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It's known for making computing easier for everyday people

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. 

Source: Apple



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Happy birthday!
By techxx on 1/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Happy birthday!
By WLee40 on 1/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Happy birthday!
By Dorkyman on 1/24/2014 12:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
I worked for Apple back then, in Fortune 1000 sales in Southern California. We planned to conquer the largest corporations with the Lisa. Hardly anyone bought, but not so much because of Lisa or Apple, but because of the incredibly strong hold IBM had on those companies. Because of Apple's "novelty factor," I almost always was able to call at or very near the top of any Fortune 1000 company in my territory, and after our slick demonstrations everyone was suitably impressed. Then they told us in so many words they would wait for IBM to introduce something similar. Apple was innovative but IBM was strong, stable, and trusted. "No one ever got fired for buying IBM," was the cliche (true, too).

So Lisa foundered in 1983 even though it was elegant and had several great productivity tools. Mac comes out a year later, Lisa-like in many respects but far more crude and limited. But it was CHEAP and was targeted at an entirely different demographic. My responsibilities switched over to selling to the biggest universities in SoCal. Wow, UCLA and others loved the Mac. We did a stunning amount of business through the student stores. I left Apple two years later to do my own startup in an unrelated industry.

It was as powerful a belief system as any organized religion and for a few years as Microsoft fumbled around with early horrible versions of Windows Apple was a powerful drug. But all of us in the field saw what Gates was planning; he and we knew it was only a matter of time before microprocessors were powerful enough to do a Mac-like OS on a PC box. We pleaded with Jobs and others to open up the Mac environment to other manufacturers, but were stonewalled. Then came Windows 3, followed by Windows 95. Wham.

Ah, but those early days. I will never forget the Apple Sales Conference in Hawaii, assembling in the ballroom of the old Royal Hawaiian hotel to see Jobs introduce the Mac for the first time, followed by the first internal showing of the mind-blowing "1984" commercial Apple almost killed. The cheering was so deafening that dust from the old ceiling drifted down on us.

I will never forget those memories.


RE: Happy birthday!
By Nutzo on 1/24/2014 1:12:14 PM , Rating: 3
I worked a reseller that was one of the 1st to carry the Lisa. When I went to training at Apple, they where using beta versions that kept crashing during the class.

There where 4 big problems with the Lisa,
Price: at $10,000 it was just too expensive for most users, when an IBM XT (with a large 10mb drive) could be bought for 1/2 the price.

No Apps: Other than the built in apps, there was almost nothing else available.

Custom 5.25 floppies: The blanks cost over $10 a floppy that was just a little over 800KB

Slow: The external 5mb profile hard drive was too slow.


RE: Happy birthday!
By Souka on 1/24/2014 2:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
who needed apps.... we wrote our own


RE: Happy birthday!
By CharonPDX on 1/24/2014 6:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
As for your floppies comment "just a lift over 800 KB"... You forget that that was *LARGE* back then.

The Apple II used 160 KB-per-side single-sided floppies. The IBM PC used 320 KB double-sided floppies. 800 KB was greater than double the capacity of the others. It was even more than the still-in-development 3.5" floppy drive, which was only a single-sided 400 KB drive at the time.

But... It was expensive. And it was failure-prone. However, at the time, the dual 860 KB floppy drives PLUS the nearly-universal ProFile hard drive on the Lisa gave it very high storage capabilities.

The later Macintosh, with its 400 KB single floppy drive (with optional second external floppy drive - a near necessity!) was very limited. I have been playing with my original Macintosh today for nostalgia's sake, and I had forgotten how bad the "floppy swap dance" really was. (My external drive is dead, but the internal drive works fine.)


RE: Happy birthday!
By Tony Swash on 1/24/2014 7:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
My first Mac was a Mac II in 1987. I was part of a small design and print cooperative and we became convinced that desk top publishing was the future. So we borrowed the money and bought a Mac II with a huge memory of 8 Mbt of memory, a LaserWriter, a big screen (CRT and the size of a small refrigerator) and Pagemaker software. I wasn't the group page lay out worker so I didn't actually use it during the working day but I stayed on after work most days so I could learn how to use it and learn Pagemaker and I fell in love with the technology. I had used CPM and DOS based PCs before but using the Mac was like travelling to another dimension, I was in love with the thing.

I didn't get a Mac at home until sometime in the early 1990s when I got a second hand Mac IIci. It had a modem and I still remember the utter thrill I had when after the usual whistling and buzzing a managed to download an actual small programme to run on my computer. I couldn't believe you could get software through the phone line.


RE: Happy birthday!
By Dorkyman on 1/24/2014 10:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ah--through a 300 baud modem, perhaps? I remember acoustic couplers, the earlier technology. Our Apple sales office actually transmitted sales data over one.


RE: Happy birthday!
By Tony Swash on 1/25/2014 1:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ah--through a 300 baud modem, perhaps? I remember acoustic couplers, the earlier technology. Our Apple sales office actually transmitted sales data over one.


