20 years of the iMac at Ars Technica, in reviews and pictures

Enlarge / The original iMac was hardly a workhorse. It was designed to be a relatively affordable, visually pleasing consumer desktop, and that’s what it was. (credit: Apple)

Apple released the first iMac on August 15, 1998—that makes this week the 20th anniversary of the often divisive, always popular, and ever iconic all-in-one. That first iMac was a revolution in terms of design—an important part of the history of not just Macs but personal computing generally. But some of the choices Apple made haven’t aged that well and were controversial even at the time.

It all began with the iMac G3, which was the first product created under the watchful eye of a returning Steve Jobs. Jobs resigned from Apple in the wake of a reorganization by then-CEO John Sculley in the ’80s, but he returned to the company in the late ’90s and oversaw the iMac and other

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‘This is iMac’: Apple’s All-In-One Celebrates its 20th Birthday

Twenty years ago today, Apple’s first all-in-one desktop computer was released into the wild. The iMac was a drastic departure from the previous Mac offerings and initially proved to be divisive among the Apple community. 

Designed by Jonathan Ive, the original gumdrop iMac design was offered in a variety of colors in a translucent plastic enclosure. The iMac would eventually see several refreshes and redesigns, with the most recent – the 2017 iMac Pro –  featuring workstation-class performance and a 5K Retina display. 

In May, Apple Insider published a fantastic editorial that goes deep into the 20-year history of the iMac that relives the evolution of the machine and provides insights into the critics and controversies along the way. Check it out, and be sure to share your favorite iMac model or memory in our comments section.  

And join us in wishing the iMac a happy 20th

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Vanity Fair Previews Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ Book ‘Small Fry’

The troubled relationship between Steve Jobs and his daughter Lisa has been recounted before. Next month, though, Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ memoir ‘Small Fry’ will be released. The book is a first-person account of her childhood and the period leading up to Steve Jobs’ death in 2011. The Vanity Fair excerpt includes anecdotes of visits by Steve Jobs to Brennan-Jobs when she was a child:

We skated the neighborhood streets. Trees overhead made patterns of the light. Fuchsia dangled from bushes in yards, stamens below a bell of petals, like women in ball gowns with purple shoes. My father and mother had the same skates, a beige nubuck body with red laces crisscrossed over a double line of metal fasts. As we passed bushes in other people’s yards, he pulled clumps of leaves off the stems, then dropped the fragments as we skated, making a line of ripped leaves behind Continue reading “Vanity Fair Previews Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ Book ‘Small Fry’”

Lisa Brennan-Jobs Shares Memories of Steve Jobs in New ‘Small Fry’ Memoir Excerpt

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Steve Jobs’ oldest daughter, is releasing a memoir called “Small Fry” next month, and ahead of the book’s release, Vanity Fair has published an excerpt where Lisa-Brennan Jobs shares details on her troubled relationship with her father, his last days, and her early life.

Lisa was born in 1978 to Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan, and as is well known, Jobs initially denied that he was her father. He had nothing to do with her until she was two, a story she tells interspersed with facts about the Lisa computer he built. After being forced to take a paternity test and provide child support for Lisa, she finally met him, detailing their first meeting in Menlo Park, California.

Steve Jobs and Lisa Brennan-Jobs

“You know who I am?” he asked. He flipped his hair out of his eyes.

I was three years old; I didn’t.

“I’m your

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VIDEO: Steve Jobs on designing the NeXT logo

Apple founder Steve Jobs founded a second computer company after Apple, called NeXT. As many Apple users know, NeXT created the operating system Apple later introduced as OSX, and that now forms the core of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and will be part of other operating systems in future.

This little-known video (found on FastCompany) sees Jobs talk about his work with designer Paul Rand, who developed the NeXT logo for Jobs. It’s an interesting collection of thoughts, and reveals a little concerning how Jobs thought about design.

You also see Jobs stop and think about what he wants to say, which I found a particularly enlightening insight into how he thought about things.

