|Release date||April 29, 2002|
|Introductory price||US$1,099 (equivalent to $1,790 in 2022)|
|Discontinued||July 5, 2006|
|CPU||PowerPC 7450, 700 MHz–1.42 GHz|
|Display||17 in (43 cm) flat CRT,|
1280 x 960
|Mass||50 lb (23 kg)|
The eMac (short for education Mac) is a discontinued all-in-one Mac desktop computer that was produced and designed by Apple Computer. Released in 2002, it was originally aimed at the education market but was later made available as a cheaper mass-market alternative to Apple's "Sunflower" iMac G4. The eMac was pulled from retail on October 12, 2005, and was again sold exclusively to educational institutions thereafter. It was discontinued by Apple on July 5, 2006, and replaced by a cheaper, low-end iMac G5 that, like the eMac, was exclusively sold to educational institutions.
The eMac design closely resembles the Snow iMac G3, though the eMac was only available in white, slightly larger in size, did not include a carry handle, and was heavier than the preceding G3, weighing 50 lb (23 kg). The unique shape of the computer was also similar to the 17-inch CRT Studio Display from 2000 (the last standalone CRT monitor Apple made). The Apple eMac features a PowerPC 7450 (G4e) processor that is significantly faster than the previous-generation PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, as well as a 17-inch flat Trinitron CRT display, which was aimed at the education market, as LCD screens would be expensive.
In 1998, Apple released the iMac G3, an all-in-one computer built around a cathode-ray tube display. The iMac was a major success for Apple, selling more than five million units; it also sold for as low as US$799, making it the most affordable Mac model Apple offered. In January 2002, Apple announced a successor to the iMac G3, the iMac G4. This iMac was built around a floating flat-panel display, and started at a higher price than the previous generation. While a few models of the iMac G3 remained at lower price points, they lacked power for educational tasks like video. Education customers made up nearly a quarter of Apple's sales, and with Windows-based computers eating into Apple's market share of the sector, Apple consulted with educators to build a cheaper G4-powered successor for the price-conscious market.
Apple announced the eMac on April 29, 2002, to be sold only to education markets. Apple had previously created education-only computer models, including the iMac predecessor Power Macintosh G3 All-In-One. The machine's CRT screen made it cheaper than the iMac G4 (the most expensive configuration was still cheaper than the cheapest iMac G4), and its bulk was intended to make it more resilient to wear and tear in a school setting than the fragile hinge and flat screen of the iMac.
The eMac had a substantially similar design to the iMac G3, but featured a larger 17-inch (430 mm) (16-inch viewable) flat-screen CRT monitor. The larger screen offered 40 percent more viewing area than the iMac. Thanks to the short-necked CRT, it took up the same space as the iMac—in fact, it was a few millimeters shorter–but also was heavier, at 50 pounds (23 kg). The computer was powered by a PowerPC G4 processor much faster than the G3-powered iMacs. The machine's serial number and networking identification were printed on the front of the computer behind the optical drive door to make it easier for schools to track purchases. RAM could be upgraded through a service hatch at the bottom of the computer. Apple sold a separate acrylic tilt-and-swivel stand to enable changing the viewing angle of the screen.
After demand from consumers, Apple announced on June 4, 2002 that the eMac would be available through general retail. Regular consumers did not get the same prices and configuration options as education customers; for example, education buyers could get a model without a modem.
The eMac generally catered to the mass market, eventually taking over the entry-level (previously held by the iMac G3) Macintosh from 2003 to 2005, while the iMac G4 was positioned as a premium offering throughout the lifetime of the eMac line. The eMac generally offered similar performance and features to the iMac G4 while they were sold side by side. The eMac was gradually supplanted by the iMac G5 in 2005 to 2006.
In October 2003, 800 MHz model was eliminated as a standard configuration and the 1 GHz model was brought down in price. This revision was the last in the line to officially run Apple's OS 9 operating system natively.
The next revision to the eMac line came in April 2004, with DDR SDRAM, a faster processor running at 1.25 GHz, and a better ATI Radeon 9200 video chipset. The most recent revision came in May 2005, with an even faster CPU running at 1.42 GHz, Radeon 9600 graphics, and larger standard hard disk.
On October 12, 2005, Apple once again restricted sales of the eMac to educational institutions and returned to its "E is for Education" marketing plan that had been attached to the product from the original restriction to education buyers. The company re-implemented this restrictive measure for unspecified reasons. Some analysts believe Apple wanted to force the general public to purchase the more expensive Mac Mini or iMac which had higher profit margins. Also, the eMac was the only CRT display product left in Apple's lineup, which made it somewhat bulky compared to new offerings which had compact form factors due to their LCD screens. The falling cost of LCD displays would also gradually bring down the prices of the iMac G5. However, the eMac was still available for sale to the general public through some third-party retailer websites.
