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30 Years of Apple’s Macintosh


The original Macintosh (left) and today’s iMac (right)

Thirty years ago today, Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh computer to the world. The upcoming Macintosh release was announced during an Orwellian ad shown during the Super Bowl (below).  The ad became an instant classic.

At an Apple event on January 24, a few days after the ad, Jobs presented the Macintosh to a crowd of Apple employees (below). To thunderous applause the Mac spoke to the audience and introduced itself to the world. The Mac was sure to be a hit. Unfortunately, it was priced to high for the average consumer, and the Apple II was more popular. The Mac was also plagued by delays due to production and design issues. Ultimately, the Mac’s failure was one of the reasons for Jobs leaving Apple in 1985. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, the Mac was reborn using Jobs’s NeXT software, which was renamed Mac OS X. The software has been at the heart of the Mac ever since it was released publicly in 2001.

Original Mac's GUI (top) and the GUI of OS X Mavericks (bottom)

Original Mac’s GUI (top) and the GUI of OS X Mavericks (bottom)

What made the original Mac unique was the use of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that used a mouse to point-and-click on objects that were on the screen. For computer users today, this is the norm, but before the Mac, a GUI was only available on expensive enterprise machines.

As the Mac turns 30, we honor the hard work that went into the building the original and the Apple employees and consumers that have remained loyal to the platform, even as Apple has introduced new product lines. Today, Apple celebrated the Mac’s birthday with a video and timeline of the Mac’s development. You may visit Apple’s 30th anniversary page by clicking here. Personally, I have been a Mac user since 2008. I have owned an iMac and currently own a MacBook Pro. I love the physical design of the hardware, simplicity and power of the software, and the integration of the hardware and software that makes a Mac unique.


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