Apple iMac

by Quasor

Think Different.

I’m a Windows/PC user. I write web applications for a living and the closest I’ve come to a Mac in the last 2 years is dropkicking a Tangerine iMac test machine. I’ve pretty much always dismissed Apple software as being a toy; their Operating System has sucked for the past 20 years. However recently, I’ve grown to respect their hardware engineering and design. Case in point the iPod, the best MP3 player yet.

The Sales Pitch

Steve Jobs is a magician. He’s pretty much responsible for saving Apple from financial ruin by introducing the iMac and OS X (ok, so maybe he’s also an egomaniac, but he did hire a whole ton of people to make this possible). During his keynote speeches at MacWorld in the last 5 years he’s unveiled some pretty cool stuff. I’ve enjoyed watching these broadcasts waiting for the end when Steve says “just one more thing” , and surprise here’s something we’ve all been waiting for. July 17th was no different. That’s when Steve revealed the number one wish of all flat-screen iMac users, a 17″ version, and not just 17 inches, but a wide-screen 17″ with a 16:10 aspect ratio. (1440×900 is native resolution). 256MB RAM, 80GB drive, DVD+R/CDRW, GeForce4, $2k… 10 minutes later fell over, don’t fight the mob.

The Order

“1-800-MY-APPLE, ring, ring, Hi Welcome to Apple.”

Wow 2 rings and a real person, I had my order placed in 5 minutes.

“What’s this iMac for?”

“For my girlfriend”, was my reply. No really, it’s hers.

“I hope you share well.” :

The Wait

I order it 10 minutes after it was unveiled. It took them 4 weeks to get it to me, not bad, but not stellar. I was told 2-4 weeks and on the 4th week they said it was delayed indefinitely. 2 days later it had shipped and I had a tracking number from FedEx.

The Delivery

Aug 22nd, FedEx claims to have delivered it. Due to an anthrax scare (fuck you terrorists) I don’t get it for another 24 hours.

Is this Christmas?

Let me make this crystal clear. Apple understands the purchase “experience” like no other company. Unwrapping this computer is pure joy. Have a look:

The Display, oh my…


See above for the display. The iMac comes with a G4 PowerPC 800Mhz, this plenty fast. (It can beat the pants of a 2.4Ghz Pentium when running optimized code, i.e. Photoshop), 256MB Ram (I jacked this to 768MB immediately), 80GB drive (70GB available). SuperDrive. The keyboard is a good for a rail grind or two, the only reason to keep it around is for the Eject Button, it’s been replaced with a MS Natural Pro keyboard, the mouse also had to go. Although way better than the puck that came with previous iMacs, this teardrop Cyclops had to go. Enter the IntelliMouse Explorer, a real mouse with more than 1 button.


OS X: (pronounced OS ten) is a weird beast, the grandchild of the NeXT OS. It’s BSD-Unix with the MACH microkernel. Hardcore underpinnings. The Unix layer is called Darwin, it comes with Apache, Samba, OpenSSH, FTP, xterm, everything you need to turn this pretty machine into a server that means business. System 9 (i.e. system crap, remember the bomb icon? Yeah, you can still run it in emulation mode, if you’re crazy).

Aqua: The GUI is decidedly Apple, “lick-able”, it’s all eye candy with a lot of function. Genie minimize is so cool for the first 10 times, too bad it’s slow as heck in 10.1. (This is now fixed in 10.2)

Jaguar: OS 10.2 or Jaguar came in the box. After upgrading I noticed a significant performance boost, especially in the graphics dept. The OpenGL enhancements to the UI make it much quicker, this is how it should have been from day one. Jaguar includes some really cool apps like Mail which completely owns spammers, I haven’t had a false-positive yet and it’s tagged 99% of the spam I get. Sherlock 3, is a web client for a bunch of popular XML services, it’s very slick, included are movies, eBay, yellow-pages, dictionary, flight times, stocks, and Babel fish translations.

iSoftware: Apple’s marketing strategy is to be the digital hub, where you connect all your cool digital devices. Supporting this strategy they have iPhoto for digital cameras, iMovie for editing movies from camcorders, iDVD burn a DVD of your movies complete with menus and iTunes for managing your digital music library. I have an iPod so naturally I tried out iTunes first. It’s awesome, you can rip CDs to MP3, catalog your music using “smart play lists”, and sync to the iPod. The smart playlist feature is very cool because they’re dynamic lists based on characteristics of the songs in your library, and they’re sync on the iPod. I currently have 15 songs in my library with 4-star ratings or higher; they show up in the “My Top Rated Songs” play list automatically. I’m very impressed with the iSoftware collection.


It’s amusing to me that the things that really round out the Mac are from Microsoft. Office X is a mandatory. So are the natural keyboard and mouse. A recent addition is the Remote Desktop Client that lets you connect to any Win2k/XP machine, and of course Instant Messenger. Microsoft has a hearty Mac development team.


Apple has done a fine job of focusing their hardware \ software engineering efforts and they’ve delivered an awesome product. I haven’t found myself cursing this machine yet. Everything I can do in Windows I can do on the Mac. So what’s wrong? The price. Apple still puts about a $500 premium on their hardware, remove that and I’m sure a lot more people would switch.

  • Apple iMac
  • by Quasor
  • Published on September 1st, 2002
August, 2002
PowerPC G4/800Mhz, 17\" LCD (Widescreen)

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