How the Apple iMac Works

Apple iMac Accessories

Accessories for an iMac might sound like a contradictory concept, considering the design of the machine is all about keeping your desk clean, but note that most of these accessories are wireless, or at least come in wireless models. Even the keyboard comes wireless, though you can request a wired one.

iMacs come with a Magic Mouse, featuring multiple finger-tracking options to help provide those handy shortcuts while navigating around the web and your applications. A popular alternative, not included but yours for $69, is the Magic Trackpad. It functions like a trackpad would on a laptop, and in fact is a large-scale knock-off of the MacBook Pro trackpad. It even clicks like a mouse button, so if you long for the days of the single-button mouse, this might be the option for you.

Want to splurge for a second monitor and really impress your friends? A Thunderbolt Display will run you about an even grand. If you plan on going this route, you'll need the 2011 iMac or later to take full advantage of the Thunderbolt I/O technology.

So where are iMacs going in the future? It's more or less a given based on recent patents issued to Apple that touch-screens for the iMac are on their way [source: Purcher].

A bigger issue for the future of Apple is what direction the iMac and other products will take without Steve Jobs at the helm. He handed over the reins to Tim Cook on Aug. 24, 2011. In October, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away. But Apple's culture grew out of Jobs's philosophy and it seems unlikely the company would stray too far from its defining characteristics. If you factor in a product ramp-up time of about two years, it'll be a while yet before we see the full effect of his departure.

So did the iMac save Apple? That was the big question back in 1998. It'd be easy to argue that it pulled Apple out of its mid-1990s freefall, even though today iMacs represent a much smaller share of Apple's profits compared to iPhone and iPad sales.

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