In 2023, Apple is sitting on top of the world. At times ranked as the most valuable company around, its influence in technology and media—and even some realms beyond—exceeds almost any other single corporation. But it wasn’t always that way, and much of where the company is today can be attributed to a product released 25 years ago: the original iMac.
I vividly remember the first time I saw a picture of that machine: sitting in my high school library, just a few days shy of graduation, I was leafing through my copy of this very publication (in classic dead-tree format), devouring the cover story on this weird new computer that, unbeknownst to any at the time, would set the course for Apple for years to come.
As an avid Apple fan in the darkest period of the 1990s, it was hard to deny that the iMac sparked excitement. Here was something new, something distinct from everything else on the market, something that perfectly exemplified the company’s then-only recently adopted slogan, which, though only in use for a few years, became its most iconic motto: Think different.