Apple’s Mac computer turns 30 years old today, and whether you’re an Apple fan or not, many will admit that the Mac’s release played a huge role in the early PC days and helped shape consumer computing products today.
The Macintosh originally launched January 24, 1984. Many may remember the tagline from its commercial, which aired only days before launch: “On January 24, Apple will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ’1984.'”
The Macintosh wasn’t Apple’s first product, though. In 1976, the tech company offered the Apple I, which was sold as a motherboard with a CPU, RAM and basic textual-video chips. In 1977, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak created the Apple II, which incorporated character cell-based color graphics and an open architecture.
Apple III came along in May 1980, and was meant to rival IBM and Microsoft in the business realm. Apple Lisa, which was the first personal computer to offer a graphical user interface in a somewhat affordable machine, began development in 1978 but wasn’t released until 1983.
Apple’s Macintosh [SOURCE: computerhistory.org]
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa team in 1982 after fighting with co-workers, and placed on the Macintosh team instead. The two teams were competitive, betting on which product would launch first. The Lisa won that bet, but was a commercial failure after proving to be too expensive.
Macintosh made a 1984 debut, and was the first PC to be sold without a programming language. It was a great success for Apple.
The Macintosh bloomed into many forms since, including the Macintosh XL, the Macintosh Plus, Macintosh II, Macintosh IIx, Macintosh Portable, Macintosh LC, PowerBook, Macintosh Quadra 950, Macintosh TV, PowerBook 540c, Power Macintosh 8500, PowerBook 1400, iMac, Power Mac G4, iBook, PowerBook G4, Power Mac G5, iBook G4, iMac G5, MacBook Pro MacBook Air and the most recent MacBook Pro with Retina display.
The Mac plays a pivotal role in PC history because most computers in the early days required users to type in commands. While Apple didn’t invent the graphical user interface, the Mac brought this feature to mainstream consumers for the first time. It also used relatable metaphors, such as placing files in a trash can when they were no longer needed.
In other words, it made computing easier for everyday people.
Apple has created a video and a timeline for the Mac in honor of its birthday today. You can check them out here.
Happy birthday, Mac.
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