iMac G3 thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 74

This object consists of 4 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

iMac G3

Personal Computer
1998 (designed), 1998-1999 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker

The iMac G3 personal computer revolutionised the aesthetics of computers at the end of the 1990s and influenced the shapes and colours of all types of domestic electrical products. The distinctive appearance was due to Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, the British designer Jonathan Ive. His innovation was to house the computer in translucent coloured polycarbonate rather than giving it a standard grey box, enhancing its presence and appeal to a broad market. This is an example of the first model of iMac G3 computer designed in 1998, which was only available in 'Bondi Blue' and had a tray disk drive. Within a year this was superseded by a model with a slot disk drive and five new colours.

This example was bought about 2000 by Philip Steadman, a Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, who chose it because of Apple computers' reputation amongst designers and architects for graphics capabilities.
read A history of digital design: Part 1 – Connectivity Vast in scope – referring to both design processes and products for which digital technology is an essential element – broad in geography and highly complex, digital design has proved hard to define since its first beginnings in the 1960s. How the V&A has come to study and collect this gro...
Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Monitors (Data Processing Equipment)
  • Keyboards (Machine Components)
  • Mice
  • Cables
Brief description
iMac G3 personal computer, designed by Jonathan Ive for Apple Inc, 1998, manufactured by Apple Inc, 1998-9, translucent blue and white polycarbonate casing
Dimensions
  • Height: 380mm (Note: Body housing the monitor + CPU)
  • Width: 375mm (Note: Body housing the monitor + CPU)
  • Depth: 440mm (Note: Body housing the monitor + CPU)
Measured from the object
Production typeMass produced
Gallery label
Playful design for the creative mind The Apple iMac G3 revolutionised the look of computers in the late 1990s. Designer Jonathan Ive housed the iMac in a translucent, coloured plastic case, transforming the device into a distinctive and creative tool that appealed to a wide audience. Following the success of the iMac G3, playful designs of home and office electronics became more widely available. Translucent desktop computer iMac G3, 1998 (manufactured 1998–99) Designed by Jonathan Ive Manufactured for Apple, USA Polycarbonate case, glass screen and electronic components Given by Philip Steadman Museum no. W.29:1 to 3-2008 The object sits in the 'Automation and Labour' section of the Design 1900-Now gallery opened in June 2021.(2021)
Credit line
Given by Philip Steadman
Object history
This computer was bought at the end of the 1990s by the donor, a Professor of Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London
Historical context
The iMac G3 introduced a new colourful aesthetic to the design of computer hardware that was very influential on the design of all types of consumer electrical products in the late 1990s.
Summary
The iMac G3 personal computer revolutionised the aesthetics of computers at the end of the 1990s and influenced the shapes and colours of all types of domestic electrical products. The distinctive appearance was due to Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, the British designer Jonathan Ive. His innovation was to house the computer in translucent coloured polycarbonate rather than giving it a standard grey box, enhancing its presence and appeal to a broad market. This is an example of the first model of iMac G3 computer designed in 1998, which was only available in 'Bondi Blue' and had a tray disk drive. Within a year this was superseded by a model with a slot disk drive and five new colours.



This example was bought about 2000 by Philip Steadman, a Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, who chose it because of Apple computers' reputation amongst designers and architects for graphics capabilities.
Collection
Accession number
W.29:1 to 4-2008

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Record createdJuly 1, 2008
Record URL
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