A couple of weeks ago, I had to lay my eight-year-old iMac to rest. After years of faithful service, it had finally died beyond repair. I do not like shopping for new computers, nor do I like spending money on them. To me, buying a new computer is as exciting as buying a new dryer.
Take a second to think back to 2009. President Obama was still in his first year of office, Sweden legalised gay marriage, Taylor Swift was still considered a country music artist, and one of the most popular iPhone apps was Tweetie 2.
My new iMac came with arguably the best Mac operating system of all time, OS X Snow Leopard. With Snow Leopard, Apple had finally nailed what OS X was meant to be. The main purpose of the update was speed, and with that came increased performance, efficiency and stability. It refined Leopard and the previous versions of OS X into something that anyone could use happily with no major problems.
I had saved up all my money that year to buy a new 27-inch iMac. I tricked it out as much as I could, with an upgrade to the i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and the wired Apple keyboard. It was the most expensive single purchase I’d ever made at the time. In fact, to this day, it’s still the most expensive single purchase I’ve ever made, which is kind of incredible considering I was working a full-time, $US8 ($11)/hour job and trying to freelance write on the side while also going to grad school in 2009.
Eight years later, I can say that the iMac was well worth the price. How many of us can say we’ve owned anything for eight years, let alone a computer that saw heavy usage every single day? Some people don’t even keep cars that long. Of course, that time wasn’t without hardships. In 2012 I had to replace the graphics card and hard drive, and in 2015 I finally replaced the far outdated SuperDrive with an SSD. But otherwise, it carried on for at least 10 hours a day, every day, for eight years. I can’t even begin to imagine how many words I’ve typed into that computer. Even thinking about how many blog posts were hacked away at that thing makes me sick.
It also ran an old version of Photoshop fine, and it worked perfectly well for the short videos I’ve made for this site over the years. Whatever random version of Logic I had loaded up worked well enough for whatever dumb music thing I decided to make. In fact, while it couldn’t run any modern games, it could run about everything else fine. Which says a lot about not only the build quality of that iMac, but the state of computers in general these days. Why upgrade? Everything’s fine enough.
For most of those eight years, the iMac was my only computer. Though I had a spate of random laptops through those years, they never saw that much usage. A MacBook Air here, or an older MacBook there, those laptops came with me to coffee shops or when I travelled for work, but that was about it. I never felt attached to them like I did that iMac or had the same kinship I felt with my very first PowerBook G4. To this day, those old aluminium PowerBooks have my favourite keyboard of all time.
Those eight years with my iMac saw plenty of moves with ample opportunity to crack that fancy glass screen or break the classy aluminium stand. That damn computer went from apartment to apartment in Colorado, then ventured along to a couple different places in Seattle, before landing in Los Angeles, where it came to die.
Its death was not a surprise. I knew it was coming. You can feel these types of things coming. You just know. It started randomly rebooting one day, before eventually moving onto kernel panics. By the end, the screen would glitch out into a vaporwave masterpiece before it rebooted again.
Perhaps it was the graphics card again. Or maybe the logic board. Regardless, finding a replacement wasn’t going to be possible, nor worth the time and money. Proving perhaps that the iMac was once the Honda Civic of computers, 2009 iMacs still sell on eBay for several hundred dollars.
I replaced the iMac with a refurbished 2016 MacBook Pro without Touch Bar and an LG 27″ 4k monitor. Thankfully, the iMac had enough life left in it to push through the migration process. But, despite the technical upgrade, it’s just not the same.
Once that was done, it was time to lay the poor machine to rest. My faithful friend of so many years was to be wiped clean, collected together, and eventually hauled off to a recycling centre. It’s a sad end for such a reliable beast, but when the time comes to move on, we must accept that fact and do so.