There was a touch iMac in 1999 and it has been more important than you think

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the possibility that there will eventually be a Mac model with a touch screen. Well, the truth is that, although Apple has released computer models with touch screens on the iPad, leaving the “classic” control interface for computers, in 1999 there was an iMac model that had a touch screen and was fully functional. You do not believe it? We bring it to you in this post!

How is it possible that an iMac with a touch screen existed? What model was it? Was it official from Apple? Below we are going to answer these and many other questions.

It was a colorful iMac G3 and was developed by an external company

On Apple’s part there was no intention of making a computer with a tube touch screen. In fact, today, being accustomed to flat touch interfaces, it is surprising to see how a cathode ray tube screen was capable of supporting this system.

It was the content creator Michael MJD, who on his YouTube channel has unveiled this limited-run equipment. In the video he reveals how he came across this computer, as well as the amount he paid to get one of these: $1,765.50.

In 1999, a company called Elo, what it did was modify these devices, so that they could be used for the public, and people would have a touch interface with which to interact. In other words, virtual kiosks. “These computers were sold through the Apple Valued Reseller program,” he explains. “Basically what they did was buy these computers directly from Apple, install the touch sensors and then resell them.”

The touch sensor that this model had inside was called iTouch for iMac, and the interaction method is based on direct contact of the finger with the CRT glass, as explained by Michael MJD. The operating system is based on a logic board, inside the iMac, which is connected by USB to one of the ports. And nothing more.

One of the most surprising things is that we no longer see a 1999 computer with a touch screen. It also had 3D Touch. Not with this name, but with the same principle. What came with the iPhone 6S, of pressing the screen harder, to detect pressure levels seemed innovative to us. But the truth is that this touch iMac, thanks to the Elo sensors, was capable of detecting different levels of pressure.

Today, the same manufacturers of this touch iMac continue to be active in the world of the business sector, where they are dedicated to developing software and touch screens for stores, businesses and all types of points of sale in general.

The most curious thing is that this iMac does not look different from the rest of the other computers that were not modified. And the touch interface, too, since everything ran under the old Mac OS graphical environment. Without a doubt, a revolution for its time, which although it was not something officially promoted by Apple, over the years we have been able to see different implementations in products that, like the iPhone, would not be invented until a few years later.