1998  Alex Townsend

Making the world smaller

The Isle of Man sits alone in the Irish Sea, nearly 50 miles off the coast of England. In 1998, the island had little to no Internet access, and even fewer computers in its classrooms. In a stroke of brilliance, Alex Townsend, along with Graham Kinrade and John Thornley, decided to outfit a bus with Mac computers and then drive it to different schools to connect to the school’s network — providing kids with Internet access for the first time.

Seen here on the day of its final trip around the Isle of Man as an ordinary passenger bus in 1997, Number 30, as it was known, went through a radical transformation that took nine months to complete. Its new destination? Anywhere in the world.
With the help of the Isle of Man Department of Education and Manx Telecom, Alex Townsend outfitted the bus with 20 Mac computers, each connected to an Apple Studio Display. This photo shows Townsend aboard the bus with students from Arbory School.

Launched August 15, 1998


The original iMac marked the beginning of a new chapter for Apple and computers. The lowercase i in its name signaled something new and important — the Internet — and showed that the iMac was built for the next age of communication. It was the first computer to do away with floppy disks and popularize the USB port. Its egg-shaped, all-in-one design wasn’t like anything anyone had seen before. The translucent shell came in an eye-catching Bondi Blue, with other colors added later. But the most beautiful part of iMac was its simplicity: You just plugged it in and turned it on.

What people did with it

In 1998, the iMac was many things to Mac users. Here’s how people say they used it the most.

See all Mac data

Think back to your first Mac

However you discovered the Mac, we’d love to hear about it. Because your story is our story. Add your experience to those of other Mac users around the world, and help chronicle where Mac has been and what it’s been up to for the past 30 years.

Tell us about your first Mac