The iMac is getting on a bit. Old enough to vote in some areas (and almost old enough in others), it’s been a staple of our computing landscape for two decades now. From the original gumdrop in Bondi Blue with an infuriating hockey-puck mouse, to the modern, sleek powerhouse – it’s come a long way in that time.
The first iMac was a revolution – it ditched the floppy drive, which many industry pundits proclaimed would be the end of Apple. A computer without a floppy drive! Who has ever heard of such a thing? Why, we’ve had floppy drives in our computers since those 8-inch monsters graced workstations and minicomputers in the 70’s. How could anyone do without it?
To be fair, the original iMac had no writable removable media – the tray-loading optical drive wasn’t a burner, there was no floppy or Zip drive and USB flash drives were exotic and expensive. There was no wifi, only Ethernet and there was a rarely-utilised IR port on the front.
The most obvious faults of the iMac were rectified in short order. The optical drive evolved into a burner, USB flash drives grew in capacity and dropped in price, and ubiquitous networking and the Internet made sharing data easier than it ever was with SneakerNet.