The top 10 standout Macs of the past 25 years

The top 10 standout Macs of the past 25 years

Not all of them were home runs, but they all made a big splash

While the Wallstreet version was a high point of design, versatility and power for its time, this model reached its pinnacle with the Pismo version. Released in February 2000, the Pismo had all of the benefits and looks of its Wallstreet older brother, but it came in a lighter, thinner case, had AirPort wireless networking, a FireWire 400 port and much faster hardware. Because the Wallstreet design set the stage for the later Pismo release, it gets the nod for top 10 status.

The iBook (1999)

Jobs unveiled the iBook G3 -- there's that G3 chip again -- in July of 1999, thus filling what became known as its four-quadrant product strategy. Taking cues from Apple's consumer desktop, the recently announced iMac, and designed to be thrown into a backpack, the polycarbonate-clad iBook featured a distinctive clamshell shape, a tough plastic exterior, and a bold blue- or orange-colored rubber trim.

Like the iMac, the iBook ditched all legacy ports in favor of USB, and -- again like the iMac -- it featured a handle. This was also the first Apple laptop without a latch, a feature still being touted as a plus in 2008 models. It was the first to ship with Apple's circular wireless charger, around which the power cord could be wrapped without tangling.

Most importantly, it was the first-ever mainstream consumer device that showcased wireless networking, something Jobs nonchalantly debuted during the 1999 Macworld Expo & Conference. Dubbed AirPort, Apple's implementation of Lucent's wireless technology quickly allowed wireless networking with a minimum of fuss. Wireless technology had arrived. Jobs' debut of consumer wireless networking on the iBook comes at about the 5:30 mark in this video .

The Power Mac G4 Cube (2000)

This little number was one of Apple's more controversial releases, but it easily deserves mention as one of Apple's product highlights. The Cube was only sold in 2000 and 2001, but during its brief tenure, it not only accumulated numerous design awards; it also found itself on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Cube was literally an 8-in. cube of technology suspended in a 10-in. clear acrylic enclosure. The Cube relied on a vertical optical drive and featured a touch sensor that pulsed with white light when it was pressed to turn the unit on. Internals were cooled through the ingenious usage of convection currents, as warm air escaping from the Cube's top vents actually pulled cool air through the bottom and rear openings in the acrylic.

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