As Andy prepares to depart for college, Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of Andy’s faithful toys wonder what will become of them. But, when a mix-up lands them at Sunnyside Daycare, they meet a host of new toys and soon discover a wild new adventure is just beginning! Take an amazing journey with some of the most beloved characters in movie history and discover what being a friend is truly all about.
This post is another in the series of me looking back at the technology related events that occurred during the year. The reason for the is because 2007 turned out to be a big year for me technology wise. This is the seventh in the series. the previous articles are:
Back in March I posted about the fact that I purchased a Late-2006 20-inch iMac. While that was both my first Mac overall, it was also my first desktop Mac. A mere 4 months later, I ended up buying a MacBook. In fact, the one that I ended up purchasing was the 13.3-inch Black MacBook.
The 13-inch Black MacBook was more expensive than the regular MacBook. In fact, it was quite a bit more, it started at $1499. The model that I got was the base model, because any upgrades would significantly add to the cost. The second reason I chose that model was because the base specifications were enough for what I needed. On the topic of specifications, let us look at the specifications.
What was interesting with the 13-inch Black MacBook was that it had most of the same specifications as the Late 2006 20-inch iMac that I had purchased. It had a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, with 1GB of RAM. The only difference between that and 20-inch iMac is that the MacBook only had a 160GB 5400 hard drive, whereas the iMac had a 250GB 7200 hard drive.
These specs go along with the two USB 2.0 ports and single Firewire port. Along with this, the MacBook had a first-generation MagSafe power port.
The MacBook came with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The last version of OS X that the 13-inch MacBook supported was Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. The reason that it did not support any newer operating system is the fact that the Intel 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo is a 32-bit processor, and the logic board was 32-bit as well. Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion dropped support for 32-bit processors.
Having multiple Macs, I know I ended up buying the family pack of macOS Leopard so I could install it both of my Macs. The upgrade price of $199, so for $70 more than the single price you could install it up to five computers. This was a great thing to have at the time. Now, of course, macOS upgrades are free, so no special licensing is needed.
On the topic of upgrades, let us look at upgrading the hardware next.
Even though I purchased just the base model, it was inevitable thaT I would upgrade the MacBook, because it was still possible with that model.One of the best features of the 13-inch Black MacBook was the simplicity of upgrading. The upgrade process was pretty quick. The steps were:
Turn off the MacBook.
Unlock the battery using a coin.
Remove the battery.
Unscrew the four screws holding the memory and hard drive cover.
Remove the memory and hard drive cover.
Once you have removed the cover, you had access to the memory and the hard drive. For the hard drive you could easily remove it with the tab on the hard drive enclosure. The memory could easily be removed by pressing on the two tabs next to the hard drives.
I do not know when, but I know I upgraded both the hard drive and the memory. I know I ended up installing a 250GB 7200 RPM drive and 3GB of memory.
The MacBook was designed to be portable. At the same time, it was not an inexpensive item. Because of the price, I went looking for a way to protect it, even while I traveled with it. I went looking for a good solution. I ended up buying two things. The first was an Incase 13-inch Laptop sleeve, which I still use to this day, but for my 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Th second item I purchased was a Pelican case. Specifically, it was the Pelican 1450.
The reason I chose this case was two fold. The first reason is that, as mentioned above, I wanted something that I knew could protect the laptop and a Pelican case definitely could do that. The second reason I went with this model was that it included an insert system that consists of tiny blocks. The blocks can be removed individually which would allow you to customize the function of the case.
Therefore, what I ended up doing was creating a layout for being able to transport just about anything that I could possibly need to transport with it. This included the power brick, the extended charging cord which would go into the power brick, a Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, a Mini-DVI to HDMI adapter, an ethernet cable, and other various cables that I might need, like USB to 30-pin cables.
Was the Pelican case excessive? Looking back now, yes, it was. I definitely did not need such a rugged case. I still have the case today, but it not really used for anything, but I am reluctant to get rid of it, because If I want to use it for something else, I simply need to get a replacement foam set and reconfigure it as necessary.
Now, let us look at how I use the 2007 Black MacBook now.
I no longer really use the 13-inch MacBook. It still functions, but the battery ended up swelling, so I removed it. Furthermore, my brother needed a replacement power cord for his MacBook Pro, so I gave him mine, along with a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter that he can use for his 2012 MacBook Pro.
After initially writing this, I ended up buying a replacement power adapter and a NewerTech battery from MacSales.com. After I powered up the MacBook there were a few updates that needed to be installed, and the last version of macOS that is supported on the Machine is Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which was released in 2011 and the last update was in October of 2012, so it’s been a while since I booted up the MacBook.
