Apple Macintosh turns 25

Introduced by the now famous "1984" advert, directed by Ridley Scott and aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on 22 January 1984, the first Macintosh is turning 25 this weekend.

The Macintosh, released on 24 January 1984, sold for $2,495 and came with a 9 inch screen in an upright beige case, 128k of RAM, a floppy drive, a keyboard and a single-button mouse. Sales were initially strong, with the Macintosh selling 72,000 units by May 3, 1984. However, sales dropped afterwards and the computer was re-badged as the Macintosh 128K when its successor, the Macintosh 512K, was introduced in September 1984.

While it was not the first commercial computer to include a graphical user interface and mouse, the Macintosh helped to popularise the use of a GUI and mouse. Windows, Microsoft's first operating system with a GUI, did not appear until 1985 and failed to gain much popularity until the release of Windows 3.x in 1990.

Throughout the 1990s, Apple continued to lose market share to IBM PC compatible machines running Windows, although the introduction of the all-in-one iMac in 1998 was the beginning of a resurgence for the Macintosh brand.

Talking to the BBC about the first Macintosh, Mark Hattersley, editor in chief of MacWorld UK said, "It was a hugely popular machine. It took desktop computing away from IBM and back to Apple for a good number of years. It brought the notion of the desktop graphical interface to the mass market."

Finding a working 25-year old Macintosh 128K can be hard now, with many suffering from "bit rot". Fortunately, the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park in the UK, has many working Apple computers, some even older than the 25-year old Macintosh, according to director Kevin Murrell.

Apple's "1984" Commercial

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excalpius said,
@Foub, you are confusing either Commodore 64s, Apple IIs, or the vastly superior Amiga computers of the day.


Considering that he's talking about 1981, even the Amiga wasn't released yet, and even when it was (several years later) it didn't start out with 512KB of RAM. The VIC 20 was released around that time, but the C64 didn't come out until later either.

You might have been able to get a Mac in 83, but it would not have been a working system. There, however, was a 512k model released in 84.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_512K

They also released a 512k model prior to this during the design period. I don't believe a public institution would have been able to get a hold of it, however. These facts are at least according to a podcast by one of the original dev. on the Mac... they could be wrong... it was a bit before my time in technology.

This is just by chance, but could the computer you were thinking of been the Lisa? It was released in late January of 1983. It looked and ran a lot like the Mac. It supported up to 2 megs of memory.

25 years, that's pretty impressive. What I like to think about is how much $2500 was in 1984 and how much $2500 is now days with inflation. The same could be said in terms of how much computer you can get for $2500 today also compared to 1984, it could rival the super computer of that time. Look how far we've come (both Apple and an PCs). I can't even imagine how computer technology will continue to grow in 25 years let alone 5 years.

The Apple Brand is like the BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus brands of the computing line.

HP, Dell, Toshiba - more of the Upper range Toyota, Honda, Mazda Lines

Acer, Asus, and the rest are compared to the lower toyota, honda lines :D

hehe

btw.. im a PC user... and not a mac fanboi!!! I appreciate both systems.. its good that we have choice. Imagine how boring this world would be without choice??

dimithrak said,
The Apple Brand is like the BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus brands of the computing line.

HP, Dell, Toshiba - more of the Upper range Toyota, Honda, Mazda Lines

Acer, Asus, and the rest are compared to the lower toyota, honda lines :D


Umm, part of that is true.

more people drive honda's than mercedes. And honda's cost less too

I think people also forget that Honda Motors also produces the Acura series. I am not sure if I would consider this a upper mid range car. It is a luxury car.

Also, where does this put custom high-end makers like Falcon NW or Dell owned Alienware? Would you have to consider these computers to be McLaren F1 series territory?

ASUS in the lower toyota lines?

pleaaaase, there some of the best the PC offers in general.

and you got Dell in the UPPER range Toyota? .... if anything it's the opposite.

anyone who builds PC's KNOWS ASUS (in general) is one of the best for motherboards.

keep em, there overpriced vs a PC which offers a wide range of stuff and ARE 'the standard' ;)

not saying MAC are bad... but when you can get something that's pretty much standard AND cheaper... it's pretty hard to choose a MAC over a PC in general.

Happy birthday, Mac! You've come a long way since I've first worked with them back in the 90's. That 1984 ad's epicness never gets old.

Jugalator said,
Hm, why is that too bad? You dislike competition?


They stole key parts from Xerox, now Apple sues everyone else like they invented everything.

justlooking said,
They stole key parts from Xerox, now Apple sues everyone else like they invented everything.

So what?

Xerox's lawsuit died on the operating table.

Apple stole absolutely nothing from them.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...750C0A966958260

No Basis Seen for Suit

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., said in its motion for dismissal that Xerox had no basis for its suit because Apple was merely asserting its own copyrights and not threatening Xerox's copyrights on the Star.

Apple also replied that while it might have borrowed ideas from Xerox, ideas were not protected by copyrights, only the way the ideas were expressed. Mr. Brown, Apple's attorney, said at the hearing that Xerox's asserting that it had originated the Macintosh was as preposterous as a beaver taking credit for the Hoover Dam.

Judge Walker dismissed two counts relating to Xerox's efforts to get Apple's copyright declared invalid, apparently agreeing with Apple that the proper place for such an action would be the Copyright Office, not the courts. He also dismissed three counts relating to the unfair competition assertions, saying that the lawsuit should really be a copyright infringement case, not an unfair competition case.

In the mid 1980s, Apple considered buying Xerox. But a deal was never reached and Apple instead bought rights to the Alto GUI and adapted it into to a more affordable personal computer, aimed towards the business and education markets. The Apple Macintosh was released in 1984, and was the first personal computer to popularize the GUI and mouse amongst the public.

Oh God. Memories of elementary school flooding back. Our school cut the computer room in half when we went from //e's to Mac Plus and we actually had more room to walk around. It was quite a jump. We ran 25 systems (with no hard drives) off one server. The server would also queue print jobs to three Apple branded dot-matrix printers.

Unfortunately we had a real hard time finding decent games for the Mac. Oregon Trail, Number Muncher... they were all for Apple //e. No wonder I switched to PC at such a young age

LTD...puh-lease. Even your own quote kills your supposed point. EVERYONE stole the mouse/GUI from Xerox - Apple, Amiga, IBM OS/2, and Windows. This is OLD news.

"Everyone stole the mouse/GUI from Xerox" means absolutely nothing.

Apple legally did not steal anything from Xerox.

Xerox management consented to Jobs and others having a three-day full access visit to PARC even after one of the PARC managers complained that Apple would take the concepts that they saw and run with them. Apple paid for this visit quite handsomely. It wasn't free. Jobs liked and was fixated on the concept of the graphical user interface, which by the way is simply a computer science concept and can therefore no more be stolen than the algorithm for hashing can be stolen. Not a single line of Xerox's code for the Alto is or has ever been in the Mac OS, so Apple did nothing more than develop a marketable product using a concept that Xerox allowed them to see.

The whole Apple stole from Xerox schtick is nothing more than a myth. And I really can't speak for the others whom you allege stole from Xerox.

Happy Birthday, Apple! :D

Apple would be a lot more popular today if it had opened their closed system - but perhaps it's content with its 8% and doesn't want more.

Lord Ba'al said,
Happy Birthday, Apple! :D

Apple would be a lot more popular today if it had opened their closed system - but perhaps it's content with its 8% and doesn't want more.

Opened their closed system = There goes half the reason for owning OS X.

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