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Apple iMac - 1998

iMac - 1998

Our objective was to design a computer for the consumer market that would be simple, easy to use, highly integrated, quiet and small. We wanted it to be an unashamedly plastic product. Typically, given our obsession with materials and production processes, we explored different polymers, moulding technologies, colour, texture, and levels of opacity.

Apple iMac - 1998

Using translucent materials posed new challenges. We not only needed to design new ways of moulding individual parts but to develop new methods of assembly. We found ourselves caring about the appearance of internal components that had previously had little impact on the product’s appearance.

When researching new processes we often find ourselves working with different industries. It was interesting working with a confectionery manufacturer. Their experience in the science of translucent colour control helped us understand processes to ensure consistency in high volume.

Apple iMac - 1998

Our attempts to make the iMac less exclusive and more accessible occurred at a number of different levels. An example of its detailing is the handle. Its primary function is obviously to make the product easy to move, but a compelling part of that is the immediate connection the handle makes with the user by unambiguously referencing the hand. This reference represents, at some level, an understanding beyond the product’s core function. Seeing an object with a handle, you instantly understand aspects of its physical nature.

Apple iMac - 1998

Much of the iMac’s innovation was enabled by new levels of integration and miniaturisation. We wanted to cool the product by convection to make it quiet. This drove much of the internal architecture: the design of the venting schemes and even the form of the handle recess.

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