The following video takes a deeper dive into the NeXT logo design.

Some thoughts:

9 iPhone apps Steve Jobs was using in 2008

In August 2008, Steve Jobs spoke with journalist Nick Wingfield to discuss the future of mobile devices, apps and the iPhone. Apple had only opened its App Store up for business a few weeks before. Steve Jobs revealed he was using the following apps on his iPhone:

Who recalls how the App Store looked in 2008?

The apps Steve Jobs used in 2008

As well as Apple’s stock apps, Mail and Safari, Jobs also admitted to having the following apps installed on his iPhone:

  • Yelp
  • Mandarin Phrasebook
  • New York Times
  • Bloomberg
  • Epocrates
  • Anatomy
  • Facebook (“The Facebook app’s pretty cool. A lot of people are using it,” said Jobs.)
  • Units
  • Sudoku

7 Jobs insights for the future of mobile

More seriously, the interview also saw Steve Jobs share a whole bunch of information about how he saw the future of mobile devices. Apple had only opened its App Store up Continue reading “9 iPhone apps Steve Jobs was using in 2008”

Steve Jobs on the App Store in 2008: ‘We Didn’t Expect It to Be This Big’

Following the launch of the App Store in 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

In celebration of the recent 10th anniversary of the App Store, The Wall Street Journal today published both the audio and transcript of that interview, where Jobs shares his view on the future of the App Store and the future of Apple.



The interview took place in August of 2008, a month after the launch of the App Store. Even back then, just after its debut, the App Store’s success surprised Jobs, who said Apple hadn’t expected the App Store to “be this big.” “The mobile industry’s never seen anything like this,” he said.

Within 30 days, users had downloaded 30 percent as many apps as everybody in the world downloaded songs from iTunes during the same period of time. Jobs said he could not

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Steve Jobs just shipped two new secrets

“I’d give a lot for Steve’s taste.” Image c/o Joi Ito/Flickr

A previously unseen MIT video and a fresh insight into how Steve Jobs handled the task of getting good feedback in meetings have appeared, and both are well worth your time.

Freshly-found Steve Jobs footage

This clip has been around for a few months, but only recently got noticed. It’s a 1992  talk at MIT during which Jobs talked about his departure from Apple, how he felt this was a loss for the company, and explained a little about how his management style had changed.

As reported, he says: “I now take a longer-term view on people. When I see something not being done right, my first reaction isn’t to go fix it, it’s to say we’re building a team here and we’re going to do good stuff for the next decade, and not just the first year. So Continue reading “Steve Jobs just shipped two new secrets”

John Carmack recalls “frustrating” arguments with Apple’s Steve Jobs

How could you say Steve Jobs is not a gamer? Look at that Atari joystick he’s holding!

When John Carmack talks publicly these days, he’s usually focused on intricate technical matters, the blue-sky potential of virtual reality, or occasionally business-focused lawsuits. So when the Doom co-creator and Oculus CTO used a lengthy Facebook post to open up about his memories of Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs, it provided an interesting and rare look into two enigmatic tech luminaries.

Carmack leads off by recalling his fondness for Jobs’ expensive NeXT workstations, mentioning a failed marketing deal to feature “Developed on NeXT” branding on the original Doom, well before it was a cultural phenomenon. That failed marketing deal put Jobs and Carmack in each others’ orbit, a proximity which Carmack says he used to convince Jobs to adopt OpenGL 3D graphics standards on Macintosh, rather than using

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12 new facts we learned about the legendary Steve Jobs

A fresh set of fascinating insights into the mind of Steve Jobs have emerged, this time from John Carmack (the man behind Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein 3D) in a newly-published set of memories about the Apple co-founder.

Steve Jobs missed a chance to promote NeXT

Carmack loved NeXT computers (Jobs’ other computer company). At one stage, he asked Jobs if he could put a ‘Developed on NeXT computers’ logo in the beginning start-up sequence of Doom. Jobs declined, only to put out feelers to achieve just that once the game became succesful.

