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The 10 best Apple Macs of all time

Stand out Apple PCs from the past 25 years

While Apple may be known for its small-enough-to-fit in your pocket devices now, it wasn't always like that. As the company celebrates its 25th anniversary, we look back at its products and pick the 10 best Macs of all-time.

The iMac (1998)

The iMac is the computer most credited with reversing Apple's fortunes, its distinctive looks and playful colours instantly finding a place on consumer desks and in pop-culture history. In terms of specifications, the iMac featured the by-then-ubiquitous G3 processor, but unlike other Apple computers, it featured no legacy ports.

The iMac instead relied on Universal Serial Bus, a technology that offered plug-and-play ease for connecting peripherals and hot-swappable capabilities. Despite criticism about the lack of legacy ports, the USB market boomed around the iMac, and most early USB products came in white plastics and translucent colours that matched the iMac's style. (The translucent colour craze didn't stop there; everything from USB hubs to George Foreman grills came in bright iMac-like hues.)

Another controversial change was the iMac's lack of a floppy drive. It was the first computer to drop support for floppy drives as a standard feature, the same technology that the original Macintosh had boosted 14 years earlier. But it did offer a 4GB hard drive and a 15in colour screen - all for $1,299.

The original iMac's popularity had little to do with its specifications and everything to do with its cute, space-egg shape. Suddenly, the computer wasn't just a beige box relegated to the home office; it was a suitable for showing off in the living room as a design element. Apple used the compact, all-in-one design to its advantage.

Although each later revision added new features and performance - and a new palette of colours - the iMac's shape itself morphed into the flat-screen version available now. Throughout its life, the iMac has always retained its focus on ease of setup and groundbreaking good looks.

IMAC

The original iMac (photo: Masashige Motoe, cc-by-sa 2.0 license)

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today's best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

NEXT PAGE: The PowerBook G3 'Wallstreet'

  1. In 25 years, these are the machines that stand out
  2. The Powerbook 100 series and the Power Mac G3
  3. The iMac
  4. The PowerBook G3 'Wallstreet'
  5. The Power Mac G4 Cube
  6. The MacBook Air and the iPhone


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