Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas

A visual history of Apple patent filings: the brilliant, the bizarre, the just plain bad.

By  |  Monday, December 15, 2008 at 1:19 am

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applepatents-imac

Portable Computer or Similar Article

Filed May 16th, 1998

Here we have the original CRT-based iMac–the computer that saved Apple, or at least got it back in the game. In an era of pervasive flatscreens, it looks bulgy and unwieldy–it’s hard to remember that it was only a decade ago that its one-piece case made it a sleeker, more space-efficient computer than your average desktop computer setup–and note that the patent (which was filed ten days after the iMac was announced) describes it as being portable. More than with any other product here, the fact that patent drawings are in black and white robs this picture of the iMac of much of the real multicolored, semi-transparent computer’s personality. If you’d been an Apple competitor and had somehow gotten your hands on this sketch, you still wouldn’t have grasped how outr√© the iMac was at the time.

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