Jobs wasn’t so into games

Despite his place in helping Atari’s breakout game, Breakout to happen, Jobs wasn’t so into games on the Mac, says Carmack. “Several things over the years made me conclude that, at his core, Steve didn’t think very highly of games, and always wished they weren’t as important to his platforms as they turned Continue reading “12 new facts we learned about the legendary Steve Jobs”

Doom Creator John Carmack Shares His Interactions With Steve Jobs

John Carmack, best known for his work on iconic games that include Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein 3D, today took to Facebook to share details on his interactions with Steve Jobs and to provide some insight into Jobs’ opinion on gaming, what it was like working with Jobs, and what it felt like to participate in one of Jobs’ famous keynotes.

Carmack first interacted with Jobs when Jobs was still at NeXT, because Carmack wanted to add a “Developed on NeXT computers” logo to the original Doom game. His request was initially denied, but later Jobs changed his mind. Doom never included a made on NeXT label, but Carmack did go on to work with Jobs on other projects.



Jobs, said Carmack, didn’t appear to “think very highly of games” and seemed to wish “they weren’t as important to his platforms as they turned out to be.” Carmack was asked

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Steve Jobs’ 1973 job application fetches $174,000 at auction

Enlarge (credit: RR Auction)

A handwritten job application from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has sold for more than $174,000, according to auction house RR Auction. The company told Reuters that the winning bidder is an Internet entrepreneur from England who doesn’t want to be publicly identified.

The single-page document, dated to 1973, doesn’t identify what job Jobs was applying for. But it provides a window into how Jobs—who would have been 17 or 18 at the time—saw himself.

Jobs identifies himself as an English literature major at Reed College. He officially dropped out of Reed after a single semester in the fall of 1972, but he continued staying with friends on campus and auditing classes in 1973.

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Steve Jobs Employment Questionnaire Sold for $174,757 at Auction

A rare employment questionnaire filled out by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was auctioned off last week, earning an impressive $174,757.

Jobs filled out the questionnaire in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.



The document provided a rare look into Jobs’ life at the time, with Jobs listing “english lit” as his major and Reed College as his address. “Computer” and “Calculator” were listed as skills, along with “Design” and “Tech,” and Jobs said that he had special abilities that include “Electronics” and digital “Tech or Design Engineer.”

Soon after filling out the employment questionnaire, Jobs took a position as a technician at Atari after showing the company a version of Pong designed by Steve Wozniak. Just two years later, Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer in

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Lisa Brennan-Jobs to Publish Memoir of Her Childhood With Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan

Grove Press this week announced that Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the eldest daughter of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and artist Chrisann Brennan, is working on a memoir about her childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary parents. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Steve Jobs via BHW


In the book, titled Small Fry, Brennan-Jobs recounts how Jobs was “rarely present” in the early years of her life, as he denied paternity. As she grew older, however, Jobs began to show an interest in her and apologized for his behavior.

The memoir’s description notes that Jobs ushered his daughter into a “new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools.” Brennan-Jobs was “thrilled” to receive attention from her father, but he could be “cold, critical and unpredictable” at times, echoing stories about his management style at Apple:

When she was young, Lisa’s father was a

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Happy Birthday to Steve Jobs and MacRumors

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple and was responsible for catapulting the company to wild success with products like the iPod and the iPhone, was born on February 24, 1955, and were he still alive, today would mark his 63rd birthday.

Jobs not only founded Apple alongside Steve Wozniak in 1976 and directed the future of technology with the development of some of the first personal computers, but he also brought Apple back from the brink of failure even after being ousted from the company he created.



Though he passed away in October of 2011 when he was just 56, Steve Jobs had a lasting impact on Apple’s culture. As current Apple CEO Tim Cook often says, Steve Jobs’ DNA — his taste, his thinking, his unwavering perfectionism, his dedication to hard work, and his lust for innovation — will “always be the foundation of Apple.”

