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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

August 15-21: Luxo Jr., iMac Ships, eMachines Sued
Published October 31st, 2004

Many people know about great Pixar movies like Finding Nemo and A Bug's Life, and almost everyone who has been to a movie in the last 10 years has seen the cute lamp that bounces around on Pixar's logo before Pixar movie trailers. What some people might not know, however, is that this lamp is named Luxo Jr., and that it was introduced in a ground breaking 3D animated "short" originally intended to show off Pixar's 3D development technology.

It was this week in 1986 that Luxo Jr. hit the big screen to wild acclaim. Read the details below in the 1986 entry.

It was this week in 1997 that the Clone Wars took one step closer to their end as Joel Kocher resigned from Power Computing. Mr. Kocher was a former Dell executive who left that company to bring his manufacturing experience to the fledgeling, but fast growing, Power Computing.

It was a wild ride for Mr. Kocher who saw sharp growth in sales under his watch, only to find much of his energy spent in battling Apple. His resignation followed an ultimatum to Power's board to either fight Apple in court over its refusal to renew its license to Power, or to say goodbye to Mr. Kocher. The board chose a buyout from Apple, and indeed bid adieu to the feisty Mr. Kocher. Check below for more details.

One year later, Apple begins shipping the fabulously successful Bondi Blue iMac. The iMac not only breathed new life into Apple, it single-handedly ushered in the age of USB as the de facto peripheral connecting technology, something the PC world had heretofore failed to do.

Within a year, however, other companies were trying to clone the iMac, and it was this week in 1998 that Apple sued one of them, eMachines, for its rip-off eOne. Apple eventually won an injunction, and successfully kept eMachines and all other would-be knock-off artists from copying the iMac.

It was this week in 2003 that Apple finally began shipping the Power Mac G5, pretty much ushering in yet another computing age, the age of 64-bit personal computing.

You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.

August 15-21

1986: Pixar's computer animation "Luxo Jr." premieres to critical acclaim at the annual SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics) conference. Pixar's five-person Animation Production Group--led by Disney alum John Lasseter--created short animations like "Luxo Jr." for training and to try out new technology, all the while working toward the goal of creating a feature-length animated movie. The short received an Academy Award nomination, and its cute anthropomorphized Anglepoise lamp became Pixar's mascot (and some would speculate it was also the inspiration for the flat-panel iMac Apple would release in 2001).

1997: Joel Kocher resigns from Power Computing after less than a year as president and COO. Kocher had come to the upstart Mac clone vendor from Dell Computer, and had big plans to expand the company and take it public. However, after Steve Jobs took control of Apple following the ouster of CEO Gil Amelio, he refused to allow clone makers to include the newly released Mac OS 8 on their systems. After failing to convince the Power Computing board to take Apple to court for breach of contract, Kocher resigned, followed by most of his executive staff. Within weeks Apple announced it would acquire Power Computing's customer database, its license to distribute the Mac OS, and certain key employees for US$100 million in Apple stock and roughly US$10 million to cover debts and closing costs.

1998: Apple begins shipping the original Bondi blue iMac (US$1,299) which had been announced in May. According to Apple, the iMac represented "the Internet-age computer for the rest of us." It came equipped with a 233MHz PowerPC G3, 32MB of RAM, 15-inch display, 4GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive, V.90 modem, and 10/100Base-T Ethernet. In its first six weeks of availability, Apple sold a total of 278,000 iMacs, making it the fastest-selling Macintosh model ever. The iMac almost single-handedly restored Apple to profitability and put the computing world on notice that the company was still an innovative force.

1999: Apple sues eMachines over its iMac-inspired Windows-based computer, the eOne (US$799). Apple felt that the colorful, translucent all-in-one case of the eOne illegally copied the trade dress of the iMac. Apple sought unspecified actual and punitive damages, and asked that eMachines be stopped from shipping its imitation iMacs. The Tokyo District Court issued a preliminary injunction against eMachines on September 20, 1999, and eMachines agreed in January 2000 to stop manufacturing, selling, or exporting the eOne.

2001: Apple releases Mac OS 9.2.1, a minor update that fixes a few bugs and provides compatibility with the new dual processor Power Mac G4 models that begin shipping at the same time.

2003: Apple begins shipping the two single-processor models of its new 64-bit Power Mac G5 line, starting at US$1,999 for the 1.6GHz model. The dual 2.0GHz Power Mac G5 (US$2,999) will ship late this month. Apple also announces that it has received orders for over 100,000 Power Mac G5s since its introduction on June 23.

is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, published by No Starch Press earlier this year (US$13.97 - Amazon).

is the editor of The Mac Observer, and was egged on, in-part, in his obsession with the Mac by Owen's first book, The Mac Bathroom Reader.

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This Week in Apple History Archives

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