A visual retrospective and celebration of the Apple Macintosh computer, now in its 33rd year as an Apple product line
Happy Birthday: A 1990s Apple Macintosh. Image by Twin Design (via Shutterstock).
Where were we 33 years ago? Back then, the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 were the main computer formats of the day. There was this rather new pop group from Liverpool whose Number One single was banned by the BBC. Some of Tabard IT’s employees were either doing their Highers or watched Button Moon in their nappies. The 24th of January wasn’t only a special date for Holly Johnson. It was a special one for a groundbreaking new computer: the Apple Macintosh.
Yes, the Apple Macintosh line is 33 years old. Its beginnings were modest: an all-in-one computer system with a small monitor and disc drive. The keyboard and mouse was plugged in separately. For homes and businesses, it was a revelation that changed the way we used today’s PCs (Windows, MacOS and Linux). The first model had 128k RAM and a 16 bit Motorola 68000 CPU.
Prior to the Apple Macintosh’s launch, Apple had launched another computer with a WIMP user interface. The Apple Lisa, due to its price point didn’t take off, but they were just the baby steps towards Steve Jobs’ all-conquering computer format. 1. Ridley Scott’s advertisement
This iconic advert was shown in the third quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl (between Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins). Apart from numerous clip shows and retrospective programmes, it was only shown once on its original release.
2. Steve Jobs’ launch
Just to put the previous clip into context, here’s Steve Jobs’ presentation of the Apple Macintosh. The reception as you could see was nothing short of unbelievable. Meanwhile in the UK, Sir Clive Sinclair was working on a new 16 bit computer, the Sinclair QL, that used ZX Microdrives.
3. “The computer for the rest of us”
In its early days, the ease of use of the Apple Macintosh was a huge selling point. With Windows still wedded to its MS-DOS origins and its inflexibility, the Mac was ahead of the pack. In this collection of clips from 1984 to 2014, the theme remained constant.
Within this fifteen minute long collection of clips, you can see how the ultimate aim of usability is constant. What has changed are the slogans and, most obviously, the specifications and versions of the Mac operating system in the last thirty years. It is also worth visiting the Every Apple Ad YouTube channel, which is an archive on every single Apple advertisement.
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