I think I was already at the super fast speed of 2400 baud :)

Before the web when the internet was so many different systems and protocols it felt so exciting to actually make a connection, to actually log in.


RE: Happy birthday!
By ipay on 1/24/2014 11:50:43 AM , Rating: 3
If it weren't for Apple, I would never have died from dysentery at such a young age.


RE: Happy birthday!
By inperfectdarkness on 1/24/2014 2:54:52 PM , Rating: 1
Ah, memories.

BTW, am I going to be the first one to mention the pilfering of Xerox's GUI?


RE: Happy birthday!
By Tony Swash on 1/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: Happy birthday!
By inperfectdarkness on 1/27/2014 2:38:06 AM , Rating: 2
I have one question for you...

Are you paid by the word or by the post for astroturfing?


RE: Happy birthday!
By Tony Swash on 1/24/2014 12:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
The Mac is doomed.

Always has been, always will be.


The problem with Apple is...
By stevessvt on 1/24/2014 12:51:28 PM , Rating: 3
When the original iMac debuted in the late '90s it was cheaper than most all Windows computers of the time. This brought people to Apple. There is no such machine today. Nothing as an entry level machine priced in line or below an entry level Windows 8 desktop. They have become a 'premium' brand and lost sight of there original buyers of the 90's. It was these people, the ones who bought the original iMac in droves who paved the financial way to their success of today.




RE: The problem with Apple is...
By WLee40 on 1/24/2014 1:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
That is a great point. I was one of those Mac people in the 80's to early 90's. I switched to Windows machines in the mid 90's because of price and gaming. Apple used to push aside gaming stating that Mac isn't a toy, what a mistake that was. Maybe that is why they don't produce an entry level fearing the "toy" factor. Very short sighted.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By WLee40 on 1/24/2014 1:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
Plus I like to build and tinker with my PC.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By TEAMSWITCHER on 1/24/2014 4:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
Or very smart! Entry level PCs generate very small profits. The Mac has maintained a high average selling price and great margins. Some estimates give the Mac over 40% of all Personal Computer industry profits. This extra cash gave Apple the money it needed to develop hot new products like the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. That...and the benefit of not listening to Microsoft for new product advice.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By StevoLincolnite on 1/24/2014 6:14:21 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt the Mac Earns 40% of all the PC industry profits, they would need allot more volume first.

Also you can't forget that Microsoft invested in Apple in the late 90's by investing 150 million in the company and kept them out of financial trouble.
So without Microsoft you still wouldn't have gotten the iPod, iPhone and iPad.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By flyingpants1 on 1/25/2014 1:51:33 AM , Rating: 2
Well that's good for you, but they do make over 40% of all PC profits.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By StevoLincolnite on 1/25/2014 7:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
Proof or it's lies.


RE: The problem with Apple is...
By stevessvt on 1/25/2014 11:49:46 AM , Rating: 2
I think what he is saying is for every apple computer sold they make 40% profit, not for every PC sold they make 40% profit.


By 440sixpack on 1/24/2014 11:52:04 AM , Rating: 2
Now I have no desire to own any current Apple product, but I have to say I did enjoy their original hardware back in the day such as the Apple IIe, the IIc and yes, what I believe was a MacSE or SE/30 that I used to write research papers back in the early 90's when I worked as an engineering technician for the DOD. Simpler times. :-)




By CharonPDX on 1/27/2014 1:53:14 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple's Macintosh" turns 30.

Apple's Mac line of computers turns 30.

But there is no such thing as "Mac PC". In fact, for most of the life of the Macintosh line, "Mac" and "PC" were considered *OPPOSITES*.




Pretty sure.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Pretty sure.....
By WLee40 on 1/24/2014 12:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/24/2014 1:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
Good for you?


RE: Pretty sure.....
By sprockkets on 1/24/2014 4:08:17 PM , Rating: 1
30 years ago the Windows Gui sucked. Badly. Wasn't until Win9x in 1995 that it was anything really easy to use. And while it was technically more advanced than the macos as the time with memory management, well, we all know how crappy Win9x was with stability.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Visual on 1/27/2014 4:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 3.11 was the first I used, but it rocked... for what it was, anyway. Remember, it was not an operating system, it was just a shell. That made its "desktop" bit more useless than the mac equivalent at the time, but that's the only aspect where windows compared poorly to the mac.

As to Windows 95 stability problems... What are you talking about? Granted, it was still based on top of DOS, but it worked great. At least for people that had some common sense. Now if you are of the type that let any random DOS program mess up your system.ini and autoexec.bat, I can see how it might have had stability problems, but that's purely user error.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Tony Swash on 1/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty sure.....
By retrospooty on 1/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty sure.....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/2014 2:11:11 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, Cheese nailed it. About ~90% of all PC's run Windows. Either the Earth is populated by super-technical individuals, or Windows is easier to use by far.

Both are "easy" in my opinion. What I take an issue with is Apple's philosophy when it comes to software and OS environments. Their idea of "easy", is to eliminate choices and rob the user of useful information. Because, you know, we can't bother people with that stuff. They might actually learn something!

