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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 Power Mac G4 Cube (2000)

This little number was one of Apple's more controversial releases, but it easily deserves mention as one of Apple's product highlights. The Cube was sold only in 2000 and 2001 but, during its brief tenure, it not only accumulated numerous design awards; it also found itself on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Cube was literally an 8in cube of technology suspended in a 10in clear acrylic enclosure. The Cube relied on a vertical optical drive and featured a touch sensor that pulsed with white light when it was pressed to turn the unit on. Internals were cooled through the ingenious usage of convection currents, as warm air escaping from the Cube's top vents actually pulled cool air through the bottom and rear openings in the acrylic.

The Cube was also Apple's most compact desktop to date, using the G4 processor from its tall-tower cousin in a design a quarter the size. Unfortunately, the Cube's high price - it went for $200 more than Apple's tower lineup, without the expandability - made it an item most people looked at but never bought, and reports about cracks in the acrylic case marred the Cube's reputation early on.

Even so, the Cube showed Apple's fearless pursuit of cutting-edge design that also showcased engineering savvy.


The Power Mac G4 Cube (photo: Steve Shaner, cc-by-sa 2.0 licence)

The (Intel-based) iMac (2006)

Six months before this iMac hit the market, Apple did the until-then unthinkable and announced that it was leaving behind the PowerPC architecture for good and moving to Intel's Core Duo processor platform. Citing performance and power-efficiency improvements, Apple said the shift would allow it to engineer thinner, more powerful computers that would otherwise be impossible to do. Dreams of the oft-rumored PowerBook G5 vanished overnight.

In pictures: 10 years of iMac

On January 10, 2006, during the Macworld Expo, Apple announced that its new iMac would be the first Apple desktop to feature the Intel chipset. In an effort to prove that a Mac was still a Mac despite the internal system changes, Apple left the iMac's features, price and case, which had incorporated the guts of the computer into the flat-panel display in 2004, unchanged. Performance, however, was touted as being two to three times faster than previous iMacs.

Oh, and buyers could run Windows on the machine, either virtually with third-party software or natively with Apple's Boot Camp software, giving users and businesses a safety net if they were switching from PCs to Macs.

Though it has been updated with an aluminum shell, the basic all-in-one styling of that flat-panel iMac still remains the standard for Apple's competitors.

Side note: Jobs also unveiled the 15in MacBook Pro at Macworld '06. Mac fans loved the laptop, hated the name and bought it in droves.


The Intel-based iMac

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 MacBook Air and the iPhone

  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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