Therefore, if I need any data off of the hard drive, I can either copy it directly on the MacBook, using File Sharing, or even use Screen Sharing to copy data.
Even though the 13-inch Black MacBook was more expensive, it did have some higher specifications when purchased. I used the 2007 Black MacBook regularly from 2007 until April of 2015 when I purchased an early-2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, which coincidentally, I am actually using now to write this post, so almost a full eight years of usage of the 2007 MacBook before it was replaced.
I miss the pure black color on the 2007 MacBook. I understand why it is not possible to get a pure black MacBook Pro these days, but it would be really nice to get a MacBook Pro that is darker than the current Space Gray, even if it would cost a bit more for the color.
All throughout history, technology has improved. There are some technologies that have had significant impacts on society, whether the impact is an overall positive or negative one depends on ones perspective. One thing that cannot really be argued is that smartphones have had a significant impact on modern society and have become a necessary item in today’s society.
Smart Phones are a bit older than you might realize, in fact the first “smartphone” was actually developed by IBM in 1994, but, needless to say it was a bit before its time. Fast forward eight years to 2002 when the first Palm Treo was released, the Treo 180. The Palm Treo line of smartphones wee some of the first ones that people have heard of. The Treo 180 was the first cell phone to incorporate some of the features which would later become commonplace. These features included a full QWERTY keyboard. The Treo 180 did not not have much connectivity. It only had an single Infrared port, which was used to connect the device to a computer, or you could use the USB port to connect, which was probably a better option overall.
While the Treo was first, it was quickly followed by devices running WindowsCE, like the Palm Treo 750 and the Blackberry Pearl, by Research in Motion (RIM), introduced in 2006. While smartphones were popular amongst enterprise users, BlackBerry was the most popular smartphone company with its focus squarely on enterprise. Beyond its reach with enterprises, Blackberry became quite popular amongst the general population. No matter how popular the Treo and BlackBerry phones would be, they had not had any breakout hits that would become must have items.
It actually took a company, whom nobody would have expected, to completely reimagine the smartphone. The reimagining would not only revolutionize the smartphone industry, but it would also revolutionize the entire technology industry. The device would put the company on a solid financial footing and subsequently make it one of the most profitable companies in history. That company is, of course, Apple. The product that started its meteoric rise was the iPhone.
The name iPhone is one that is easily recognized all over the world. I am not sure if it is just as well known as Coca-Cola, but it is definitely up there. The original iPhone was introduced by Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo on January 9th, 2007. You can read my entire recap on the iPhone’s introduction.
I could do an in-depth history of the iPhone, but that is not what this post is about. Instead, it is about the original iPhone, 15 years later. It might be worthwhile to re-read my first post in this series about the introduction of the iPhone. Before we dive into the iPhone, let us briefly look at my cell phone history before that.
My Cell Phone History
I have used an iPhone since 2007. Prior to that I had used three different cell phones. These were the iconic Nokia 3310, a candy bar-style phone with a monochrome screen and a standard cell phone non-QWERTY keyboard, a Samsung T637, another candy bar-style phone, with the same non-QWERTY keyboard, but this one had a color screen, and a Razr V3. The Razr V3 was a clamshell phone, but also only had a non-QWERTY keyboard, but also had a color screen. The Razr V3 was so popular that it sold 130 million units during its lifetime, becoming the single most popular clamshell phone, a record which it still holds today.
I used the Nokia 3310 for approximately 3 years, the same for the Samsung T637, and I used the Razr V3 for about 2 years. Overall, this was three cell phones in seven years, or about 28 months each, which is close to the average that most use their cell phones before replacing them.
Now, this all changed with my next phone, the iPhone, so let us look at that next by starting with my Launch Day/Pickup day experience.
Launch Day/Pickup Day
If you have been reading the blog for a while you may recognize the fact that I tend to try and get new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches on the day that they are released. For the most part, I have been able to do so. One product that I did not get on launch day was the original iPhone, but it was not much after the launch that I got one.
It was not that I was not interested in the phone, I absolutely was. However, I had not made up my mind as to whether or not to get one. Because of my indecision I did not go on launch day, June 29th, 2007. I actually went to the Apple store on the following day, June 30th, 2007. I was actually glad I did not go on launch day because from what the Apple Store employee told me, it was super busy.
I actually got up early to go to the Apple Store and wait. The Apple store that I go to now is much closer than the one I had to go to at that time, it was the only close Apple store. So, I made the drive. I arrived a few hours before the store opened, just to be on the safe side because I was not sure how many people may have been in line. When I got there I was not the first person in line, but the line was not that long. In fact, I ended up being the fourth person in line that day.
