It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever.

It looked like no computer before it, couldn't be bothered with floppy disks, introduced USB as a mainstream connection, and stood out in glorious translucent Bondi Blue plastic. And it had a terrible 'Puck' mouse almost as legendary in its awfulness as the computer was for its iconic status!

Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Since his return to Apple the year before Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wanted the company to get back its mojo with something as different as the original Macintosh in 1984. He needed to make his mark on Apple and on the world again.

The egg or bubble-shaped Bondi Blue iMac (code-name Columbus) was unveiled at the very same auditorium as the Mac, Cupertino's Flint Center at De Anza College.

It was designed by Brit Jonathan Ive (a toilet designer from Chingford), who went on to win countless awards for other groundbreaking Apple products, such as the G4 Cube, PowerBook G4, iPod and iPhone.

Apple called the 15in iMac "the internet-age computer for the rest of us". It featured a 233MHz PowerPC G3, 32MB of RAM, 4GB hard drive, and 24x CD-ROM.

The iMac didn't actually go on sale until that August, but in the interim Apple took an amazing 150,000 orders – and it was soon the fastest-selling Mac ever.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

30 percent of iMac buyers had never owned a computer before, 12.5 percent were switching from Windows PCs – the iMac would rejuvenate Apple and start the campaign to grab back market share from Microsoft.

Steve Jobs described the iMac: "It looks like it's from another planet - a planet with better designers."

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Bondi Blue was just the beginning. Announced in January 1999, the next range of iMacs came in five new colours: Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine and Grape.

According to resellers Tangerine was the least favourite of all the colours, closely followed by Lime.

There weren't many other differences apart from a slight speed bump, and removal of both the mysterious 'Mezzanine' slot and the IRDA port.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Apple wasn't slow to bring out a portable version of the iMac. Announced in July 1999 at Macworld Expo New York, the iBook followed suit in dramatically redesigning the laptop.

The iBook included a handle – which led commentators to wonder why it had taken so long for computer manufacturers to realise that such a feature would be useful. It didn't carry forward to the next iBook range, however, or any other proper laptops, for that matter.

Another first was AirPort, a wireless networking system that allowed up to ten iBooks to connect to a single base-station plugged into an ethernet network or a standard phone line.

Despite the unpopularity of the Lime and Tangerine iMacs, two of the three colours chosen for the iBook were Tangerine and Lime.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Announced in October 1999, the iMac DV included a DVD-ROM drive, two FireWire ports (hence DV for Digital Video) and a VGA out. The iMac DV was convection cooled, and so didn't need an internal fan, making it ultra quiet.

A 'Special Edition' iMac DV was available in cool-grey Graphite, with 128MB of RAM, and a 13GB drive.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Announced in July 2000, the iMac DV+ came in three new cool colours: Indigo, Ruby or Sage.

Indigo was Apple's finest blue iMac, better than the Bondi Blue or Blueberry models before it.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

The five millionth iMac was sold in 2001. At the time Steve Jobs said: "The iMac has redefined the consumer and education computer, ushering in several industry firsts including USB, FireWire, desktop movies, wireless networking, fan-less operation, and world-class design."

But what on earth was Apple thinking about when it released Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power on an unsuspecting world.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

The two new patterns were moulded into the case using a technique that apparently took Apple 18 months to perfect – and five months to kill off.

The coolest computer in the world was suddenly a laughing stock.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

After this moment of madness Apple severely limited its colour choices for several years.

It wasn't long before everything the company made was white, with a slight concession to black a year or two later. Only the iPod mini, nano and shuffle have followed the rainbow hues since this time.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

The CRT iMac did limp on with Indigo, Graphite and Snow colour models after the disastrous pattern iMacs, but the writing was on the wall.

Snow, or 'White' as Apple would later dramatically rename the neutral colour, was the company's new favourite.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

Announced in at Macword Expo in January 2002, the iMac (Flat Panel) or iMac G4 was the first completely redesigned iMac since the original.

While its screen was still a 15in model it was a flat LCD display rather than bulky CRT – which heralded another brave new design, nicknamed the Desk Lamp or Anglepoise. Apple CEO Steve Jobs proudly announced that "the CRT is officially dead".

The screen could rotate and change angles easily as it was mounted on a semi-spherical base that housed the rest of the computer. 17in and 20in models were later introduced.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

August 2004 marked another new design dawn for the iMac. Introduced at Apple Expo Paris the iMac G5 brought more processor power to Apple's consumer desktop line.

The new case was reminiscent of Apple's Cinema Display line, and was only two inches thick.

In October 2005 a new model iMac G5 was the first Mac to include an integrated iSight webcam.

The iMac G5 lost the G5 part of its name when Apple shifted to Intel chips, and another redesign was on the cards.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

A full case redesign was unveiled in August 2007, with a cool new aluminium case. The ultra-thin keyboard was also a design triumph.

Apple recently updated this iMac line, with three new models featuring Intel Core 2 Duo processors and 2GB of memory. The new iMacs run at up to 3.06GHz and are equipped with 6MB L2 cache.

LCD screen sizes reach up to a massive 24 inches.

It was 10 years ago – on May 6, 1998 – that Apple unveiled the computer that revolutionised the company and marked the end of the beige box computer forever. Happy 10th birthday, iMac.

The iMac's influence spread far beyond the sphere of computing, with everything from cars to household appliances borrowing Jonathan Ive's visionary translucent design.

Interviewed in 1998, Ive said: "Making a loud product or being different wasn't our goal. We wanted to make this thing that felt accessible and friendly, but new."

Later, he remarked: "One of the things you notice when people come up to the iMac is their body language. They tend to smile and pat it on its head."