Apple History: Original iMac bowed on this date in 1998…and the tide was turned.

Original Apple iMac from 1998, in Bondi blueConsidering how high the company flies today, it’s sobering to recall the lows Apple hit in the 1990’s. Apple spent the bulk of that decade frantically scrambling to come up with a hit, introducing one failed product after another: a digital camera, a portable CD audio player, powered computer speakers, a gaming console (no, really), and a bizarre set-top box for television. CEO John Sculley bet the farm on Apple’s entry into the nascent “personal digital assistant” category, resulting in the Newton – innovative, before its time – and to this day, one of the most spectacular failures in the company’s history. Literally dozens of indistinguishable Mac models were trotted out, with a bewildering alphabet soup of names, numbers, and specifications.

The original iMac went off like a torpedo to the bow of the Good Ship Computer. It looked and operated like nothing the world had seen.

Market share continued to erode, stock prices plummeted, and Microsoft Windows was mopping the floor with Apple. Sculley was succeeded by Michael Spindler, who was superseded by Gil Amelio. In July 1997, a desperate board of directors fired Amelio amidst record-low stock prices and staggering financial losses.

It was arguably Apple’s darkest hour.

Then co-founder Steve Jobs stepped back up as interim CEO (dubbed “iCEO”), drastically pared down the sprawling product line, and began working on a radical new design with Jonathan Ive.

You can see what they came up with in the photo above. The original iMac went off like a torpedo to the bow of the Good Ship Computer. It looked and operated like nothing the world had seen. And it effectively saved the company, selling almost 800,000 units in its first five months.

Jobs and Ive would later collaborate on the iPod and iPhone, among many, many other projects. Apple was on a roll – a roll that has yet to slow.

Connecting Point's own Scott Farmer takes the original Apple iMac for a test drive - August 16, 1998

Photo credit: Bob Pennell, Mail Tribune

Feel like a little more nostalgia? Read an August 16, 1998 Medford Mail Tribune article about the original iMac’s introduction. Connecting Point is prominently featured in the story – along with a face long familiar to our customers.

Deal of the Week | August 15th, 2014: LED Solar Flashlight for $4.99

LED Solar Flashlight for $4.99You are roused from a deep sleep by your spouse, elbowing you in the ribs.

“What the…” you begin to mumble, groggily.

Shhh! I heard a noise downstairs,” your spouse whispers.

At once, you’re wide awake, in a state of hyper-alertness, courtesy evolution and the fight-or-flight reflex it perfected. You reach for the flashlight on your nightstand, flick the switch, and…

Nothing. Darkness. And the noise is moving…closer.

Dead batteries in flashlights result in more U.S. deaths than automobile accidents, lightning strikes, and bathtub slips combined.* Don’t let this happen to you! With this week’s DOTW, you’ll never need worry about flashlight batteries again. Just keep it near a window, and let that bright glowy thing in the daytime sky take care of maintaining a full charge for you.

What is protection from things that go bump in the night worth to you? The answer should be “priceless,” but we’re going to peg it at $4.99. That’s 75% off the regular price, making it affordable enough to buy several and keep them all over the darned place. Because they’re out there. You know they are.

Find out more about our latest Deal of the Week here.

*Not an actual statistic, and also utterly false.

VIDEO: Apple intros two ‘Your Verse’ iPad TV spots, telling new personal stories

The first spot is titled ‘Yaoband’s Verse,’ and follows a Chinese musical group as they scour the countryside and urban streets, harvesting live sounds for their electro-pop compositions. It documents how they use iPad both to make music, and to connect with their fans, in new ways.

The second spot, ‘Jason’s Verse,’ brings it home to the the U.S. – Detroit, to be exact. Resident Jason Hall uses his iPad to help organize a weekly group bike ride through his city. Hall is co-founder of Slow Roll Detroit, and he uses the rides to raise awareness of the revitalization of Detroit from the ground level.

Deal of the Week | August 8th, 2014: Compact Mobile USB Charger for $4.99

Compact Mobile USB Charger for $4.99Here’s a great little 12-volt mobile socket USB charger, small and inexpensive enough to keep in every vehicle.

It’ll charge your smartphone, your MP3 player, and most other small-ish USB devices. It glows blue when plugged in, so you’ll know at a glance when it’s doing its job. It’s normally 20 bucks, but as this week’s DOTW, you can get one (or two or five) for just $4.99 each.

Find out more about our latest Deal of the Week here.

Deal of the Week | August 1st, 2014: Compact USB AC Adapter for $4.99

Compact USB AC Adapter for $4.99Think for a moment: How many gadgets do you currently own that are charged via USB?

iPhones and most other smartphones are recharged using USB. So are iPods, along with many cameras, electronic toys, and myriad other devices.

So it’s always nice to have another place to plug these devices into. And that’s where this week’s DOTW comes in. This well-built, reliable, compact USB charger is also supremely affordable. In fact, we believe you’ll get a real charge out of the fact it’s on sale this week for just $4.99 – which is 75% off the regular price.

Get complete details for this week’s DOTW.

Deal of the Week | July 25th, 2014: 10-in-1 Portable USB Card Reader for $5.99

10-in-1 Portable USB 2.0 Card Reader for $5.99THIS WEEK: 10-in-1 Portable USB Card Reader for $5.99 (reg. $19.99)

Access nearly any type memory card, including SDHC, microSD and more with this USB 2.0 Card Reader. One cool feature: it even has a built-in USB cable. With it, you can expect quick USB 2.0 data transfers up to 480 Mbps.

Not only is this a nifty card reader, it can also house up to nine memory cards – which makes it the ideal accessory for your digital camera, PSP, or PDA. And it’s Mac/PC compatible.

Get complete details on this week’s DOTW.

Apple debuts OS X Yosemite public beta

Apple OS X Yosemite public beta announcedToday, Apple released a beta version of the next version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite. Yosemite was announced and previewed at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in June; the official release is slated for sometime this fall.

As Information Week says:

Participating in Apple’s OS X Beta Program — which is distinct from the Beta Seed Program for Mavericks — is free, but there may be non-monetary costs, such as time or data lost due to crashed applications. Apple warns the OS X Yosemite Beta “may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not function as well as commercially released software.”

Another cost comes in the form of silence: Apple considers its beta software confidential and forbids beta testers from posting screenshots or discussing the software publicly. By agreeing to Apple’s Beta Program terms, testers promise to take reasonable steps to keep Apple’s software confidential, such as shielding the screen of a Mac running OS X Yosemite from onlookers.

If, after all that, you’re still interested in participating in the development of the next generation of Mac operating systems, you can sign up for the public beta here.

VIDEO: Upbeat new Apple spot shows how much people love their MacBook Airs

As the popularity of MacBook Air continues to grow, so do the many ways users customize these ultralight notebooks. ‘Stickers,’ a brand-new spot from Apple, showcases the creativity of these folks. Fun stuff (and if you watch carefully, you’ll spot at least two references to recent Apple acquisition Beats Audio).