The original iPhone came in two storage sizes, a 4GB model and an 8GB version. I opted for the 4GB model. I got this model for two reasons. The first was cost, which was $499, and after tax it came out to about $537. The second reason was that adding the iPhone would increase my cellular plan because an unlimited data plan was required.
Unlike today where the iPhone is on almost every carrier, the original iPhone was only available on AT&T. I had actually switched to AT&T a couple years before, so I did not have to worry about switching carriers and transferring phone numbers.
Let us now turn to the iPhone by stating to look at the design of the original iPhone.
One of the aspects of the original iPhone that is iconic, is the design. The original iPhone had rounded corners, with a flat back that goes into the rounded corners. The back of the original iPhone was a combination of plastic and brushed aluminum. The plastic was black and was only covering the antenna to be allow the antennas to connect to the cell towers without any attenuation.
This general shape has, for the most part, remained consistent and is the basis for all modern smartphones since 2007. There have been different materials used, and various different thicknesses of the devices, but overall, it has remained very similar to the original. This was such a radical change that there have been only a few improvements to the overall design in the intervening 15 years. If you were to travel back and show someone an iPhone SE from 2022 they would easily be able to recognize it as such, just a more modern version, and with a larger screen.
The biggest change would be what features the original iPhone had on it.
The original iPhone had only a few physical capabilities and connections. These features included:
30-pin Dock Connector
A headphone jack
As you might expect, the original iPhone camera is no where near the quality of cameras when compared to today’s iPhones. Yet, back in 2007 the camera was an upgrade to other cell phones like the Razr v3.
The headphone jack was very helpful if you wanted to listen to something without annoying others around you. You could use any headphones you wanted, but you could also use the included Apple headphones with microphone set. These headphones allowed you to control the playback of music by clicking on the volume up and down on the headphones.
Now that we have covered the features, let us look at what is arguably more important, the software.
The form factor and physical features of the iPhone were not the only aspect that was radically different. What was even more radical was the entire software stack. The approach that Apple took with the software on the iPhone was different. Instead of building something entirely new, they took some of the foundations of OS X and then built an entirely new user interface and set of interactions on top of that base.
The original software for the iPhone was not called an operating system, as we do so today. Instead, it was being referred to as “firmware”, which is essentially the operating system for most devices. In reality, the two names are interchangeable, but back then Apple always referred to it as the firmware. The name of the firmware was called iPhoneOS. Regardless of what you name it, when you powered up the iPhone there were only sixteen applications for the entire system. The original list of applications were:
Maps (powered by Google)
All of these apps, with the exclusion of YouTube are still on the iPhone today. Some have changed a bit, SMS is now Messages, Maps is now powered by Apple’s own product, iPod has been replaced by Music, and Settings has been renamed to System Preferences, but the remainders are all on the iPhone to this day.
I could easily go into each of the apps on the original iPhone, but I will not do, with the exception of a single app. The app I want to focus on is Safari.
At the original iPhone introduction Steve Jobs made sure to reiterate that the iPhone was a “breakthrough internet communicator”. This was not just because it was a phone, but because it included a web browser. That browser was Safari. The version of Safari included on the iPhone was not the slimmed down version of Safari, but the full version of Safari. This meant that you could view actual webpages and not a stripped down version of the pages. This was a fundamental shift in the way that people consumed the internet while on the go.
Before you could actually do anything though, you would need to activate the iPhone, so let us look at that now.
Syncing and Activating
Before you could actually use the iPhone you needed to activate the iPhone. This was done by plugging in the iPhone using the provided USB-A to 30-pin Dock connector to your Mac or PC. When you did this, iTunes would open. At this point, iTunes would walk you through connecting the iPhone and activating it with AT&T. Once it was activated you could then begin to use the phone or synchronize media to it.
The original iPhone was a lot like an iPod, where it would need to be synchronized with a Mac or PC to be able to transfer media to the iPhone. The items that you could transfer included music, movies, podcasts, and even ringtones.
The original iPhone did have the iTunes Store on it. So you could purchase music, videos, and ringtones right on your iPhone. When you would next synchronize your iPhone with your Mac or PC your purchases would be transferred back to your computer for safe keeping.
Once you had synchronized your device, you could start to use it. In order to access your iPhone, you would have to perform an iconic gesture, Swipe to Unlock. It is arguable but the iPhone’s Swipe to Unlock gesture was there for two reasons. One, because it looked cool, and second was to stop you from accidentally performing a task on the iPhone inadvertently. The primary interaction point of the iPhone was, and remains, the screen. So, let us look at that now.