A Steve Jobs’s signed job application is worth more than a year’s wages

Autograph this

Even this signed newspaper clipping is going to raise thousands of dollars

Steve Jobs was actively, if a little ineptly, seeking employment after dropping out of Reed College in 1972, now one of his signed job applications is up for auction and is expected to raise more than some of us earn in a year ($50,000+).

Thanks for all the fonts

We know that Jobs dropped out of college because he really didn’t want to be a financial burden on his parents. He didn’t fall completely out of sight – he found ways to check classes about Shakespeare, dance, and calligraphy.

The latter in particular was a huge influence on the development of the Mac, and its font handling capabilities which – history shows – kick-started digital arts.

“If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or

Give Steve Jobs a job
Steve Jobs signed
Apple Ron Wayne

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Employment Questionnaire and Two Signatures From Steve Jobs Going Up for Auction

An auction site is set to sell off three pieces of Steve Jobs memorabilia, including a rare employment questionnaire filled out by the former Apple CEO.

Jobs filled out the application in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.

On the document, Jobs lists “english lit” as his major, and Reed College as his address. He lists “Computer” and “Calculator” as skills, along with “Design” and “Tech,” and says that he has special abilities that include “Electronics” and digital “Tech or Design Engineer.”



Auction site RR Auction expects the questionnaire to fetch upwards of $50,000 at auction.

Along with the questionnaire, the site also plans to auction off two documents that feature a rare Steve Jobs signature. The first is a Mac OS X technical manual that Jobs signed

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When it comes to computers people actually use, Apple is winning

Apple and mobility

Welcome to the disappearance of tech

Mobility is everything. iPads, iPhones and notebook computers have pretty much replaced desktops for most tasks, and while the latter are still essential for some things, the direction of travel is mobile everything.

Steve Jobs knew

Apple’s old boss saw this coming.

From way back when he focused Jony Ive’s design team on inventing the iBook and (later) the titanium MacBook Pro to the day the first iPhone appeared (as an off-shoot of work already being done on a new tablet device), Jobs knew what was coming.

He said as much in 2010 when he introduced the iPad. “Apple is a mobile devices company. This is what we do,” he said, observing that when iPhones and notebooks were added together, his was the biggest mobile device company in the world.

You could argue that his track record on his return to Apple shows just Continue reading “When it comes to computers people actually use, Apple is winning”

Steve Jobs Introduced the MacBook Air Exactly 10 Years Ago Today

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the late Steve Jobs unveiling the MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook at the time.



After introducing the AirPort Time Capsule and sharing some iPhone and Apple TV news, Jobs walked over to his podium, grabbed a manilla envelope, and pulled out the sleek MacBook Air. The crowd at Macworld erupted with applause as Jobs held the ultra-light notebook in the palm of his hand.

The thinness came at a cost. The base model ran $1,799 for a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive. A maxed out version was also available for $3,098, around $300 more than the base Mac Pro at the time, with a faster 1.8GHz processor and a 64GB solid-state drive.



MacBook Air was all about firsts. The notebook was Apple’s first without a CD/DVD drive, first to ditch a range

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Source Code for Apple’s Lisa Operating System to be Released for Free in 2018

The Apple Lisa, released in 1983, was one of the first personal computers to come equipped with a graphical user interface, and soon the operating system that ran on the Lisa will available for free, courtesy of the Computer History Museum and Apple.



As noted by Gizmodo, Al Kossow, a software curator at the Computer History Museum, recently announced that both the source code for the Lisa operating system and the Lisa apps have been recovered. Apple is reviewing the source code, and once that’s done, the museum will be releasing the code publicly.

Just wanted to let everyone know the sources to the OS and applications were recovered, I converted them to Unix end of line conventions and spaces for Pascal tabs after recovering the files using Disk Image Chef, and they are with Apple for review. After that’s done, CHM will do an @CHM blog post about

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