Why Apple's Twentieth Anniversary Mac Was A Complete Disaster

Apple's Twentieth Anniversary Mac, often called TAM, was discontinued nearly 24 years ago in March 1998, almost coinciding with the introduction of the then-new and far more widely accessible iMac G3 in August 1998. The Twentieth Anniversary Mac was both novel and disastrous, notably for its overpacked "All-in-One" design — which included a TV tuner and a radio — as well as its limited production across only five nations. Between its frivolous features and its extremely limited production, the model's original MRSP was $7,500 (around $13,000 today), meaning the TAM stands as one of the least affordable computers of its time.

For any and all Mac enthusiasts that could afford the eye-boggling asking price, TAM featured a unique, albeit clunky, "All-in-One" design that came packed with a PowerPC 603e CPU running at 250MHz by default, two RAM slots equipped with 64MB sticks, a 2GB IDE hard-disk drive, and a 12.1-inch LCD screen built directly into the chassis. Compare that to the iMac G3, which boasted relatively similar computing performance, but with a larger 13.8-inch LCD screen and twice the storage space for only $1,299.

Above you'll see a set of video clips that were released with 20th Anniversary Mac, giving the user a tour of the features and functionality of the machine. 

Replaced by an iconic hero

TAM included plenty of unnecessary add-ons into its package, running up the cost. Such features included a TV tuner, an FM tuner, and even a Bose subwoofer. Later Mac designs continued and improved upon the idea of shipping accessories separately (earlier Apple builds came with a keyboard attached). But those looking for the telltale sleekness of a modern Apple computer would be hard-pressed to find it with the Twentieth Anniversary Mac, which featured a green-gold metallic paint job that made it look more like a robot from the space opera "Interstellar" than any contemporary PC, especially not the visually attractive "Bondi Blue" iMac design that immediately succeeded it.

The jump in computing power from the TAM and to the iMac G3 was certainly negligible by modern standards, but the slash in price made a significant difference in whether or not the average family could afford a much more powerful Mac than any of its predecessors, including the Apple 2. And it's likely the $1,299 iMac G3 is responsible for proliferating Apple computers across the casual user market, which the massively limited Twentieth Anniversary Mac could never hope to achieve at that $7,500 price point.