Historian with iMac Speciality, Mr. Stephen Hackett, thank you so much for lending

01:24:33   your thoughts and images and everything for this special episode. You are continuing to

01:24:40   chronicle your time with the family of computers that you have amassed. Where can people go

01:24:47   to find all of this interesting content that you're creating?

01:24:53   I've got it all up over at 512pixels.net and you can search for that name on YouTube. I

01:25:00   got some videos up over there as well.

01:25:02   I think the YouTube stuff is the best stuff.

01:25:04   I mean, I prefer video anyway, but you can read about these things, but you've got to

01:25:09   see them.

01:25:10   And you have bunches of great photos as well, and we'll put those in the show notes.

01:25:14   It's really interesting to see.

01:25:15   It's a very peculiar project, but now that you're kind of in the part where you're doing

01:25:21   stuff with it rather than just finding it, I'm starting to see a real value in it, which

01:25:26   I didn't expect I would initially.

01:25:29   So it's really great.

01:25:31   mentioned Six Colors, go to sixcolors.com for Jason's stuff. You can find Jason on Twitter

01:25:36   @jsnell, J-S-N-E-L-L. Stephen is @ismh and he hosts Connected with me on Real AFM and

01:25:43   Jason and Stephen together host Liftoff. If you want to learn more about space. Are there

01:25:48   colored space rockets like this? Do they do this?

01:25:51   Oh, don't even know. There's not enough time. We'll, I'm sure we'll discuss that on a future

01:25:56   episode of Liftoff, but we can't. We can't. We're going to start talking about the space

01:26:00   Shuttles external tank and it's another rabbit hole for us to go down.

01:26:03   If you want to find the Shuttles for this week which you should go and check out go

01:26:06   to relay.fm/upgrade/91.

01:26:11   Thanks again to our sponsors for this week, the fine folk over at Mail Route and Fresh

01:26:16   Books and we'll be back next time.

01:26:19   Until then, say goodbye guys.

01:26:22   Happy Memorial Day!

01:26:23   Go to the bank and give them a pound!

01:26:25   Goodbye!

01:26:26   I'll deposit your money quickly.

01:26:28   (laughs)

01:26:30   Bye.

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