The original iPhone came with a glass front. The glass was a special type of glass, called Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass was designed by Corning to be tougher than regular glass and bit more scratch resistant. While glass is what we are all used to, the original iPhone prototypes had plastic screens. But while Steve Jobs was using the prototypes, the screen began to scratch when it came into contact with keys, so he told the team it needed to change. If you had a first-generation iPod nano you might be well aware of what can happen to a plastic screen, it scratches a lot easier.
The screen was a 3.5-inch diagonal screen with a resolution of 163 pixels per inch. This meant that the screen was non-retina, but this was a substantially larger screen than any other one on the market and would be great, particularly in widescreen, for playing videos on the screen.
Let us now look at another interaction item, the keyboard.
The most notable feature that the iPhone ushered in, and that other manufactures would quickly adopt, was the elimination of the physical keyboard. Instead, the entire front of the iPhone was all glass. The benefit of the all-glass front is that the keyboard could be shown or hidden as needed. This was a genuine shift from the physical keyboards on any smart phones at the time. There were definitely some who were resistant to using a software keyboard, but the utility of being able to use the entire screen, and not having half the screen taken up by an immovable keyboard, outweighed the physical keyboard.
There was one feature that Apple included with the original iPhone that aided people with typing on glass.. That feature was autocorrect. Autocorrect had been available on the Mac of a long time. I remember that as I was typing away on the iPhone that it would fix most of the typos that I had. What I did not know at the time, but came to realize later, was that the iPhone keyboard would actually enlarge the target area for each key based on predicting what the system thought you wanted to type next. So, if you got close enough it would send that you actually tapped on the proper key. This was a nice little touch to the entire system.
One of the most useful features of the iPhone was the always on connectivity, no matter where you were, so let us turn to Wi-Fi and Cellular next.
Wi-Fi and Cellular
It was only a few years before the iPhone, on July 21st, 1999 to be precise, where Apple introduced the first iBook with an Airport Wireless card. The inclusion of the AirPort Wireless card meant that you would not need to be plugged into ethernet in order to be able to connect to the internet, provided you had access to a wireless network In those short eight years, wireless networks had become quite commonplace. In 2007, there were only three wireless standards, 802.11b (2.4GHz), 802.11a (5GHz), and 802.11g (2.4GHz).
The original iPhone only supported the 2.4GHz networks, so 802.11b and 802.11g. At 54 megabits per second, the Wi-Fi speeds of 802.11g, the faster of the two supported networks, were plenty fast for the time. Honestly, either of the two wireless standards would definitely outpace the cellular service at the time. Speaking of cellular, let us move to that.
We have become very accustom to being able to use an iPhone on almost any carrier almost anywhere in the world. That was definitely not the case 15 years ago with the original iPhone. There was only a single carrier, AT&T, and the iPhone initially launched only in the U.S. This agreement was an exclusive contract, meaning that you had to be an AT&T customer in order to use an iPhone.
The iPhone came with 2G cellular connectivity. The maximum speed possibles with 2G is 384 kbit/s, which in today’s world is laughable, although depending on where you are it may seem like your speeds are that slow. Even though today the speeds would not be sustainable, having the ability to always be connected to a cellular network no matter where you were was a new and novel experience for many users.
As you might expect, the iPhone was not free and would require a purchase. Let us see what the original iPhone cost.
The original iPhone came in two storage sizes, 4GB and 8GB. The 4GB model was $499, and the 8GB model was $599. Those were the prices for the device and they required a 2-year contract. There were some people who switched. AT&T took a big risk partnering with Apple, but it definitely paid off for them given how many people switched.
Part of the contract that you agreed to included an additional fee of $20 per month for unlimited 2G data. That means that you could use 1GB of data and it would only cost $20 per month. I am sure there were some that were hesitant about having to pay a fee, but I did not hesitate to pay it. Not just because I wanted the iPhone, but the idea of being able to download things no matter where I was at was very appealing.
It is hard to go back and think about how things were at the time, as compared to today, but sometimes it is a worthwhile exercise to partake in, just to try and remember how things used to be before the modern times. One of the things that the original iPhone could not do, but would eventually be able to do, was download apps. Let us look at third-party apps on the iPhone.
Third-Party Apps (Or Lack there of)
The original iPhone shipped with only built-in apps and no official way for third-parties to build applications for the platform. Apple did offer a solution. According to Steve Jobs at the announcement, it was a “sweet solution”. That solution was web apps. While there were some that did build web apps designed for the iPhone, there were not many. Despite the fact that there was no official software development kit, that would not arrive until the next year, that did not deter people from trying to reverse engineer the software to be able to run their own apps.