If a Mac fails to initiate a WiFi connection, you don't know why. Guess you gotta go talk to one of the "geniuses" in their faggy stores. With a PC I can find out whether the problem is with my WiFi card, the WiFi network, or the Internet connection.

How about something REALLY basic, like changing font sizes system-wide in OS X? Something that's been easy to do in Windows since forever. Nope! Seriously Apple doesn't think you should ever have to do this (sorry old people or vision impaired), after all, their perfect and picked the perfect font size of course.

And these are just a few of a thousand examples I can think up. So no, for people like me, Mac/OSx does NOT make things "easier". Constantly being challenged by things you CAN'T do and their idiotic one size fits all approach makes for a horrible computing experience.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Tony Swash on 1/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty sure.....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/2014 2:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
So your idea of responding to an ease of use discussion, was to counter my post with screenshots of software error boxes? The discussion wasn't even about UI design. However, your examples don't even make THAT argument. Error dialogue content has nothing to do with "UI design"...

Tony you've really lost it this time.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/24/2014 2:52:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Tony you've really lost it this time.
This time? He never had it to lose it.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Tony Swash on 1/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty sure.....
By themaster08 on 1/26/2014 2:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have a Windows 7 PC, it's not a bad system but it's still ugly, clunky, a system where I have to actively monitor it's security (how archaic and quaint) and I wouldn't dream of doing anything mission critical on it.
I guess it's just a case of what you're accustomed to. Having owned both PCs and Macs, but growing up using Windows, I'm sure more users (including myself) are more familiar with the Windows UI and therefore find it easier to use.

It's not just a case of ease-of-use either, I find Windows much more efficient particularly with its desktop window management and better use of screen real estate (especially for single screen setups).

For example, snapping windows to each side of the screen by simply dragging it across so your cursor is touching the side is extremely useful. It makes using multiple applications at the same time a much more pleasant experience.

Seeing previews of your open applications by simply hovering your cursor over the taskbar icon of the open applicaton is also useful in some situations, and in some cases is interactive - for example with Windows Media Player, you can use the Back/Forward/Pause features without actually restoring the window.

Real window maximisation - The maximize window functionality works much better in Windows, and is consistent.

Taskbar vs. the Dock - I personally find the taskbar much more efficient and a better use of screen real estate than using the Dock/Menu bar combination. The dock is constantly consuming screen real estate unless your choose to hide it, then when you maximise a window and unhide the dock, it overlaps your open application, which can sometimes cause issues when it covers an icon you need to press at the bottom of the open window. When you leave the dock on-screen all the time it is consuming real estate.

The taskbar is clean, consistent, can be resized, recoloured, can be set to be overlapped by other windows, and most all all, puts everything you need in one place. Whilst this has changed somewhat in Windows 8, the additional options in Windows 8.1 bring it closer to its roots.

I don't get why people also say that Windows crashes all the time, they would never run anything mission critical on it, and always needs it be rebooted. I work for an outsourced I.T company who manage the IT for over 50 clients in our local area, ranging in sizes. Some of our clients servers can go at least 6 months without a single reboot (scheduled updates are usually why they are rebooted). For others, their servers have been running close to a year without a single reboot, are as stable as a rock, and we ever have any complaints.

As long as anything is properly maintained, kept up-to-date where necessary, and generally looked after, a Windows based system can be as stable as anything else out there. Those I.T admins stating otherwise should really consider a new career, as they are clearly no good at their current one.

In my experience, it is the 3rd party applications or utilities installed by the client themselves which are generally the source of many issues. Furthermore, if you are not actively monitoring the security of any PC connected to the internet, regardless of its OS, then you are an idiot.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/26/2014 8:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't get why people also say that Windows crashes all the time, they would never run anything mission critical on it, and always needs it be rebooted.
It's because they don't have a CLUE and don't USE it and HAVEN'T used it.... isn't it obvious? Look at who you are responding too.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By inperfectdarkness on 1/24/2014 2:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
Don't call me Shirley.


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/24/2014 3:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
This says it all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvt1znXURjk

(A classic!)


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/2014 3:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
LOL I like that one, but this is my new favorite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA

It's so easy to use!


RE: Pretty sure.....
By Guspaz on 1/24/2014 4:37:14 PM , Rating: 4
Microsoft shipped the first version of Windows two years after Apple shipped the Mac's interface (in the Lisa). They were both cribbing from Xerox, of course.

Personally, I don't think that Microsoft caught up to Apple in terms of UI until Windows 95, and I don't think they actually surpassed them until Win2K (which was still competing against the "classic" Mac OS). After that, I couldn't say who was better, because there was much less difference between the two after that. The differences in the early days were far more dramatic. The OS on the first Mac versus Windows 1.0, they looked completely different, and had little in common except that the screen was split up into regions and there was a mouse cursor. Today, though, there's not that much of a difference between Windows 7 and OS X from a UI standpoint.

Windows 8, that's a whole different story...


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