March 20, 1997: Anniversary Mac Introduced

by Chris Seibold Mar 20, 2011

The traditional gift for a twentieth anniversary is china. There were no plates, cups or saucers when the Mac turned twenty. Instead, Apple treated Mac fans to the wildly expensive Mac 20th Anniversary Edition.

The special Mac (only 12,000 were made) featured a lot of firsts for Apple. It was the first desktop with a flat screen, the first desktop power PC departure from the beige box paradigm, first vertical CD drive, and the only desktop Mac to feature an integrated track pad.

Since only 12,000 of the machines were made and since they cost a whopping $7,499, most folks never saw one in person. Fortunately, a great many people got an eyeball full of the Anniversary Mac when they watched the hit series Seinfeld. Break out the champagne because the Twentieth Anniversary Mac was introduced March 20, in 1997.


  • The computer was also featured as Alfred’s personal computer in the absolutely atrocious Batman and Robin.

    Keith Sheehan had this to say on Mar 19, 2007 Posts: 11
  • Hey Mort, who used one in Seinfeld? Was it a single ep?

    Chris Howard had this to say on Mar 19, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • I bought a 20th Anniversary Mac for $1999 in 1998, when Apple cleared out its remaining stock (they didn’t sell well for $7500, or even for the initial reduced price of $4000, but when the price dropped to $2000 they were gone within days).  I used it as my principal word processing machine for the next four years.  It was a stunningly beautiful design, and with a 400 MHz G3 processor upgrade it ran at a reasonable speed.  Ultimately, the fact that the meager video card couldn’t be upgraded, the fact that the 800x600 screen was small and began to lose its brightness, and the fact that it couldn’t run OS X led me to give up the TAM in 2003.  But I never regretted owning it, and I still miss it sometimes.

    jeffcoop had this to say on Mar 20, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I got one of those $1999 TAM’s and for a few years it was a great “toy.” I can’t really say I used it too much as a work machine for the reasons already stated, but man, did it get the looks when I had people over. Sadly it was used less and less through the years but I kept it setup in my home built entertainment center and booted it up every now and then to show it to people.

    Recently though, that has changed. I originally moved it to my entertainment center in the hopes of someday using it to control my (4) Pioneer CD changers which had serial inputs. Digital music put a kibosh on that and I then tried coming up with ways of accessing my digital music. Not having OS X on it made it way too difficult. Then a combination of things changed this.

    1) I had an AppleTV hooked up to a flat screen to play videos and music. Cool but not ideal as I wanted better control over my music, from anywhere in the house (which was hard wired and had wireless).
    2) Apple upgraded the ATV with AirTunes. Now I could send out music simultaneously to different parts of the house through the ATV, AirPort Expresses and through my media servers (Mac mini) own speakers. Still really only one single point of control though.
    3) Stumbled on a cool little program/web interface called Signal, which ran on the server alongside iTunes AND had a web interface (originally for the iPhone - think Remote app on the iPhone but can do more).
    4) Since these were only web pages on the Signal server I made a dupe set and modified them to fit on the TAM’s 800x600 screen.
    5) iCab, which miraculously was still being maintained for OS9, just had enough JavaScript ummff to display the Signal pages, AND it had a Kiosk mode so it could do it in full screen.
    6) I also made screens for other computers throughout the house so I can access my music anywhere.
    7) And of course, Apple came out with the click iPhone Remote app which I can use on my iPhone anywhere within my wireless area.

    First time I used this setup in front of anybody else was a party. I had AirTunes streaming my music and cover art to my 46” Sammy in my living room, had the same cover art and music being displayed on my beautiful TAM next to it (exact same look as the Remote app) and I was walking around changing music on my iPhone. People were blown away and I’m happy to say my TAM has new life in it!

    TuckBodi had this to say on Mar 20, 2009 Posts: 1
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