Updating the iPhone
Beyond the physical device and its completely new design, there was another aspect to the entire system that Apple changed, and that was regarding software updates. Prior to the iPhone a cell phone manufacturer would create an update to a phone and it was up to the carrier’s discretion as to when to create updates. However, that is not how the iPhone was updated. Instead, Apple was in control of when the iPhone would get an update.
There may be many things that Android users can righty claim that they had first. However, there is no doubt that all smartphone users can thank Apple for. Let us now look at some critiques and criticism at the time of the launch.
The original iPhone was received mostly positively. The device was such a sea change that many, myself included, were merely enamored with what the original iPhone could do. When Apple announced the iPhone, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs had stated that they had hoped to sell one million iPhones by the end of September 2007, and to have 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008. 10 Million units for any product is considered a success. It took Apple a mere 74 days to sell its one million iPhone, see the Apple PR item at https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2007/09/10Apple-Sells-One-Millionth-iPhone/.
Just over 2 months from the iPhone going on sale, Apple made a decision to reduce the pricing of the 8GB iPhone model from $599 to $399. At the same time, they removed the 4GB model from sale. As an owner of the 4GB model I was a bit surprised that my less than three-month old iPhone was now completely obsoleted and no longer available for sale. But, overall, it did not bother me. I was happy with the iPhone as it was.
The price drop was not the last change for the original iPhone. In February 2008, Apple released a 16GB version of the iPhone for the same price as the original 4GB model, $499. By the time the original iPhone was replaced it had sold 6.1 million units. Needless to say, Apple easily hit their 10 million iPhone mark before the end of calendar year 2008.
The iPhone was not universally seen as a great device, there were some that did think there were some issues with it. Let us look back at those next.
Critiques and Criticisms
When the iPhone was first released, not everybody was completely enamored with it. There were some that thought that it had no future and it was a folly for Apple to get into the cellphone market.
There were two main criticisms. The first, and biggest, critique was that the iPhone only supported 2G cellular, even though 3G connectivity was available. On one hand, this was legit criticism yet, in the overall scheme it was not. This is because in June of 2007 there were only 200 million 3G subscribers in the entire world, or 6.7% of the nearly 3 billion cellular phones in use at that time.
According to Comscore, in June 2007, for the entirety of the United States, there was only 16.7% of the population that was covered by 3G. See https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2008/09/US-Adoption-of-3G-Mobile-Devices. Therefore, in my opinion, Apple made the right tradeoff. Even in 2008, a year after the launch of the iPhone, 3G penetration was just over 28.4% in the United States. That means not even 1/3 of subscribers had the opportunity to get 3G.
The second criticism was the pricing. Today, we are used to paying for phones either all up-front or over the course of 12 to 24 months. However, that was not always the case. When cell phones were originally coming into fashion, and especially during the mid to late 2000s, it was very common for one to get an a phone with a heavy subsidy. This typically came in the form of contracts where the cell phone carrier would spread out the overall cost of the device over the length of the contract. This is what people had become accustomed to and the price tag of $499, or $599 seemed a bit high.
While there was no direct subsidy for the original iPhone, one would be coming with its successor, but that is a whole separate story.
Using the Original iPhone Today
Sadly, the primary feature of the iPhone, the phone, can no longer be used because 2G cellular networks, which the device was based on, are no longer in service. Even the 3G networks, the successor to 2G, are being shut down. Even though it can no longer be used as a phone, if you plug in an iPhone into a modern Mac, it will still appear in Finder. You can still synchronize music, movies, tv shows, and apps to it. So, you could actually use the original iPhone as a 4GB iPod to this day. No, it will not support any streaming services, but if you synchronize music to it, it will work. I am not sure how much longer Apple will continue to support these older devices on modern operating systems, but as of this writing they are still supported on macOS 12.4.
While I may not use my original iPhone every day, I do use my iPhone every singe day for multiple hours each day. I am constantly listening to music, audiobook, or podcasts on it. Beyond this, I am using various social media apps multiple times a day and do not even bat at an eye when switching between Wi-Fi and using 5G. Yes, I do notice the speed differences, but the fact that I can get just about anything at my fingertips is still an amazing thing to behold.
The original iPhone will always hold a special place in my life. I distinctly remember the drive to the Apple Store, waiting in line, and subsequently setting up the iPhone, performing the initial synchronization, and even using the iPhone. It makes me smile even today when I think back at how I felt on June 30th, 2007 when I first started using the iPhone. 15 years later, I know I often take for granted the fact that I have been able to purchase a new iPhone each year. Furthermore, I also seem to forget just how incredible it is that 15 years later I am using a phone that was a radical shift in the technology world.
