20 Years Ago Today, Apple Unveiled the eMac

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Apple introducing the eMac, designed specifically for educational use in classrooms and computer labs.

emac


Priced at $999 in the United States, the original eMac featured a white enclosure with a 17-inch flat-faced CRT display, a 700 MHz PowerPC G4 processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 40 GB hard drive, five USB ports, two FireWire ports, two speakers, and a built-in CD-ROM drive. An upgraded model with a faster 56K internet modem was available for $1,199.

"Our education customers asked us to design a desktop computer specifically for them," said Steve Jobs, in April 2002. "The new eMac features a 17-inch flat CRT and a powerful G4 processor, while preserving the all-in-one compact enclosure that educators love."

Relay FM co-founder Stephen Hackett today shared a great video about the eMac's history:


The original eMac shipped with Mac OS X version 10.1.4, known as "Puma," and it came preinstalled with Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Apple's own web browser Safari was announced in early 2003, months after the eMac launched.

Citing strong consumer demand, Apple made the eMac available to all customers in June 2002.

"Consumers have pounded on the table demanding to buy the eMac, and we agree," said Jobs. "The eMac's production ramp is ahead of schedule, so we'll have enough eMacs this quarter to satisfy both our education and non-education customers."

Apple went on to release additional eMac configurations with upgraded specs and a SuperDrive. In October 2005, the eMac became limited to educational institutions only again, and the eMac was replaced by a low-end 17-inch iMac in July 2006.

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Top Rated Comments

sunapple Avatar
28 months ago
I had the 1.42Ghz model in 2009, my first Mac. Couldn’t play a YouTube video but I was proud nonetheless.



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Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gmanist1000 Avatar
28 months ago
I remember removing 60 of those things from computer labs... what a workout that was... they are heavier than they look.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bluespark Avatar
28 months ago
This was a great computer and great deal in its time. I wish Apple took the K-12 education space as seriously now as it did then. Chromebooks are the computes of choice in that space, and its one that Apple easily could have owned.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slippery Gimp Avatar
28 months ago
My first Mac (and my first new computer ever), albeit I bought mine in 2004 as well as a 3rd Gen iPod. Great upgrade from my minidisc!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacLawyer Avatar
28 months ago
We had one of these. A very overlooked Mac. Lots of homework was done on this, plus lots of time playing games. The only drawback: thing weighed a ton.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aaron44126 Avatar
28 months ago
I worked for a school when these were new. We had a lot of them. I liked the design, but I remember that they were very obnoxious to carry around! They don't have a handle like the iMacs did. They're pretty heavy. The chassis is made of slick plastic, so not only is there no good place to grip, but your grip is constantly in jeopardy because it's a bit slippery. So, when I think of the eMac, I just remember being annoyed at having to carry 30 or so of them between buildings on campus which happened a few times.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)