On July 5, 2006, the entire eMac line was discontinued. An "educational configuration" of the iMac Core Duo was introduced that same day, which had a Combo drive rather than a SuperDrive and a smaller 80 GB hard disk.
Early eMac models natively boot Mac OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS X beginning with OS X 10.1.4, while later models only officially boot Mac OS X. 1 GHz and faster models cannot boot OS 9, while eMacs slower than 1 GHz do not officially support 10.5 (requirements are an 867 MHz G4 with 512 MB RAM).
The eMac was generally well-received. Macworld's Jason Snell wrote that the eMac served as a worthy successor to the iMac G3. Criticism of the initial release version was that the low amount of installed RAM (128 MB) was not sufficient for Mac OS X.
A number of early eMac machines have suffered from what was known as "Raster Shift", a phenomenon where the bottom third or half of the screen goes black, with the rest of image shifting upward and beyond the top boundary of the display. Serious static also accompanies the problem, rendering the viewable part of the screen virtually useless. In response to the problem, Apple offered a solution which involved the replacement of the video cable inside the eMac's case. Certain models of eMac also suffered from capacitor plague, that caused video distortion or the computer to lock up. Apple responded to these issues by implementing a warranty extension program.
All are standard configurations from Apple unless otherwise noted.
All of these models are obsolete.[a]
|Model||Formal name||eMac||eMac (ATI Graphics)||eMac (USB 2.0)||eMac (2005)|
|Timetable||Released||April 29, 2002||August 13, 2002||May 6, 2003||April 13, 2004||May 3, 2005|
|Discontinued||May 6, 2003||October 22, 2003||April 13, 2004||May 3, 2005||October 12, 2005 (retail) / July 5, 2006 (education)|
|Model||A1002 (EMC 1903)||A1002 (EMC 1955)||A1002 (EMC None)|
|Display||17-inch (16-inch viewable) 1280 x 960 flat CRT|
|Performance||Processor||PowerPC 7441 (G4)||PowerPC 7445 (G4)||PowerPC 7447A (G4)||PowerPC 7447B (G4)|
|Clock speed||700 MHz||800 MHz||1.0 GHz||1.25 GHz
1.0 GHz for education only
1.25 GHz for education only
|CPU cache||64 KB L1, 256 KB L2 (1:1)||64 KB L1, 512 KB L2 on chip (1:1)|
|Front side bus||100 MHz||133 MHz||167 MHz|
|Memory||128 MB PC133 SDRAM
Expandable up to 1 GB
|256 MB of PC133 SDRAM
Expandable up to 1 GB
|256 MB 333 MHz PC2700 DDR SDRAM (512 MB for 1.42 GHz SuperDrive model)|
Expandable up to 2 GB (officially only 1 GB is supported)[b]
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX with 32 MB DDR SDRAM||ATI Radeon 7500 with 32 MB DDR SDRAM||ATI Radeon 9200 with 32 MB DDR SDRAM||ATI Radeon 9600 with 64 MB DDR SDRAM|
ATI Radeon 9200 with 32 MB DDR SDRAM for education only
|AGP 2x||AGP 4x|
|Storage||Hard drive||40 GB||40 GB, 60 GB,[b] 80 GB[b]||40 GB, 80 GB[b]||40 GB, 80 GB,[b] 120 GB,[b] 160 GB[b]|
|Ultra ATA/66||Ultra ATA/100|
|Optical drive||32x CD-ROM||2X SuperDrive (DVD-RW)||Combo Drive (CD-RW/DVD-ROM) standard or SuperDrive (DVD-RW)[b]|
CD-RW Standard for initial 700 MHz model
CD-ROM Standard for 800 MHz refresh
SuperDrive Standard for initial 800 MHz model
|Connections||Wireless||AirPort 802.11b[c]||AirPort Extreme 802.11b/g[c]|
|Ethernet||10/100 BASE-T Ethernet|
|Modem||56k V.90 modem||56k V.90 modem (optional on education 1.25 GHz models)|
|Bluetooth||—||Optional Bluetooth 1.1|
|USB||3x USB 1.1||3x USB 2.0|
|FireWire||2x FireWire 400|
|Audio||Built-in 18-watt stereo speakers||Built-in 16-watt stereo speakers||Built-in 18-watt stereo speakers|
|Video out||Mini-VGA at up to 1280x960 (mirrored mode only).|
Unofficially, can be altered to support extended display mode in models with ATI graphics using a tool called Screen Spanning Doctor.
|Operating System||Original||Mac OS X 10.1.4 "Puma" and Mac OS 9.2.2||Mac OS X 10.2.6 "Jaguar"
Mac OS 9.2.2[b]
|Mac OS X 10.2.6 "Jaguar"||Mac OS X 10.3.3 "Panther"||Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger"|
|Maximum||Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and Mac OS 9.2.2||Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"|
|Weight||50 lb / 22.7 kg|
|Timeline of iMac and eMac models (sorted by screen sizes)|