I do not have my original 4GB iPhone, and this saddens me a bit. Despite this, I did buy another refurbished 4GB original iPhone. Even though I only had 4GB of storage on my iPhone, it was still a fantastic device. There are many who might claim that some technology or product is “revolutionary”. Often these people are mistaken. However, in the case of the iPhone when people said the iPhone was going to change everything were absolutely correct and how it changed everything cannot be understated.
The original iPhone was the start of a significant shift in technology and it has shaped significant aspects of today’s modern society. The iPhone had pushed the entire technology industry to shift in major ways. The iPhone showed that there was an appetite for a smart phone with always on cellular connectivity, and it would not only be the techies who would buy it , but the general public would as well.
I know for me the iPhone is probably the one piece of technology that has had the most profound impact on everything that I do today. It was the device that started the app revolution, but more importantly spurred the cellular providers to keep increasing capacity to accommodate subscribers. I do not know where we would be if the iPhone was not the massive success that it has turned out to be.
It has been 15 years since the original iPhone got into the hands of consumers. I would love to see Apple bring back a special edition iPhone, maybe for the 25th anniversary, that has the same shape and design as the original iPhone, but bigger with the latest internals. I doubt that Apple would do that, because they do not look back at the past, only the future. But, it would be an interesting thing to see.
This is another article in that series. This one will cover the original Apple TV.
Apple TV Introduction
Typically, when Apple introduces a new product they do not pre-announce it. However, there is are exceptions to this. The only exceptions is when Apple introduces a new product line, that requires certification by regulation agencies, like the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. The reason for this is that Apple would rather control the introduction and information as opposed to having it be released by another agency.
Apple initially announced the Apple TV, then called the iTV, in September of 2006. You can watch the introduction video below.
On March 21st, 2007 Apple began shipping the Apple TV. So let us look back at the 1st generation Apple TV.
Apple TV (1st Generation)
Of course at its release it was not called the 1st generation Apple TV, it was just the Apple TV. The original Apple TV was a smaller and thinner version of another Apple product, the Mac mini.
In fact, the physical size of the Apple TV was 7.7 inches by 7.7 inches by about 1.1 inches tall. This would fit nicely in a stereo cabinet with other devices.
The original Apple TV had two different connection types, HDMI and component video. The reason for both is that not all TVs at the time had HDMI connections, but many at least had component.
The Apple TV was limited to either 480p or 720p when playing video. However, the interface could be shown at 1080p.
The Apple TV also had an ethernet jack as well, only a 10/100 Mbps connection. This was enough bandwidth to easily stream from a computer to the Apple TV. Ethernet was not on the only connection you could use.
I know I tended to use Wireless more often than the wired connection. The Apple TV could connect to 802.11a/b/g/n. Even 802.11g would be fast enough for streaming 720p video, and since 802.11n was faster, it was definitely able to handle it. However, there was one area the speed would be even more beneficial, and that was the primary use case, syncing.
Syncing with iTunes
The Apple TV was effectively a giant iPod. This meant that you could connect the Apple TV to iTunes and synchronize data over to it. The Apple TV would appear in iTunes and you could then choose the movies, podcasts, or TV shows to synchronize.
Storage and Pricing
The Apple TV came in two storage sizes, a 40GB or a 160GB model. Both of these were 5400RPM 2.5-inch laptop hard drives. The 40GB model cost $299 and the 160GB model cost $399.
The first-generation Apple TV contained a low-power Intel processor. This made sense because the Apple TV was developed early into Apple’s transition to Intel processor. Specifically it has a 1.0 GHz Intel Pentium M. It had 256MB of RAM with an integrated Nvidia GeForce Go graphics card with 64 Megabytes of dedicated video RAM.
The way that you interacted with the Apple TV was by using a white plastic remote. This was the same remote that was included with iMacs at the time. You could also use an aluminum remote as well.
These remotes have a four way directional pad with a click button in the middle.
Apple also introduced an iOS app that would allow you to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to use the Apple TV. Sometimes it was easier to use the iOS iTunes Remote, particularly when you needed to enter in a password.
Even though the Apple TV started shipping in March, it was not until May 5th, 2007 that I actually picked up an Apple TV. The model I got was the 40GB model. This was because it was cheaper at $299 and it was the most I was willing to spend at the time.
The Apple TV was a spur of the moment type of purchase and not one that I had really planned on making. I distinctly remember where I bought it from, it was a Circuit City. I was looking through some old paperwork and I ran across the receipt at some point recently. Although, now I cannot seem to find the original receipt.
