Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

‘20 Macs for 2020’ Concludes With the Correct Choice

In introducing this series in August, Jason Snell defined his ranking criteria as based solely on notability:

Now, note my choice of words there: notable. I’m not saying these are my favorite Macs — a bunch of them I only knew in passing and never used myself. I’m not saying these are the best Macs ever — a difficult thing to measure, since (with a few obvious exceptions) the best Macs made are the most recent ones, otherwise we’d all still be using G3 iMacs.

Of course the iMac G3 is the most notable Mac. It is an icon with an impact many times greater than its five year production run and the now-modest five million or so that were sold:

People who didn’t live through it might not believe it, but the iMac took the product-design world by storm. Over the next few years, there would be very few consumer electronic products that had not offered a special, iMac-inspired translucent plastic edition. It started with USB accessories for the iMac, as printer and floppy-disk vendors quickly placed orders for translucent colored plastic pieces to replace their opaque beige ones. But it just kept going and going. Telephones. Toys. And my personal favorite, the George Foreman iGrill.

I was young but I remember this era so well. Everything you can think of was sold in a translucent jelly-coloured plastic variant. Gel pens were all the rage. IKEA decorated desks with fake iMac G3s. More than anything, it was the first time I remember people talking about a specific model of computer — even if they did have to replace the mouse.

Also, I think Snell did an excellent job with this series. I have enjoyed every piece and, even where I disagree — I think the SE/30 and the Power Mac G5 should have been much higher — these choices have been fair and comprehensive.