The top 10 standout Macs of the past 25 years

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The new design process also led to less material waste during construction, and the Air features materials that are easier to recycle than previous models. That same process design is now being used on all of Apple's laptops, including the latest model, the 17-in. MacBook Pro. Announced on Jan. 6, it's due to hit store shelves by the end of the month.

The iPhone /iPod Touch (2007)

While not technically a computer, Apple's ultra-ultraportables run stripped-down versions of Mac OS X, making them de facto Macs small enough to fit in your pocket. As computing hardware becomes smaller and more power-efficient, the mobile version of OS X will become a bigger part of Apple's product road map.

Announced at Macworld Expo in 2007, the first iPhone went on to take the mobile world by storm when it was released almost six months later. Featuring technologies not initially available on the desktop version of Mac OS X, such as Core Animation, the iPhone's user interface did to the mobile industry what the original Macintosh did to the computer industry.

And with each successive iPhone software update, the iPhone and its cousin the iPod Touch gained even more features and stability, finally embracing its calling as a true platform with the introduction last summer of the App Store and thousands of available applications.

Like that first Macintosh of 1984, the iPhone has reset the bar for the competition and raised expectations for consumers. With its integration with PCs and Macs, built-in wireless networking, software capabilities and ground-up rethinking of software interface, the iPhone/iPod Touch platform is the epitome of 25 years of Apple design.

Michael DeAgonia is a Neal Award-winning writer, computer consultant and technologist who has been using Macs and working on them professionally since 1993. His tech-support background includes tenures with Computerworld , colleges, the biopharmaceutical industry, the graphics industry, Apple and as a Macintosh administrator at several companies.

This story, "The top 10 standout Macs of the past 25 years" was originally published by Computerworld.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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