The original Apple TV Today
Unlike many old Macs, you cannot really use the original Apple TV in its original configuration today. Since iTunes is no longer able to sync, you cannot add any media to the device.
There still is one thing that you can do with the 1st generation Apple TV, it was possible to use it as an AirPlay destination. I was not able to get my video to AirPlay to the Apple TV, but I could get music to AirPlay successfully. Therefore, if you have an original Apple TV you can still use it for at least one thing. The AirPlaying was done with my mid-2017 iMac running macOS Monterey.
Personally, I do not use my original Apple TV anymore. I have since upgraded to several of the newer models. I do still use the first generation Apple TV as a way of raising up my iMac or another monitor, depending on what I need. When I did briefly plug the first generation Apple TV again, the hard drive was a bit nosier than I had remembered, but it was still operational.
The Apple TV was a good device for its time. Even though it required you to sync data over to it, the speed of the wireless connection, with 802.11N, or even the 100Mbps ethernet connection, would synchronize data fairly quickly.
The fact that it was the same physical footprint as the Mac mini allowed it fit nicely into an entertainment center with other devices. The Intel Pentium M processor was a lower speed, but allowed for passive cooling, so there was no fan noise.
There is one spot where there might be noise, and that would be the 40GB or 160GB spinning hard drive could be the place where noise would be heard, particularly as the device got on in age.
The Apple TV cannot really be used with any modern Mac, with the exception of being an AirPlay destination. Therefore, if you do have the need for a TV and you still have an original Apple TV, you could still use it.
This article continues the series that I started earlier this year called “15 Years Later”. The series is intended to look back at 2007 and many of the big things that happened in relation to technology, at least in my life.
Next in the series relates to the Windows Vista article, and that is my first Mac. We will get to my first Mac in a bit, but before that let us look at a brief history of my interactions and usage of Apple products prior to 2007.
A Brief History with Apple and their products
One of the things that Apple did during the 1980s and 1990s was try to get Macs into schools. Because of this many people’s first interactions with Apple were through these computers. I am no exception. Throughout school we had Macs, not everywhere, but we definitely had labs of Macs. Some of these included Apple IIs. I remember playing Oregon Trail on the green screens.
We did have a hand-me-down Apple II at home for a while and we played some games on it, games like Into the Eagles Nest, Oregon Trail, and others. However, we also had PCs where we used those most often.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s we had PCs, all Gateway computers in fact. Since we had PCs, I did not have much interaction with Apple and Macs until around February of 2005 when I needed up buying a 1st generation iPod mini. This was after the 2nd generation had been introduced. I managed to get an iPod Mini on sale. So this was my first actual Apple device that I bought.
It was not that I was not aware of Apple products, I was. However, as mentioned, I was using PCs at the time. Including purchasing Windows Vista, which was a complete disaster when it launched. Because of my significant issues with Vista, I started looking more intently at the Mac.
On March 28th, 2007 I bought my first Mac. Before I dive into my recollections of the iMac, let us look at what led me to getting the iMac.
Deciding on the Mac
There were many things that lead me to getting the iMac. The biggest of these was the fact that it had an Intel processor. What this meant is that I could run Windows either via virtualization or natively via Apple’s Boot Camp functionality.
At the time, I distinctly thinking that if I was to get a Mac I would definitely want it to be an Intel-based one so that I could run Windows if I needed. If it did manage to turn out that I did not necessarily want to use the Mac, I could always just boot into Windows and use the iMac as a Windows computer.
I do remember looking at a Mac mini as an option, but the specs on the 20-inch iMac were higher than what was possible on the Mac mini. Therefore, I decided to get an iMac.
My First iMac
As I posted at the time, the first Mac that I purchased was a 20-inch Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with a 128MB ATI Radeon x1600 dedicated graphics card, with 1GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive.
I remember wanting the 24-inch model, but it was more than I wanted to spend at the time. The 20-inch iMac had decent specs. At the time 250GB of storage was enough for what I needed.
The 250GB hard drive would allow me to store a lot of data, including having enough space to carve out for Windows, whether using Parallels or Bootcamp. On the topic of Windows, let us look at that briefly.
As mentioned above, one of the reasons I opted to get an Intel-based Mac was to be able to run Windows, in some form, should I need to. There are two ways to be able to run Windows on an Intel-based Mac. You can either use virtualization, using software like Parallels, VMWare Fusion, or even VirtualBox or by using Apple’s Bootcamp.
Virtualization allows you to run both macOS and Windows at the same time. When you run Windows within macOS is considered the “host” operating system, while Windows is the “guest” operating system. This technique works well if you have Windows-only software that you need to run, but you still want to be able to use your Mac apps at the same time.
Meanwhile, Apple’s Bootcamp will allow you to run Windows natively on a Mac. This means that you will not be able to access any of the Mac apps, nor run them, because using Bootcamp means that you are booting directly into Windows, and not macOS.
I remember installing Windows in Bootcamp on the iMac. Instead of installing Windows Vista, I ended up installing Windows XP. I did not suspect I would have the same drivers issues that I was experiencing on Windows Vista itself, because Apple was the one who wrote the drivers for Bootcamp, and they surely did not want users to have a bad experience.
Speaking of macOS, let us look at some of the things that were on macOS at the time.
The 20-inch iMac that I purchased in 2007 was running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Tiger included a number of features, like Spotlight, iChat, and Dashboard. It would support four different
I remember thinking that macOS was significantly different than Windows, and it was then, and it still is even today. Coming from Windows it was initially tough to adjust to the different paradigm of how things are setup on macOS. One thing that many people did not necessarily need to deal with in Windows, at least at home, is permissions. Most macOS users do not need to worry about them either, but given the Unix underpinnings of macOS, power users may need some basic knowledge of permissions.
The Late 2006 20-inch iMac came with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, but it would support up to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which was released in 2011. Just about five years of support for a desktop in the mid-to-late 2000s was more than most could
It did take some time, but eventually I got comfortable with the way things worked with the Mac. There is one particular set of apps I want to discuss, and those are text editors. So let us look those next.
I distinctly remember being both excited and disoriented at the same time. The way macOS works is different than Windows. Beyond that, the applications were significantly different.
Safari has come pre-installed with macOS for over 20 years now. It is the default browser, and the one that I use more often than any other, even to this day. The web is the web and things all worked the same. However, one area where things are vastly different is when it comes to programming tools.
When using Windows I primarily ended up using Notepad for almost all of my code editing. When I started using the iMac, I figured I would use the same technique. In the case of macOS, the text editor is TextEdit.
While this worked, I figured there had to be a better option. I started looking around and eventually stumbled across TextWrangler. TextWrangler was the free version of Bare Bones’ software BBEdit. TextsWrangler has since stopped being updated, but there is a free evaluation version of BBEdit.
Most of today’s Apple products cannot be upgraded in any way. As of this writing, which is just after Apple’s “Peek Performance” event, there are only two device that can be upgraded. The Intel-based Mac mini and that is the 2019 Mac Pro. Back in 2007 this was not the case. Almost all of Apple’s computers could be upgraded.
It was not long before I ended up adding additional memory within two weeks of getting the iMac. I thought it was longer, but it was about 10 days, according to this post.
The upgrade procedure was quite straight forward.
Turn off and unplug the iMac
Unscrew the two screws at the bottom of the iMac to expose the memory. The screws did not come out of the cover.
Remove the cover.
Pull the two tabs to pop out the memory.
Put in the new memory.
Secure the screws on the cover.
Plug back in and turn on the iMac.
If done properly, it would be an easy upgrade. And so that is what I ended up doing, upgrading the memory. There was a limitation of the Late 2006 20-inch iMac is that it was a 32-bit systems. This meant that the maximum amount of memory that the system could address was 3GB of RAM, technically 3.22GB. Additionally, with only two slots of memory, this meant that the iMac could have a 1GB and a 2GB memory module to get the maximum amount of memory. Technically, you could install two 2GB modules, but again, the maximum memory was 3.22GB. If you needed that extra 220MB of memory, it could be a worthy upgrade.
The 1GB that came with the iMac would have been enough for just running macOS, but having the 2GB of memory would be needed to run Parallels. This was actually a prudent decision on my part, because the next version of macOS, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard needed 2GB of RAM to run.
I no longer have the 20-inch iMac in my possession, so I can not verify , but if I recall properly the screen was not of the best quality. Yes, it was 20 inches diagonally and it worked well, for the time. At this point in time though. I do not know if I could even handle a 24-inch screen, let alone a 20-inch screen, I have become way too accustomed to having a 27-inch monitor
I do not regret getting the 20-inch iMac back in 2007. It was a good machine for the time and allowed me to learn a new operating system, yet at the same time move away from the problems of Windows Vista. The answer was the iMac.
The Late 2006 20-inch iMac will always have a special place in the computers I have owned. This is because it was my foray into the world of Macs and macOS. The iMac I bought in 2007 was not the last Apple product, let alone Mac, that I would buy during the year. But those are products for posts later in the year.
The picture below is from the box for the iMac, even though I do not have the iMac itself, I still do have the box. It makes a great place to put things on that are not too heavy.